BMW Axes the ‘i’ from Combustion Cars

by Nik Berg
6 May 2024 1 min read
BMW Axes the ‘i’ from Combustion Cars

BMW is to drop its long-standing ‘i’ appendage from the names of petrol powered models. Instead, the ninth letter of the alphabet will be reserved exclusively for the German brand’s electric line-up.

For 55 years since the introduction of the 2000 tii in 1969 an i on the trunk lid of a BMW has meant it was fuel-injected, but that all changed when the all-electric i3 made its debut in 2013, when BMW realised that innovation was also began with i.

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Arguably this mixed use of the letter could cause some confusion, so the company has decided to simplify the situation.

Bernd Körber, Senior Vice President BMW Brand and Product Management, Connected Company told BMW Blog, “Historically, even though our interpretation of BMW i was always different, it’s more innovation, not necessarily only electric, and we historically had injection at the end [of the badge], we said, we would like to keep ‘i’ as an asset, and we would like to keep it as a signature to indicate you’re driving an electric car and that was the logic that we had.”

On the subject of logic in model numbers it was always easy to identify BMW specs from their three digit codes, but that also went awry a while back. For decades it was obvious that a 318i was a 3-Series with a 1.8-litre engine, a 520i was a Fiver with two-litres and a 750i was a 7-Series with a full five-litres, but these days a 330i packs a two-litre, while a 340i gets a three-litre engine. These numbers come not from engine size or power output, but from the motors’ internal codenames.

If BMW is looking at clearing up its nomenclature then it certainly wouldn’t hurt to rethink this, too.

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