Audi to use two-number nomenclature to signify power output

I really think the Germans have lost their minds when it comes to naming cars. First it was BMW, just creating arbitrary numerical nomenclature for its cars, rather than signifying displacement. Then, Mercedes-Benz started doing the same thing and coming up with random letter combinations to add to them. For awhile, it seemed as if Audi was the only German automaker whose names made any sense. Until now, that is.

As it turns out, Audi will be changing the nomenclature that signifies its cars’ power output. But rather than use the displacement number (2.0T signifying a 2.0 liter engine), it’s going to use an arbitrary kilowatt number. Allow me to explain.

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Here in the US, as well as in the UK and many other European countries, we use horsepower to measure an engine’s power output. But it many other countries, including Germany, kilowatts are used instead. So rather than use the displacement of a car’s engine to differentiate it from other variants, Audi will use kilowatts.

But so many different cars have drastically different kW (kilowatt) specs. So rather than put the exact kW number on the back of the car, it will be using a number that sort of sits between ranges of kW. For instance, if a car has “30” on the back of it, that means it has between 81 and 96 kW (108 – 128 hp). If you see a “45” badged car, that stands for a power output between 169 and 185 kW. But why 30 and 45? It doesn’t make any sense.

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Top of the range Audis, with 400 kW (536 hp) or more will get a “70” badge. Does that make any sense to you? It’s utter nonsense.


Audi tried to explain it as best as possible but it doesn’t work. “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,” explains Dr. Dietmar Voggenreiter, Board of Management Member for Sales and Marketing at AUDI AG.

That makes sense a little bit. Audi would rather display the car’s power, rather than displacement. Small engine displacements look puny on paper but can still put out big power. So it’s cooler to put how much power. But the numbers chosen to represent the power are utter madness. None of its makes any sense.

Audi, we love you, but lay off the sauce. It’s not even Oktoberfest yet.

Nico DeMattia

I've been in love with cars since I was a kid, specifically German cars. Now I get to drive them talk about them on the internet.