Have you wondered how BMW names their vehicles, the nomenclature they follow? Even though in the past few years BMW has changed the pattern, it is still interesting to look at past models and see the reasoning behind it.

BMW’s vehicles are named by usually a 3 digit number followed by 1 or 2 letter. The first number number represents the series number, while the next two numbers used to represent the engine displacement in cubic centimeters divided by 100. BMW’s logical model naming convention took a turn with the E39 5 Series model, which was called the 523i despite being powered by a 2.5-liter engine.


The letters following the numbers represent different type of engines, bodystyles and platform.

  • i = fuel-injection
  • d = diesel engine
  • h = hydrogen engine
  • g = compressed natural gas/CNG
  • e = eta  – power with economy e.g BMW 325e
  • x = xDrive sytem
  • L = long wheelbase
  • C = coupe
  • c = convertible
  • T = touring/wagon
  • t = hatchback
  • s = sport

Of course, as I mentioned, the naming convention has changed, especially because of the new engines that have the same displacement, but use a different technology. The most recent ones that comes to mind  are the N53B30, a 3.0-liter engine straight six engine(328i model) and the N54B30, a twin-turbo 3.0-liter engine used in the …335i model.

Well, that’s our BMW history lesson for the day, we’ll be back with more!