BMW looks set to follow compatriots Audi and Mercedes-Benz in rejigging its model naming structure as EV adoption picks up pace.

    CarBuzz has discovered 48 trademarks at the German Trade Mark and Patent Office from BMW, which include i330, X130, iX220, i340, M350, X330, iX330, and so forth. We’ve included the full list at the bottom of this article.

    The filing seems to show BMW will bring the variant naming scheme for its X-branded crossovers and i-branded EVs into line with its traditional model lines, such as the 3 Series and 5 Series.

    Right now, for traditional sedan, wagon, hatch, coupe and coupe models, the first number indicates the model line, while the next two numbers show the relative powertrain output. This is followed by a suffix to denote the type of fuel used.

    So, the 320i is a 3 Series model with a lowly 20-level petrol-powered powertrain, while the 330d is a 3 Series with a more powerful 30-level turbo-diesel engine. In the past these powertrain numbers were roughly aligned to the engine’s displacement.

    For electric models and crossovers, the model name and drivetrain designation stand apart. For example, the X1 sDrive20i is a front-wheel drive 20-level petrol-engined X1, while the i4 eDrive35 is an all-wheel drive 4 Series with a 35-level EV powertrain.

    If BMW uses the trademarks in its filing, the drivetrain designation will be squashed up right next to the model name in all vehicles.

    Also the i, d and e suffixes to delineate petrol, diesel, and plug-in hybrid drivetrains will be eliminated. We’re not clear how, or if, BMW will differentiate between these different types of internal combustion powertrains.

    The letter ‘i’ will still be used, but only as a prefix and will be exclusive to EV variants.

    Using the above examples, the X1 sDrive20i will become the X120, while the i4 eDrive30 will be rebranded as the i430, and the 320i will become just the 320.

    It seems as though the sDrive and eDrive names will disappear, although we suspect the xDrive branding will live on to indicate the presence of all-wheel drive.

    It’s unclear what will happen with the variant naming for the iX and XM crossovers, and Z4 roadster as there are no filings for those model lines.

    We’re unsure when BMW intends to use its new model naming structure, but generational changeovers and mid-life facelifts would seem to be the natural time. There is, of course, a chance BMW won’t make any changes.

    The quickening EV revolution has caught all legacy automakers on the hop, not only on a product and production planning front, but also vehicle naming front.

    Audi bosses confirmed the other week it will use even numbers for EVs, with odd numbers for ICE vehicles, meaning the petrol-powered A4 will become the A5 with the next generation.

    Mercedes-Benz is reportedly considering dropping the EQ sub-brand from 2024 as it transitions to becoming an all-electric brand in some parts of the world.

    Model LineRegistrations
    1 Seriesi118, i120, i130, i140
    3 SeriesM350
    i320, i330, i340
    4 Seriesi420, i430, i450
    5 Seriesi530, i550
    7 Seriesi740, i750, i760
    iX120, iX130
    X2iX220, iX230, iX240
    X3 X320, X330
    iX330, iX340, iX350
    iX430, iX440, iX450
    X5X540, X550, X560
    iX540, iX550, iX560
    X6X640, X650
    iX640, iX650, iX660
    X7X740, X750, X760
    iX740, iX750, iX760
    Derek Fung

    Derek Fung would love to tell you about his multiple degrees, but he's too busy writing up some news right now. In his spare time Derek loves chasing automotive rabbits down the hole. Based in New York, New York, Derek loves to travel and is very much a window not an aisle person.

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