Badges of confusion
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.’’