BMW Will Drop "i" Designation From Gasoline-Engined Models

Rumor / 1 Comment

The X3 30i xDrive will become the X3 30 xDrive, for example.

BMW will reportedly adopt a new naming convention for its gasoline-powered models, which will reportedly drop the "i" designation, according to a company insider's latest entry on the Bimmerpost forum.

The BimmerPost user, ynguldyn, who has previously made accurate predictions, suggests certain models will abandon the "i" suffix. "No more 'i' in the gas-powered model names," he writes when referring to the facelifted 1 Series. If this turns out to be true, future models will go by BMW 118 or BMW 120 instead of 118i or 120i. Interestingly, the diesel models will retain the "d" designation, so the 118d nomenclature, for example, would continue.

On gas-powered vehicles, the 'i" denotes fuel injection, which has been used in nearly all BMWs for several decades. Recently, "i" has also been used to identify an all-electric BMW, where it's placed ahead of the model name. For example, an electric 5 Series is called the i5. Apparently, this is causing some confusion.

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2022-2023 BMW X3 Front Angle View
2022-2023 BMW X3 Rear Angle View
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The change seems timeous as more electric vehicles come to market. The "i" is no longer necessary on gasoline vehicles but is still important when it comes to EVs.

Interestingly, Mercedes made a similar change in the early '90s. Before 1993, "E" was used to designate a fuel-injected (Einspritzmotor) vehicle. The 500SE become the S500, while the Mercedes midsize range officially adopted the E designation and became the E-Class.

And it's not just the 1 Series that will see this model name change. It applies to the X3 as well. As such, the X3 30i xDrive will simply become the X3 30 xDrive. As mentioned, diesel models will retain the "d" while electrified X3s will keep the "e" as part of their badging - X3 30e xDrive.

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If this rumor turns out to be true, it would make a lot of sense. In March, CarBuzz uncovered a trademark that suggested BMW will introduce a new naming system for its all-electric models. Instead of BMW i7 xDrive50 (which sounds clunky and longwinded), the luxury sedan would be renamed as BMW i750. It's the same story with the SUV models, as some of the new model names read X750.

That could be reserved for the X7, which is currently sold as the X7 xDrive40i or X7 M60i. We also know BMW has trademarked the iX6, iX7, iX8, and iX9 names, suggesting more electric SUVs are on the horizon. These names also imply the automaker is going ahead with the abovementioned rumored model designation changes.

Removing the frankly unnecessary "i" suffix from ICE vehicles will simplify everything for customers who may find current naming conventions rather confusing. The letter these days represents electrification for almost all brands, not an alternative to the carburetor. We're getting old.

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