Munich, Germany – The iconic “i” symbol that has adorned BMW models for several decades is set to undergo a significant change in the brand’s naming strategy. Since the introduction of the BMW 520i in the early 1970s, the “i” has symbolized fuel injection in the carmaker’s petrol-powered models.
However, according to a trusted BMW insider “i” will be removed from BMW’s petrol models, starting with the next-generation 1 Series in 2024. This move marks a departure from the traditional naming convention that has long been associated with BMW vehicles.
Evolution of the “i”: From Injection to Innovation
The letter “i” in BMW models has been synonymous with fuel injection, a technology that revolutionized the automotive industry. In the early days, it served as a distinguishing factor for BMW’s petrol-powered models, highlighting their advanced engineering. Over time, the brand expanded its lineup to include diesel models, which were designated with the letter “d” alongside the series and engine nomenclature.
However, with the widespread adoption of fuel injection in the automotive industry, the “i” symbol has lost its relevance as a marker for injection technology. Instead, BMW has decided to embrace a new meaning for the letter “i” in its fully-electric models: innovation.
Models like the i3, i5, and i7 represent BMW’s commitment to pushing the boundaries of electric vehicle technology and sustainability.
Confusion over Engine Size and Performance
BMW’s decision to remove the “i” from petrol models is driven by a desire to simplify its naming system. In the past, the number following the “i” denoted the engine size, such as the 325i representing a 2.5-litre engine. However, as powerplants evolved and turbocharging became prevalent, engine sizes decreased while performance increased. This resulted in larger engine names being associated with smaller engines, leading to confusion among fans.
For instance, both the 320i and 330i models feature 2.0-litre engines with different levels of performance. Despite this, BMW continued to use a larger-sounding engine designation for the more powerful variant. While this practice has received criticism from enthusiasts, BMW has indicated that it has no plans to change this naming convention in the near future.
Maintaining Iconic Names: M3 and M5
Amidst the changes in the naming strategy, BMW reassures its loyal customers that iconic names like the M3 and M5 will continue into the next decade. These names have become synonymous with high-performance and have earned a special place in the hearts of car enthusiasts worldwide.
BMW acknowledges that the main purpose of model names is to provide clarity to customers and ensure easy understanding of the vehicles. Through the consistent use of its naming conventions, BMW has successfully established itself as a brand with a rich tradition and a strong connection to its enthusiast base.
Looking Ahead: Clarity and Authenticity
BMW’s decision to remove the “i” symbol from petrol models reflects the brand’s commitment to providing clarity and authenticity to its global customer base. As the automotive industry continues to evolve, BMW aims to ensure that its model names are easily understood and accurately represent the characteristics of each vehicle. While the evolution of the “i” symbol signifies the end of an era, BMW’s dedication to innovation and its iconic names will propel the brand into a new era of automotive excellence.
As BMW prepares to launch the next-generation 1 Series without the “i” symbol in 2024, enthusiasts and industry observers eagerly await the response of customers to this significant naming strategy.