Within the last couple of years, Audi, BMW, and Mercedes-Benz have all dramatically refaced their automobile lineup. Audi expanded its SUV and 4-door coupe lines with the Q5, Q3, Q1, and A7. BMW introduced the 2-Series, the 4-Series, the X1, the X4, and the soon to be unveiled X7. Mercedes-Benz has only introduced the CLA and GLA into the market, but are expected to introduce a X4/X6 fighter, as well as reintroduce the ultra high-end MayBach marque.
On top of all of the new models, the nomenclature of the vehicles has also changed quite drastically with BMW and Mercedes. BMW’s 28i line is now an I4 Twin-Turbo engine, instead of the N/A straight-6. Mercedes’ 250 line (I4-Turbo) is now being scrapped for the 300 line (I4-Twin Turbo). The 300 used to be a V6. The new V6 models will be called 400s.
After careful observation, and countless hours of…erm….research, I have come to the conclusion that these Automobile manufactures are indeed selling out. Let me explain.
Way back in the day, Audi, BMW, and Mercedes only had 3 or 4 model series. Audi had the A4, A6, A8; BMW had the 3-Series, 5-Series, and 7-Series; and Benz had the C-Class, E-Class, and S-Class. In the late 90s, BMW and Benz introduced SUVs to their lineup with the BMW X5 and Mercedes ML-Class. Also the engines corresponded to the naming system as well. For example, a BMW 335i had a 3.5liter Straight-6 Twin-Turbo and a Mercedes E320 had a 3.2 liter V6. In short, in the past the lineups were simple and the engines corresponded to the number attached to the model line.
Nowadays, however, this concept of simplicity and straightforwardness has gone to hell! The numbers attached to the model line do not tell you anything about the powertrain. And there are more models than ever. Before there were sedans, saloons, executive saloons, coupes and SUVs. Now there are compact sedans, sedans, 4-door coupes, 2-door executive coupes, saloons, executive saloons, compact SUV, Oversized SUVs, and Sport Activity Vehicles (think BMW X6, X4, and possible X2). And engine wise, the numbers do not match-up! A C300 is 2.0 I4, and a 328i is a 2.0 I4 as well, as opposed to a 3.0 and 2.8 liter engine.
Is it misleading, yes. Does it really matter to the everyday buyer, probably not. But this is still very, very disappointing. This rapid introduction of new models at low starting prices is reducing the exclusivity and prestige of these marques. I’m not trying to say that a Mercedes is going to be compared to a Honda, it’s not and will never be. But a new Audi, BMW, or Mercedes is just not going to have that “charm” and prestige as it had back in the day.