BMW prepares new naming system for Neue Klasse era

Published: 20 September 2023 Updated: 20 September 2023

► New BMW badges in pipeline
► i and combustion names to merge
► The inside line on what to expect

Applications filed with the EU trademark authorities suggest a pending change of BMW badges and nomenclature which will kick off with the Neue Klasse launch.

The BMW Vision Neue Klasse concept car shown at this autumn’s IAA Munich motor show is a precursor to the new generation of electric cars being readied in Munich, heralding the direction of travel for the next 3-series and all future mainstream models. But as well as the tech and design story, CAR understands the new era will also usher in a new type of naming convention.

BMW will continue to hedge its powertrain bets, offering a choice of pure electric or increasingly hybridised combustion versions. This continues the theme started with the i7 and petrol 7-series, but those badges will soon converge.

New BMW model names: starting mid-decade with the X3 and 3-series

CAR magazine’s sources suggest that the first new arrival based on the Neue Klasse technology stack, the X3 family, will be rebadged X320 and X330 for combustion derivatives, while the all-electric iX3 option will be called iX330, iX340 and iX350. 

iX3: a name soon to be superseded

It seems the different naming conventions of ICE and EV BMWs will converge. Our sources suggest the same formula is valid for heartland saloons and Tourings, too – it’s less of a shock to hear 3-series models called 330 or 340 (i330/i340 for electric models), while loftier numbers such as 560, 660 and 760 grace top-of-the-line models.

Cleverly, it allows the familiar ‘3-series’ and ‘5-series’ family names to continue, but realigns the individual constituent models below.

Why is BMW overhauling its badges again?

It’s an attempt to blend the occasional bumpy alphabet soup of letters and numerals spawned by the ever-more complex technical landscape. Work it through: the proposed flexible badging system can reflect different bodystyles, model hierarchies and power/battery capacity with a single common style.

When you realise the i3 is the chosen name for the electric 3-series version coming in 2026, you realise why BMW had to retire the original stubby electric supermini pioneer last summer.

Do you approve of BMW’s proposed new naming system? Be sure to sound off in the comments below!

By Georg Kacher

European editor, secrets uncoverer, futurist, first man behind any wheel