Whenever a car company adopts a new naming scheme, there’s always a period of time when the public rejects the change, dismissing the new nomenclature as confusing or pointless. But eventually, we get used to it, just like we got used to calling every Infiniti a Q or QX and putting a different letter at the end of some Mercedes model names. But Audi’s new nomenclature, which replaces the current system based on engine displacement, may take some extra getting used to.
Because electric drivetrains are becoming more and more prevalent, Audi believes advertising engine displacement on the backs of its cars makes less sense. Thus, it has come up with a new standardized two-digit system that will be used on both conventional and electrified models.
Have you had your morning coffee yet? Because this will take some brain power to understand. Every Audi model from A1 to Q7 will get a two-digit number relaying power output in kilowatts. But the number won’t directly correspond to a car’s output. Instead, the number represents a range.
For example, a “30” designation would be used on cars producing between 81 and 96 kW (110-131 hp), and a “45” would be used on cars that make between 169 and 185 kW (230-252 hp). The numbers increase in increments of five until you reach the very top of the hierarchy–the “70” badge, which can be found on vehicles that make 400 kW or more (544 hp and up). S, RS, and R8 models will be excluded from the new naming scheme, and will continue to just wear model badges.
The two-digit number will appear in front of a badge indicating the type of powertrain the vehicle uses, with familiar terms like TFSI (turbocharged direct-injected gasoline), TDI (turbodiesel), g-tron (natural gas and gasoline), and e-tron (hybrid or battery electric) returning. The upcoming 2019 Audi A8 will be the first to use the new nomenclature when it arrives in Germany this fall.
“As alternative drive technologies become increasingly relevant, engine displacement as a performance attribute is becoming less important to our customers,” said Dr. Dietmar Voggenreiter, Audi board of management member for sales and marketing, in a release. “The clarity and logic of structuring the designations according to power output makes it possible to distinguish between the various performance levels.”
The number system is somewhat reminiscent of Tesla’s strategy, which uses battery size in kilowatt-hours to communicate a model’s place in the hierarchy. Tesla will not use that system for the Model 3, however–at least not when it comes to badging.
Is Audi’s new system easier to understand than the previous “2.0T” and “3.0T” badges, which didn’t always accurately advertise displacement or forced induction method? Will Audi buyers accept the new badges (or even notice)? Time will tell.