Badges of con­fu­sion

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Prestige -

IT TAKES time — and pa­tience — to un­der­stand what BMW is do­ing with its badges.

In the ‘‘old days’’ there was a model and an en­gine ca­pac­ity, which worked with ev­ery­thing from the 318i (1.8-litre 3 Se­ries) to 750i (5.0-litre 7 Se­ries). An Mbadge meant a motorsport model. Now there are S cars and X cars. And the num­bers don’t re­motely match the ca­pac­ity or even, like some brands, the power out­put.

‘‘It started with xDrive. That was be­cause BMW pi­o­neered the idea of bring­ing the sus­pen­sion set-up of a pas­sen­ger car into four-wheel-drive ter­ri­tory, but we never branded it,’’ Piers Scott says.

‘‘The idea was to bring to the fore that an xDrive ve­hi­cle had that technology. sDrive, there­fore, is a twowheel, rear-wheel driv­e­train. It be­comes nec­es­sary in the X1 be­cause we have sDrive X1s as well as xDrives.

‘‘A 20 refers to ei­ther nat­u­rally as­pi­rated or a sin­gle turbo. A 5 then usu­ally means a twin-turbo or a sin­gle twin-scroll turbo.’’ The num­ber goes up with out­put. ‘‘We start with 18i, a 20d, a 23d and a 25i. The 20d is a sin­gle turbo, and the 23 is a twin-turbo se­quen­tial.’’ But even Scott ad­mits it’s not easy. ‘‘It is a bit con­fus­ing. But no more con­fus­ing than some com­peti­tors.

Mercedes doesn’t have badges that match its en­gines’ ca­pac­ity or out­put.’’

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