Another Unnecessary Round of the Name Game

BMW Needs to Admit It Has a Problem


May 5, 2019 Cars By Photo by AutoCar

According to a recent report from AutoCar, we can look forward to a four-door M2 on the road later this year. A more practical version of the best car the brand currently builds? Fantastic. Can’t wait. But with BMW’s current naming convention, it’ll hit showroom floors as the “M2 Gran Coupe,” which is unnecessary and shines a light on the problem with the brand’s naming convention as a whole.

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Of course, BMW isn’t the only brand to commit the offense of abusing the word “coupe.” Mercedes and Audi are big offenders, but Honda joins the party too, with its C-HR. “Coupe” is French for a carriage with a fixed roof and two doors, or a “cut” version of a four-door, which naturally translated to cars. BMW started using this naming scheme with the 6-Series Gran Coupe, a four-door version of a coupe it now no longer makes. It then applied the Gran Coupe modifier to the 4-Series, which started as a two-door version of the four-door-only 3-Series. I understand words and their meanings evolve, but it’s getting a bit ridiculous.

This constant splintering of new model lines and individual model names is getting out of hand. But, there’s a simple and obvious fix, and it’s something BMW used to do but stopped: trust its customers can count without assistance. From 1975 to 1997, the BMW 3-Series came in two- and four-door flavors, their badges offering no indication of how many doors they featured. In ’97 BMW tacked a ‘C’ into the names of coupe models, then immediately stopped doing that for the following generation. And since ’13, it’s gone nuts and built entirely new lines of cars with new made up names and unnecessary numbers.

Now we have four-door versions of two-door versions of four-door cars. It’s all a convoluted mess, and while BMW isn’t the only offender, it’s undoubtedly the main perpetrator. The company seems to be going through its entire lineup and renaming cars it already makes and by adding models by changing styling only slightly – and then continuing to build both. If there’s one trend in the industry that needs to die a quick death, it’s this one.

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