Audi is set to adopt a new naming strategy in an attempt to unify and simplify its multiple model ranges, with traditional engine capacity badging scrapped in favour of a new two-digit numerical sequence.
The move is claimed to make it easier to understand where each model sits with an expanding range of diverse powertrain options and will be applied to vehicles regardless of engine type, be it diesel, petrol, electric, hybrid, or compressed natural gas.
Under the new naming scheme, model designations like A4, Q5, and TT will remain unchanged but each variant within a model line will ditch its engine capacity naming and instead carry a two digit badge that groups engine outputs together based on peak power.
The new numbering system will start at 30 and go up to 70, with the engine type suffix staying in place, so petrol-powered cars will still wear a TFSI badge, and diesels will continue to carry a TDI signifier.
Despite claiming to make its model walk easier to understand, there’s still a level of complexity to Audi’s new system; for instance the cars with a 30 on the tailgate could produce between 81kW to 96kW, a 35 equates to between 110kW and 120kW, 40 spans 125kW to 150kW, 45 represents 169kW to 185kW, 50 stands for 210kW to 230kW, 60 covers 320kW to 340kW, and 70 will be used on model producing over 400kW.
To put that into perspective the current 110kW A3 1.4 TFSI CoD would become the A3 35 TFSI, the more powerful A3 2.0 TFSI with 140kW would become the A3 40 TFSI. A 140kW Q5 2.0 TDI would become the Q5 40 TDI whereas the 185kW Q5 2.0 TFSI moves to Q5 45 TFSI.
The names are staged in increments of five, meaning there won’t be in-between numbers (like 53 or 67 for instance), and Audi hasn’t assigned 55 or 65 designations yet, despite releasing an image of the 55 badge on the back of a petrol-powered A8.
The decision follows the example set by rivals like BMW and Mercedes-Benz whose previous naming systems once pointed to an engine’s capacity, but now only reference an engine’s hierarchy within the range - like the Mercedes-Benz A180 and A200, both powered by 1.6-litre engines but with 90kW and 115kW outputs respectively.
“As alternative drive technologies become increasingly relevant, engine displacement as a performance attribute is becoming less important to our customers. The clarity and logic of structuring the designations according to power output makes it possible to distinguish between the various performance levels,” Audi’s head of Sales and Marketing, Dietmar Voggenreiter, explained.
The new naming system will start to appear on production vehicles from the third quarter of 2017, beginning with the recently revealed A8 range which Audi initially promoted with the older-style engine capacity designations. By the time the new model hits showrooms, 50 TDI and 55 TFSI badges will replace the former 3.0 TDI and 3.0 TFSI names.
Only standard A and Q models will be branded with the new naming system, with Audi declaring: “S and RS and the Audi R8 will retain their classic names in reference to their top position in the model range,” meaning those models will miss out on the new naming process.
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