BMW will overhaul its decades-old naming system when it begins rolling out a range of cars inspired by the 2023 Neue Klasse concept, according to a recent report. Core nameplates like 3 Series will remain, but SUV shoppers will need to become familiar with new badges.
Citing trademark applications filed in Europe and anonymous company insiders, British magazine Car wrote that the shift is fueled by BMW’s plan to continue selling combustion-, electricity- and possibly hydrogen-powered variants of the same model in the foreseeable future. The publication wrote that the first Neue Klasse-based model will replace the current-generation X3. Gasoline-powered models will get a naming structure that consists of “X3” followed by two numbers, while electric models will follow the same system but receive the “i” prefix.
For example, if you’re in the market for a gasoline-powered X3 you might be able to choose from the X320, the X330 or the X340 model. If you’d prefer an EV, your choices could include the iX320, the iX330 and the iX340. Note that we’re using these names purely to illustrate the rumored new system; none have been confirmed for production. For context, the current-generation X3 range includes the X3 sDrive30i, the X3 xDrive30i, the X3 M40i, and the X3 M, while the battery-powered model sold in some overseas markets goes by the name iX3.
The naming structure of sedans and wagons will evolve as well, though BMW allegedly has smaller changes in store. Using the 3 Series as an example, the gasoline-burning variants will ditch the “i” (which originally denoted a fuel-injected engine) and switch to a three-number system. For example, you might find a 320, a 330 and a 340 if you visit a BMW showroom in the second half of the 2020s. The same goes for the 5 Series and the 7 Series (e.g., 530, 550, 740 and 760). Electric sedans and wagons will receive the same “i” prefix as their high-riding counterparts, so you might see an i330 or an i550 on the BMW website. As it stands, the recently-unveiled electric 5 Series is called i5.
Keep in mind that none of this is official. BMW hasn’t commented on the report, and it hasn’t announced plans to overhaul its naming structure. If the rumor is accurate, more details about the Munich-based brand’s new naming system will emerge in the coming years.