Apparently, a name like "A3 3.0 TDI" isn’t confusing enough

Sometimes the urge to change something for the simple sake of just doing something different doesn’t get the intended result. Audi seems to have fallen into that trap with its new model naming structure. And unfortunately, its vehicle nomenclature is now more confusing than ever.

While traditional model series names won’t be affected by this, the company’s goal in this name overhaul is to do away with using engine size as part of the name and instead using the car’s power output in kilowatts to differentiate itself from other variants of the same model. Take the Audi A3 1.6 TDI for example. Instead of keeping that name, it’s now going to be referred to as the Audi A3 30 TDI because, well, I don’t know. Same thing with the Audi A8 3.0 TDI, which now takes the name A8 50 TDI. Again, how exactly did Audi come up with this? The short answer, apparently, is designating a “number” to classify power ranges in kilowatts. For example, cars that will wear the “30” name produce between 81 kW to 96 kW (108 horsepower to 128 horsepower). These numbers are then staged in increments of five so the next number is 35, which will be used on models with outputs between 110 kW and 120 kW (145 horsepower and 159 horsepower). The numbering system goes on until it reaches “70” for models with more than 400 kW (529 horsepower) on tap. Making things even more confusing is that these new number designations will appear alongside the name of the model and the engine technology that a specific model will be using, hence the name Audi A8 50 TDI. Makes me wonder if Audi thought this one through.

Continue after the jump to read the full story.

A clear case of doing too much to solve something so little

2018 Audi A8 Exterior High Resolution
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Audi’s intention here appears to be pure, or at least that’s what Dr. Dietmar Voggenreiter, Board of Management Member for Sales and Marketing at Audi, said in a statement. In his own words, he said that “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.”

He’s right in the sense that engine displacement isn’t really a clear barometer of performance if you use it as part of a model’s naming structure. A lot of people who own Audis don’t even understand what the “1.8” or the “3.0” means on the car they have. Some ask, but for the most part, they let it be because the car is still an Audi.

If Audi really wanted to simplify how it names its model variants, there are far easier ways to do it than assigning a specific number to represent a specific range in power, in kilowatt form no less.

Here’s the thing, though. If using engine displacement in a name is confusing enough, what does it say about differentiating a variant using numbers to represent specific ranges in power? Isn’t that even more confusing? That’s like saying asking somebody to add the values 1.98582 plus 0.01418. The answer is going to be two, so why not just ask them to add one plus one? It’s still the same answer, albeit it processed in a much simpler way. If Audi really wanted to simplify how it names its model variants, there are far easier ways to do it than assigning a specific number to represent a specific range in power, in kilowatt form no less.

I do think that as time goes on, some people will catch on to the new naming structure. Maybe they’ll even come to appreciate the nomenclature the way Audi intended. As for the rest of us, they’re probably not going to care either way, as long as the car has “Audi” and that four-ring logo.

References

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