Audi Changes the Way It Names Its Cars

Audi will change the name of its cars to put emphasis on power output rather than engine size.
Jessica Miley

Audi is preparing to change the naming of their cars, to make it easier to compare models. Current models like A4 and A5, as well as Q5 and Q7, will remain, but the engine displacement number will be removed. Instead, the carmaker wants to devise a new naming system that will put all vehicles on a comparable level. Audi says the goal of the move is for consumers to better understand the power output of vehicles while at the same time move away from a naming system that preferences rational fuel cars.

The new naming system will have a greater emphasis on electric vehicles. In short, what will be comparable is the power of the vehicle, rather the than the type of engine that is producing it.

Dr. Dietmar Voggenreiter, Board of Management Member for Sales and Marketing at Audi AG, explains the change, saying, “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.”

The new naming system

The change is admirable but will pose a challenge to devise a way that gives an accurate understanding of a car's power.

New Audi cars will no longer have their engine size in its name, for example, 2.0 for a two-liter engine will be obsolete, replaced instead by a two digit number that indicates power output in kilowatts (kW). However the designated number won’t be the actual power of that individual model, instead, Audi has created a list of power ‘bands’.

Cars with between 81 and 96 kW will fall into the “30” band. Vehicles with an output of 169 and 185 kW go into the “45” band and the “70” band will host cars with any power output over 400 kW.

This band number will come after the model name and then will be followed by a short hand version indicating engine technology. Turbocharged gasoline engines will be TFSI, TDI for turbocharged diesels, g-tron for compressed natural gas, or e-tron for electric.


The only cars to escape the new nomenclature are the high-end S and RS performance cars. These will hold onto their existing names such as the R8 supercar. The change will be kickstarted by the new Audi A8 which is expected to be released later this year. The new car could go from A8 3.0 TDI to the A8 50 TDI. On the other hand, the A8 3.0 TFSI will become the A8 55 TFSI. From here on, all cars will follow the new naming regime. Remaining cars will be changed by the Summer of 2018. Audi plans to release three new electric vehicles into its range by 2018.

The move is a positive for consumers who will be able to make more informed decisions on what they are buying. It is unclear whether other big carmakers will follow or if an industry standard will develop that would make it easy for EV consumers to compare models across brands.

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