Audi to dump confusing model names – report


A naming structure that saw Audis grafted with alphanumeric badges such as 35 TFSI, 60 TDI and 45 TFSI e is tipped to disappear.

The numbers and letters used to name Audi models since 2017 – which associate arbitrary designations with a vehicle’s power output, such as 35 TFSI or 50 TDI – will reportedly be phased out.

UK publication Auto Express reports the new Q6 E-Tron electric SUV will be the first main-line Audi vehicle to skip numerical designations such as 50 or 55 for its model variants.

It will be enabled by reduced complexity in Audi’s next-generation petrol and electric-car model ranges, which will eliminate the need for myriad badges to distinguish different power outputs, engine sizes and battery capacities.

The E-Tron GT electric sedan was technically the first new Audi without numerical variant names, however it only has one non-performance model – so it does not need complex badges – and does not fit into the same line of regular A-badged Audis, such as the A6 and A7.

Auto Express says the updated Q8 E-Tron electric SUV – formerly the ‘E-Tron’ – began the move away from the numerical badges for model variants, eschewing them from the vehicle’s tailgate.

However Audi continues to market variants of the Q8 E-Tron as the ’50 Quattro’ or ’55 Quattro’ in dealership and media materials, to denote different electric motors and batteries.

“When we talk about simplicity we don’t just talk about the options … we are really thinking of getting the leanest engine programme for the Q6 which still refers to our customer demands,” Florian Hauser, Audi head of sales and product marketing for electric vehicles, told Auto Express.

The change means the Q6 E-Tron – a Tesla Model Y rival – will available in only four variants, and a regular, all-wheel-drive model will simply be known as the ‘Q6 E-Tron Quattro’.

“And if it’s a performance model with Quattro, then it’s ‘SQ6’,” the executive told Auto Express.

“If you think about what’s coming next, when we talk about rear-wheel drive it’s just a Q6. For smaller and bigger batteries we could think about a suffix behind the ‘6’ – for example ‘Performance’. And so we don’t need the numbers anymore, so we won’t show them.”

It is unclear how this will be applied to Audi’s next-generation petrol and diesel cars, given these vehicles tend to offer more complex model line-ups than electric models.

Excluding the SQ5, the current Q5 is sold in Australia with four regular engine options – two diesels, one petrol and one petrol plug-in hybrid – while in Germany there are five, before equipment grades are taken into account.

The new Q5 – due to be unveiled this year – may simply offer one petrol, one diesel and one plug-in hybrid model to simplify the range – or may tie different engines to different trim grades, rather than offer each grade with a range of petrol and diesel engines.

Auto Express reports that while new petrol and diesel models will no longer wear the confusing badges on the tailgate or boot lid, it is still “in discussion internally as to whether it will also disappear from the configuration pages.”

It is not the only naming reshuffle underway at Audi, as going forward electric cars will have even-numbered badges, while petrol and diesel vehicles will wear odd numbers.

It will see the next-generation A4 and A6 Avant wagons become the A5 and A7 Avant – while the next A4 and A6 models will be electric.

Under the current naming structure for Audi model variants, the number reflects the power output of the vehicle – followed by TFSI for a turbo-petrol engine, TDI for turbo-diesel and TFSI e for petrol plug-in hybrid.

Announced in 2017, it sees 30 stand for models with 81kW to 96kW, 35 for 110kW to 120kW, 40 for 125kW to 150kW, 45 fo 169kW to 185kW, 50 for 210kW to 230kW, 55 for models with about 250kW to 270kW, and 60 for models with 320kW and 340kW.

It did not affect S and RS performance models, which retained simpler badges such as SQ5 TDI, or RS4.

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Alex Misoyannis

Alex Misoyannis has been writing about cars since 2017, when he started his own website, Redline. He contributed for Drive in 2018, before joining CarAdvice in 2019, becoming a regular contributing journalist within the news team in 2020.

Cars have played a central role throughout Alex’s life, from flicking through car magazines at a young age, to growing up around performance vehicles in a car-loving family.

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