• Dec 3rd 2008 at 7:27PM
  • 34

Remember the good old days when at least BMW nomenclature was straightforward? The first digit designated the series and the second and third the displacement of the engine. Maybe an extra letter would be tacked on, but that was it. Then they started with M this, Z that and X for the SUVs with xDrive all-wheel drive. So now we've got things like the X6 xDrive 35i. Now they're dropping another one on us: rear-wheel-drive models, which used to be the entire BMW line-up, will now bear the "sDrive" nameplate in addition to whatever else they stick on there.

We already knew this was coming for the upcoming X1, which will be offered in both xDrive (AWD) and sDrive (RWD) variants. (The current X3, X5 and X6 crossovers are all strictly all-wheel-drive models.) BMW has even reportedly registered the trademarks for sDrive18, sDrive20, sDrive30 and sDrive35, as if someone else would try and use the confusing nomenclature. Wait a second... sDrive35? As in the twin-turbo straight six in the 335i? That's bigger than the engine offered in the larger X3, so what is BMW up to?

Reports indicate that the sDrive nameplate could begin appearing on other BMW models driven through the rear axle, including the replacement for the Z4 roadster that was just caught nekkid today. If you look closely on the front fender, you can see a badge that looks an awful lot like "sDrive". We wouldn't expect to see the moniker on the standard series models (1, 3, 5, 6 and 7 Series), since those get the suffix "iX", but we're not sure we can even count on that anymore.

[Source: PaulTan.org]

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 6 Years Ago
      I drove an '09 328i xDrive the other day at work, and all I could
      think was, "what was wrong with calling it a 328xi?"

      Utterly ridiculous.
      • 6 Years Ago
      As much of a car fan as I am, I still can't keep the convoluted Mercedes designations straight. I also think Acura failed big time when they went "Euro" with its lame ambiguous designations. When someone asks about the new RL or TSX, one has to stop and think if that is a model designation or specific trim levels for a single model. On the other hand, Honda and Acura always had good memorable names such as Civic, Prelude, Accord, Integra, Legend, etc. Those were/are immediately identifiable. But the new stuff such as CRX, RDX, TL are just plain forgettable.

        • 6 Years Ago
        MB's nomenclature is pretty good imo

        but you're right about Acura - what happened to names like Integra, Legend and Vigor? I still get mixed up about which one is MDX or RDX

        as for BMW - the current system is just fine. why bother to mention the engine displacement 2 times in the same line?
        • 6 Years Ago
        Acura nomenclature has gotten better thou. A buddy of mine used to own a "2003 Acura 3.2 TL Type-S A-Spec". They must have ran out of room on the back of the car.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Could the sDrive badge be reserved for cars equipped with a torque vectoring diff.

        • 6 Years Ago
        I'd rather have a torsen or even a conventional LSD. This is just unnecessary and more stuff to break.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Well now BMW has lost it. First this whole "xdrive" nonsense ... then an "M" badged X6 (what the hell is that anyway?) ... now this crap. I guess my 05 M3 will be my first and last BMW.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Why so wordy?

      Why not go with something like X330(x)i, X530(x)i, X548(x)i, X635(x)i, X650(x)i, Z430i, etc.? It would look more BMWish than crap like "X3 [sx]Drive30i" etc.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Just when things were starting to get rational, somebody called the marketing department.
      • 6 Years Ago
      I thought I heard this was in response to some sort of lawsuit, where a customer purchased a car, then later claimed it didn't contain the engine he thought it did due to model # confusion...

      • 6 Years Ago
      They have to brag that it is rear drive?

      They might as well slap a logo on the back that says 5Speed.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Well, the still do put the "i" on the back of every car to indicate it is fuel injected.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Sdrive? I thought you guys are talking the Yokohama S.Drive tires!
      • 6 Years Ago
      I think they should keep it simple.

      330 (3-series, 3.0L)
      330X (3-series, 3.0L, awd)
      330T (for the 335i), 330tX for (335xi)

      I'm ok with X3, X5 for SUVs or SAVs (whatever).

      Just keep it simple BMW.

      • 6 Years Ago
      Oooooh tacky. Why don't they just slap a "Multi-Port Fuel Injection" or "Electronic Stability Control" or "Twin-Turbo" badge on there? (yeah you guys know which automakers I'm talking about who were the offenders on those)
        • 6 Years Ago
        Or even worse, call it 'Brougham.'
      • 6 Years Ago
      BMW names are starting to resemble algebra problems. I hate math.
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