It looks as though BMW is preparing for the inevitable electric future by taking legal measures to secure the rights to use certain monikers for EVs and a handful of combustion-engined cars. As discovered by our colleagues at Car Buzz, no fewer than 43 names have been registered with the German Patent and Trademark Office (DPMA).
With automakers offering a rich blend of gasoline, diesel, plug-in hybrid, and electric models across a multitude of models, it’s getting harder to have a nomenclature that won’t confuse people. We’d argue BMW has done a good job so far, even though the days when the engine’s displacement was immediately identifiable are long gone.
The DPMA website shows BMW has grabbed the trademark for a 1 Series-based “i120” all the way up to a 7 Series “i760” and an “iX760.” The use of “i” at the beginning of the model designation indicates a badge that could be used for an electric car, much like the iX1, iX3, i4, i7, iX of today, and the recently teased i5 Sedan.
However, not all trademarks start with “i,” thus suggesting a handful of models could retain a combustion engine in the future. The last two digits illustrate the power level, much like an iX xDrive50 is more potent than an iX xDrive40. The “M350” suffix suggests an M Performance 3 Series with gasoline power but presumably stronger than the current M340i.
It’s important to note the list attached below might not be complete. Even if it is, that doesn’t necessarily mean each and every name will be used. Automakers and other types of companies outside of the car industry apply for certain trademarks just so they don’t lose the naming rights to a competitor. Nevertheless, it could be a window into BMW’s lineup in the 2030s or later.