How To Read BMW Models?

The latest episode of the official BMW podcast explores the evolution of the company’s renowned naming scheme. You should feel (somewhat) less perplexed after reading this.

In the past, reading the model name of a BMW would reveal a lot about it. You were looking at a 3.0-liter gasoline engined 3-series if the badge on the boot said “330i.” The displacement didn’t always equal the last two digits, but generally it worked out that way. We could go on, but the majority of models adhered to the standard or at least didn’t wander too far from it. The E39 540i featured a 4.4-liter engine, the E82 125i utilized a 3.0 liter, and so on.

This approach was employed for many years, as stated in BMW’s most recent podcast, which makes use of portions of the business’ quite lengthy naming guide website page. Prior to World War Two, all automobiles had a 300 number to distinguish them from BMW bikes and airplanes (100s) (200s). Following the war, names were all over the place, but the ‘E12’ 5-series brought order to the chaos in 1972. BMW wanted a new system that would be simple for customers to comprehend regardless of the language they spoke.

The naming convention no longer functions this way, as some shockingly irate keyboard warrior types will loudly inform you. A human being! However, since displacement is no longer the primary method by which BMW delivers its customers greater power, the conventional approach is no longer viable.

The same size engine is currently used by numerous variations of each model, with the power outputs changed by various levels of turbocharging and occasionally by the addition of hybrid technology. We’re sure you’ll agree that having three separate products with the same name as 520d might be a little perplexing.

More recently, battery electric vehicles, which have no engines at all, have added to the complexity of the situation. Similar to what Audi started doing a few years ago, the last two digits of this and the majority of other BMW models now denote various output “tiers.” According to BMW, “45” refers to vehicles with an output of between 300 and 350kW. (402 – 469bhp). That is the total output with electrical aid, which explains why, despite the fact that the 540i and 545e hybrids both have the same internal combustion engine, the 545e hybrid has a higher figure.

The initial “e” did originally stand for the Greek letter “eta,” designating cars that were “optimised for torque and RPM,” according to BMW. These days, plug-in hybrid models employ it. Although “leccy M stuff” receives a simpler naming scheme, e.g. i4 M50, complete EVs like the i4 eDrive40 get a more modern moniker called “eDrive.”

Exclusively the Z and X model lines are designated for two-wheel drive, whereas the moniker xDrive is only applied to all-wheel drive derivatives that are available with and without the technology but are otherwise identical. As always, a badge with a I or “d” at the end denotes gasoline injection or diesel.

For example, a M Division’d 3-series is an M3, but on SUVs, the magic letter is coupled with just one number designating the “series” and appears after the model name. Although electric cars and SUVs only have the two digits, such as the X3 M40i, you get the standard three-digit number if it’s a half-fat M car, such as M550i.

Model naming practice for BMW

Have you ever wondered how BMW names its cars or what nomenclature they use? Even if BMW changed the pattern in recent years, it’s still fascinating to look at earlier models and understand why.

BMW automobiles are typically identified by a three-digit number followed by one or two letters. The first number is the series number, and the next two numbers are the cubic centimeters (cc) of the engine divided by 100. With the E39 5 Series vehicle, which was named the 523i despite having a 2.5-liter engine, BMW’s rational model naming policy took a turn.

Different types of engines, body types, and platforms are represented by the letters that come after the numbers.

As I’ve already indicated, new engines with the same displacement but new technologies have naturally changed the name practice. The N54B30, a 3.0-liter twin-turbo engine utilized in the 335i model, and the N53B30, a 3.0-liter straight-six engine, are the most recent ones that come to mind.

Numbers come after letters, and vice versa.

Some car names in the realm of BMW nomenclature begin with a letter and a number, like the M3. Other names, like the 328i, start with a number and a letter.

Typically, a car’s name will begin with one of these letters: “M,” “X,” “Z,” or “i.” These vehicles come in a range of body designs.

M refers to the BMW Motorsport division, just like the M3 that was just discussed. Crossover/SUV body types are represented by the letter X. According to their size, the X Series cars are likewise numbered from one to seven, with the midsize X6 being a sports activity coupe. Z stands for two-seaters in the roadster form that have rear-wheel drive. Electric or hybrid vehicles, such as the five-door hatchback i3, are identified by the lowercase i.

There is one more, more mysterious letter prefix: “B,” which stands for Alpina, a business that produces and markets high-performance BMWs. This prefix denotes modified variants of several Beemer series on automobiles.

The names of BMW passenger automobiles begin with a number that denotes a series. The series go from 1 to 8, with the 1 Series being the smallest and most affordable vehicle and the 8 Series being the biggest and most expensive. Originally, four-door sedans were designated by odd-numbered series, like 3, 5, and 7. Two-door coupes and other similar vehicles were meant to be covered by even-numbered series names like 2, 4, 6, and 8.

But in more recent years, BMW expanded the body variants of the odd-number series, throwing a monkey wrench into its moniker. For instance, BMW increased the 3 Series’ door count from four to five, adding a three-door hatchback, a five-door liftback, a five-door station wagon, and two convertible doors. As a result, identifying a car’s body style within a series may not always be possible using the series numbering method.

How BMW Naming Schemes Work

Audi, Mercedes-Benz, and BMW all employ an alphanumeric naming scheme. BMW vehicles are available in numbered series from 1 to 8. A bigger automobile equates to larger odd-numbered series. Even-numbered series typically feature variations on the preceding series’ body design. (Note that the names of the series don’t use hyphens like Mercedes-Benz classes: 3 Series versus E-Class.) SUVs are X models. Roadsters are Z models. The prefixes sDrive (two-wheel drive) and xDrive (all-wheel drive) can also be added to models; however, not all RWD BMWs are identified with a sDrive badge. Cars beginning with a lowercase I are electric or hybrid models.

The size of the engine is indicated by the second set of numerals in a model name. Previously, they monitored engine displacement. A larger number today just denotes a larger engine. The last letter (for instance, 230i) designates the vehicle’s engine type. For gasoline fuel injection, most automobiles terminate with i. There are also “e” electrified hybrids and “d” diesel vehicles in some markets.

There are “M Cars” that are created by BMW’s M performance division, such as the M5. These stand apart from vehicles such as the M550i xDrive, which frequently have more power and sportier tuning and styling than the basic variants. Alpina is another tuner that creates high-performance BMWs that are made and offered by BMW. They start with the letter B. (i.e. XB7).

If you put it all together, “X6 xDrive50i” succinctly describes the car in BMW lingo, yet telling someone you just bought it can be a mouthful.

How can I figure out which BMW model I own?

There are several ways to determine what model of BMW you own. You can check here. On the rear of your car: Your car’s exterior should be imprinted with the brand and model information. Verify by the trunk or the back panel.

Why do BMW models have numbers on them?

How do you crack the model names in the BMW code? The three-digit combination’s first digit denotes the series (in ascending order based on size: 1, 2, 3, etc.). The next two digits used to represent the engine size, but now they represent performance.

How can I figure out a BMW VIN?

The 17-digit BMW vehicle identification number, or VIN, is a special identifier that identifies your automobile and contains information such as the year it was made.

  • One: This is where the automobile was put together. It was assembled in Germany if the VIN begins with a W. If it begins with a 5, the car was put together in the United States.
  • Digit two: The manufacturer is indicated by this character. The letter B indicates German manufacturing, while the letters U or Y indicate American manufacturing.
  • Three: This is the type of vehicle. It will usually be an X or an A.
  • Digits four through eight: This part of the VIN provides information about the specific car, including its model, body type, engine, and transmission.
  • Nine: This digit is used to check the validity of the VIN. If you enter it wrong, there will be a mistake in the VIN.
  • Numbers 10 and 11: The year and the factory where it was put together.
  • Digits 12 through 17: These last digits are the factory’s production sequence number, which distinguishes the car as a special item.

Did you know that you can compare auto insurance quotes using your VIN? With the Jerry app, it’s simple. Jerry, a certified broker, undertakes all the legwork involved in obtaining affordable estimates from the most well-known insurance providers and purchasing new auto insurance. If you find a better bargain, Jerry can even assist you in canceling your current policy!

What do the letters on BMW automobiles mean?

A: BMW, or Bavarian Motor Works in English, stands for Bayerische Motoren Werke. If your knowledge of geography is lacking, Bavaria is a southern German state where BMW first began producing aviation engines in 1917. BMW, Mini, and Rolls-Royce currently make up the BMW group, which has its corporate headquarters in Munich, the capital of Bavaria.

If Bavarian Motor Works is too formal for you, the German automaker’s high-end models are more commonly referred to as Bimmer. The business also considers itself to be “the ultimate driving machine,” at least in accordance with its long-running American advertising campaign.

From the official bio of the business: “Since 1975, BMW of North America, LLC has operated in the US. In 2003, Rolls-Royce Motor Cars NA, LLC started selling cars. The BMW Group has expanded its operations in the United States to include marketing, sales, and financial service companies for the BMW brand of motor vehicles, including motorcycles, the MINI brand, and the Rolls-Royce brand of motor cars; Designworks, a strategic design consultancy with headquarters in California; technology offices in Silicon Valley, Chicago, and various other operations across the nation. All X5 and X3 Sports Activity Vehicles, as well as the X6 and X4 Sports Activity Coupes, are produced at BMW Production Co., LLC in South Carolina. This facility is a component of the BMW Group’s global manufacturing network. The 344 BMW passenger car and BMW Sports Activity Vehicle centers, 153 BMW motorcycle retailers, 127 MINI passenger car dealers, and 36 Rolls-Royce Motor Car dealers are the networks through which the BMW Group sales organization is represented in the United States. The North American sales headquarters for the BMW Group is situated in Woodcliff Lake, New Jersey, under the name BMW (US) Holding Corp.”

What distinguishes the various BMW 3 Series models?

These two sedans have an 8-speed automatic transmission and use ordinary gasoline as well. While there are some similarities between the two automobiles, the horsepower and torque are where the two cars diverge most. With 255 horsepower and 295 pounds-feet of torque, the BMW 3 Series is faster and more potent.