BMW Is Reportedly Changing the Way It Names Its Vehicles

This comes on the heels of the Neue Klasse concept car

BMW Plant from above
Aerial view of a large BMW logo at the Lydia factory (Lida) of BMW Brilliance Automotive Ltd.
Zhou Wei/VCG via Getty Images

Paging through BMW’s current roster of available vehicles and you’ll soon start to understand the naming conventions the automaker uses for them. The SUVs and crossovers of the X series come to mind, as well as BMW’s decision to use a lowercase I to denote its forays into electric vehicles, such as the i4 and i7. But soon, that pre-existing system may be phased out with something new — and something which points to the rising profile of EVs for the automaker.

That’s the big takeaway from a new report in CAR from Georg Kacher. Kacher’s article ventured into a number of trademark filings, all of which suggest that BMW is ready to change things up. More specifically, the trademark filings suggest that BMW is rethinking its naming conventions for a simple reason: making it clearer to potential customers when two models are, for example, the gasoline-powered and electric counterparts of one another.

This falls on the announcement earlier this month of BMW’s Neue Klasse concept car, which heralded changes afoot for the automaker. Writing at Car and Driver, Drew Dorian observed that “we also see it as a new design language for the entire BMW brand.” Evidently, that new design language could come with some new language, period.

As Ronan Glon speculated in an Autoblog article, someone interested in an X3 might opt for a gas-powered X330 or its electric counterpart, the iX330 — though those specific names have not yet been confirmed.

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As electric vehicles become a larger and larger portion of a given automaker’s lineup, it isn’t hard to see why BMW — or any of their contemporaries — would look for an easy way to convey to drivers that two cars are the gas-powered and electric versions of the same vehicle. If CAR‘s report proves accurate, this seems to be an especially elegant way of going about it.

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