BMW Axes the ‘i’ from Combustion Cars


BMW will lose its long-standing ‘i’ appendage from the names of gas-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 realized that innovation was also began with i.

This mixed use of the letter could arguably 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-liter engine, a 520i was a Fiver with two-liters and a 750i was a 7-Series with a full five-liters, but these days a 330i packs a two-liter, while a 340i gets a three-liter 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.

Click below for more about
Read next Up next: The Daily Driver Needs Tie Rods


    Yes it definitely wouldn’t hurt. I love how BMW is beginning to make sense again, but they’ve got a long way to go.

    I am guessing you were being sarcastic, since adding the word “innovation” to the end of every electric car model name is complete nonsense!

    I wondered if there would be a day BMW would stop “bragging” about their cars being fuel injected……

    Translation: “We’re trying to provide continuity, even though there isn’t any.”

    I say if you’re going to change, embrace the change with a clean break. Just don’t do juvenile names live VW is doing with their “ID” cars. “ID Buzz” is the worst offender. I say this and I rather like the car.

    Thank goodness they cleared this up. 🙄 Now how about devoting some time to making your cars look less ugly.

    This comment regarding model numbering: “These numbers come not from engine size or power output, but from the motors’ internal codenames” is not correct. The 40 in 340 has nothing to do with the engine code name. For instance, the newest 340 uses the internally coded B58B30 engine – a 3L, turbo, 6cyl. BMW decided to stick with many of the number designations that were in use, carry them over from year to year, and simplify each series lineup (including limiting available engine options) such that the last two digits became totally removed from displacement It had gotten difficult anyway trying to keep track. For example, the E60 generation five series had ten different engine options available, each with its own model, 520 up to 550 (a 4.8L) and the M5 (V10). The 523 had a 2.5L six, as did the 525. The 528 and the 530 both used a 3L six. Became horrible confusing.

    I thought the “i” stood for intelligent, so saying they are axing the “i” would seem to fit with the current product.

    BMW has given it’s own rich illustrious history the “up yours”, today peddling horrid, ugly cars, a far cry from the 735i of the 1980’s or 535i of the 1990’s and the E30, 36 of the era’s.
    This was the BMW’s zenith and a period when I aspired to own one. No longer. Well I supposed they cater for a different market and generation.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *