BMW Nomenclature: How BMW Names Its Models?

BMW uses complex Alpha-Numeric Nomenclature for its models: The term ‘BMW’ stands for Bayerische Motoren Werke, one of the “German Big 3” luxury automakers. It means Bavarian Motor Works in English. In addition, the BMW …

BMW ActiveHybrid 7 (Photo courtesy: BMW)

BMW uses complex Alpha-Numeric Nomenclature for its models:

The term ‘BMW’ stands for Bayerische Motoren Werke, one of the “German Big 3” luxury automakers. It means Bavarian Motor Works in English. In addition, the BMW nomenclature has adapted complex Alpha-Numerical combinations for its models. As a result, BMW models use a slightly different combination than Audi’s.

In some cases, BMW Nomenclature uses numbers, e.g., 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 & 8, followed by alphabets like “i,” “d,” & “x” for some of its models. In other cases, BMW nomenclature also uses alphabets, such as “M,” “X,” & “Z,” followed by a number in the case of certain models. Therefore, we tried to decode these numbers & alphabets.

BMW Nomenclature has reserved the odd numbers (3, 5, and 7) for 4-door sedans and even numbers (2, 4, 6, and 8) for 2-door coupes and similar cars. As a result, the 1-Series is the smallest and cheapest BMW car available, either as Hatchback or Coupe/Convertible in a 3-door or 5-door option. However, the 8 series is the biggest and costliest BMW Luxury car.

BMW 750 Li
BMW 750 Li

BMW Nomenclature for SUVs:

Furthermore, the letter “M” denotes the MotorSports segment in BMW nomenclature. BMW uses the letter “X” in BMW nomenclature, used for the crossover / SUV body shape. Here, the “X” represents “Cross-over” or a “Four-Wheel-Drive.” Besides, BMW offers five SUVs starting from the X1 to X6. The X1 & X3 are the Compact SUVs, while X4 is a Compact Entry-level and X5 is Mid-Size Luxury SUV. The X6 is a Luxury Sports Activity Vehicle available in Coupe.

BMW X6 (Photo courtesy: BMW)
BMW X6 (Photo courtesy: BMW)

Moreover, the letter “Z” in BMW nomenclature represents the “Roadster.” BMW Z4 is a Rear-Wheel Drive Sports car available in a Two-Seater Roadster body shape. The small letter “i” in BMW nomenclature represents electric/hybrid cars. Besides, the i3 is an Urban Electric car, available in a 5-door hatchback shape. However, the i8 is a Plug-in Hybrid Grand Tourer Sports car.

BMW Nomenclature for its Cars Starting with Numbers:

Furthermore, the numbers at the start/beginning represent the “Series” of BMW cars. As a thumb rule, the higher the numeral denotes, the bigger the car.

Brand

Numbers

Letters

Car Type

BMW

1

118i, 118d

Firstly,

1-Series is the smallest Luxury car available as Hatchback or Coupe/Convertible.

 

2

218d, 220d, 220i, 225d,

Secondly,

2-Series is a Compact Luxury car available as Coupé and Convertible.

 

3

316i, 318i, 320i, 323i, 325i, 325xi, 328i, 328xi, 330i, 330xi, 335i, 335is, 335xi, 320d, 320xd, 325d, 330d, 330xd, 335d

Next,

3-Series is an Entry-Level Compact Executive car available as a Saloon (Sedan), Estate (Wagon), Coupé, and Convertible

 

4

428i, 435i, 420d, 420i, 420i xDrive, 420d xDrive, 430d, 435d xDrive

Besides,

4-Series is a Compact Executive car available in Coupé, Convertible. Besides,

it is also available in Gran Coupe body shapes.
 

5

520i, 523i, 528i, 530i, 535i, 518d, 520d, 525d, 530d

Moreover,

5-series is a Mid-size Luxury car available in Sedan, Touring, and Gran Turismo Hatchback body styles.

 

6

640i, 650i, 640d

Furthermore,

6-Series is a luxury

Grand Tourer car available in Coupe, Convertible & Gran Coupe body shapes

.

 

7

730d, 740d, 750i xDrive, 750Li xDrive, 760i, 760Li

7-Series is a Full-size Luxury car available in a 4-door Saloon with a Short & Long Wheelbase and a High-Security body style.
 

8

840Ci, 850i, 850Ci, 850CSi, 860i

Besides,

8-Series is a luxury

Grand Tourer (Now discontinued) with a higher price tag

and better performance.

BMW M5: BMW Nomenclature
BMW M5

BMW Nomenclature for its cars starting with Letters:

Furthermore, if BMW used letters at the start/beginning of the model such as “M,” “X,” “Z,” and “i,” they represent the Series. The “M” series denotes the MotorSports segment – the Sports version of existing models. However, the “X” series denotes the Crossover / SUV segment. Moreover, the “i” series indicates Hybrid / Electric technology.

BrandLetters NumbersCar Type
 Alpina

B

3 (GT3)

B3-GT3 is a badge-engineered version of the BMW 3 Series 335i. Besides, BMW launched it as a limited edition GT3 by Alpina.
 

B

7

Further, B7 is a High-Performance version of the 745i, BMW’s flagship 7-Series under the Alpina brand, with badge engineering.
 BMW

M

3

Moreover, M3 Series is a high-performance (Sports) version of the BMW 3-Series earlier available in Coupe, Saloon, and Convertible body styles. However, with BMW’s new nomenclature, the M3 is only available in Sedan shape.
 

M

4

Further, M4 is a High-Performance version of the BMW 4-Series Compact Luxury car available in Sports Coupe body shape.
 

M

5

Moreover, M5 Series is High Performance (Sports) version of the BMW 5-Series Mid-size Luxury car available in a Sedan body shape.
 

M

6

Besides, M6 Series is High Performance (Sports) version of the BMW 6-Series Luxury Sportscar available in Coupe, Convertible & Gran Coupe body shapes.
 

X

1

Firstly, X1 is a Compact Crossover SUV/Sports Activity Vehicle (SAV)
 

X

3

Secondly, X3 is a Compact Crossover SUV/Sports Activity Vehicle (SAV)
 

X

4

Next, X4 is an Entry-Level Crossover SUV/Sports Activity Vehicle (SAV)
 

X

5

Further, X5 is a Mid-Size Crossover SUV/Sports Activity Vehicle (SAV)
 

X

6

Moreover, X6 is a Luxury Sports Activity available in Coupe.
 

Z

1, 3, 4, 8, 9

However, Z4 is a Rear-Wheel Drive Sports car available in a Two-Seater Roadster body shape.
 

i

3

Besides,

i3 is an Urban Electric car available in a 5-door hatchback shape.

 

i

8

Next,

i8 is a Plug-in Hybrid Grand Tourer Sportscar

Furthermore, some BMW models have letters at the end of the model, such as “i,” “d,” “x,” and “L.”

BMW Z4 Coupe
BMW Z4 Coupe

Besides, these letters provide additional information about the variant.

Letters used at the End of the Model:

SL.

Code

Meaning

1“C”This Indicates Coupé in earlier models. However, it denotes Cabriolet in current models.
2“GT”Next, Gran Turismo
3“d”Indicates car models with diesel engine
4“e” (eta)The engine tuned for economy rather than power
5“h”Furthermore, a Hydrogen-powered car
6“i”injection (fuel-injected engine)
7“Ci” Thus, it indicates that

it’s a Coupe/Convertible. However, with petrol injected engine

8“Cd”

Indicates that It’s a coupe, however, with a diesel-powered engine.

.
9“Ci” This

indicates that it’s a 2-door Convertible. However, with

petrol injected engine.
10“iT”

“T” in “iT” stands for “Touring.” Besides, “i” indicates that it has a petrol-injected engine.

11“t”It indicates it’s a hatchback.
12“L”Long Wheelbase.
13“M”It indicates the Sports version of the existing model. For

e.g., X5 M, X6 M.

14“s”

It represents Sport. However, with either upgraded interiors/cosmetic options or increased engine power.

15“sDrive”Rear-Wheel Drive car.
16“T”Touring (Wagon/Estate) body Shape
17“td”Turbo diesel engine
18“x” / xDriveBMW xDrive / All-Wheel Drive

Some Examples of Configuration are as below:

Model

First Digit

Last Two Digits X 10

End Letters

 

Chassis type / Series

Engine Capacity

Additional information on Variant

320i

3

20

i

 

3 Series car

Engine Capacity = 20 X 100 = 2000 cc OR 2.0 Litres

i = Fuel Injection

520d

5

20

d

 

5 Series car

Engine Capacity = 20 X 100 = 2000 cc OR 2.0 Litres

Diesel engine

330xi

3

30

xi

 

3 Series Car

Engine Capacity = 30 X 100 = 3000 cc OR 3.0 Litres

All-Wheel Drive & Fuel Injection

760Li

7

60

Li

 

7 Series Car

Engine Capacity = 60 X 100 = 6000 cc OR 6.0 Litres

Long Wheel Base & Fuel Injection

Z4sDrive23i

Z4 sDrive

23

i

 

Z Series Car version 4 with Rear-Wheel Drive

Engine Capacity = 23 X 100 = 2300 cc OR 2.3 Litres

Fuel Injection

524td

5

24

td

 

5 Series Car

Engine Capacity = 24 X 100 = 2400 cc OR 2.4 Litres

Turbo Diesel

316g

3

16

g

 

3 Series Car

Engine Capacity = 16 X 100 = 1600 cc OR 1.6 Litres

Compressed Natural Gas (CNG)

318is

3

18

is

 

3 Series Car

Engine Capacity = 19 X 100 = 1900 cc OR 1.9 Litres

Fuel Injection Car with Sports Options

323Ti

3

23

Ti

 

3 Series Car

Engine Capacity = 23 X 100 = 2300 cc OR 2.3 Litres

Turismo Internazionale

645Ci

6

45

Ci

 

6 Series Car

Engine Capacity = 45 X 100 = 4500 cc OR 4.5 Litres

Coupe / Convertible with fuel injection

BMW Nomenclature For Its Cars:

*** Note: The BMW engine nomenclatures shown here are general examples. There are, however, some exceptions to this convention. For example, the 2007 BMW 328i and the 2007 BMW 335i are 3-Series cars. The 328i has a 2.0L petrol engine, which produces 240 bhp coupled to the 8-speed automatic transmission. However, the 335i has a 3.0-liter petrol engine that produces 300 bhp.

The 335i’s engine is a 3.0L twin-turbocharged. However, the number 35 could possibly translate to the Turbocharged (5) version of the 3.0L engine. Thus, making it 35. So, in that context, could the number 28 in 328i possibly mean that the 2.0L naturally aspirated engine mated to an 8-speed automatic gearbox? Only BMW would know.

Read more: Mercedes-Benz Nomenclature>>

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