Car naming seems like a foreign language. You see the numbers, letters, and symbols and can’t figure out how to choose the appropriate one. The difference is clear only if you do research and feel deeply engaged on the topic. Of course, it’s not a big deal to distinguish your favorite cars. But even well-known car manufacturers create complicated models names so you feel confused sometimes. For instance, the BMW naming system is considered to be one of the most interesting to explore. And we are going to explain some basics in order to know how to get the best car lease deals on BMW.

The manufacturers say that it’s clear and easier than it was before. However, many inexperienced drivers don’t feel good when they see them. If you are lost among BMW cars, we will be your light at the end of the tunnel. Grand Prix Motors shares the most useful information about cars and leasing, so you are in the right place. 

Quick overview 

  • BMW has a special department to develop naming system and car identification
  • The naming conventions become clearer and easier to understand in comparison with the past
  • Numbers and letters give you the information about the auto model and series, engine details
  • Grand Prix Motors provides you with the best BMW models and the personal expert will explain to you necessary information!

History and logic 

The BMW naming system has always been difficult and consisted of hidden senses.  Since 1929, it has changed a lot and became much more clear for customers. The first car at that time was called BMW 3\15 PS to indicate horsepower and its taxability. PS meant horsepower in German — “Pferdestärke”. 

The company has developed this naming system and it was considered to be really brief and comfortable for drivers. Moreover, they opened a special department for naming the cars — “Strategic Naming and Vehicle Identification”.The new ideas and rules come from the 1970s. They are based on the principles of intuition and logic. In fact, the management tended to create a more transparent and clear system that will be obvious for the customers. 

Nowadays the nomenclature remains pretty similar — numbers and letters still mean a lot.

BMW naming conventions

Mostly, BMW car buyers use their intuition skills and try to clarify the meaning of the auto on their own. To do that correctly, you have to be aware of what the manufacturer wants to show you by the name and what is hidden there.

The models’ name contains several common meanings:

  • Series and models which are usually divided into 11 groups and can be presented by members or letters
  • Numbers which show the engine performance
  • Letters which clarify car, diesel or hybrid designations

Moreover, BMW provides some Lines for their cars. But it doesn’t require decoding because they are presented clearly. The Lines include Luxury, Sport, M Sport, and xLine (with upgrades).

Series and Models

BMW naming system presents 11 groups of cars that range by size from smaller to bigger ones. It’s a logical approach with numbers: a car of 5 Series is larger than a 2 Series vehicle.

  • 2 Series – a two-door coupe, the smallest and cheapest one
  • 3 Series – a four-door sedan available in 2 models (sports wagon and Gran Turismo)
  • 4 Series – a two-door coupe (convertible or four-door Gran Coupe)
  • 5 Series – a four-door sedan (high-performance options)
  • 6 Series – a midsize two-door coupe (convertible or four-door Gran Turismo)
  • 7 Series – a four-door sedan (M sedan and ALPINA sedan)
  • 8 Series – a coupe available (convertible,  four-door Gran Coupe, or M coupe)

It’s more complicated to distinguish between letter-marked series, but you can cope with that!

  • X Models – SUVs and crossovers from the X1 to X7 
2021 BMW X7 car leasing
  • Z Models – a two-door convertible roadster
2021 BMW Z4 car leasing
  • M Models – select BMM series and X models

2021 BMW m4 car leasing
  • i Models – BMW’s electric and plug-in hybrid
2021 BMW i3 car leasing

The main models include Gran Coupe (four-door), Gran Turismo (four-door, bigger trunk space), ALPINA (selected).


Numbers, mentioned after the Series of BMW cars, can make you feel confused. Usually, drivers start searching for how to decode and understand them. It’s not a big deal. These numbers show the model and engine performance. The system of the last 2 figures is that the higher number means the higher power. 

For example, the BMW model name includes 428i. So, it’s an auto of Series 4 with a 2.8-liter engine. But what’s about the letter?


Usually, you see BMW cars which include 3 digit numbers and 1 or even 2 following letters. Some people try to find the meaning while others don’t pay enough attention and just miss the point. If you have wondered about the letters after the numbers, don’t worry! We are here to clarify the hidden meanings and make it effortless for you to read BMX names. 

In general, these letters show the major information you have to know. They present the type of engine, body styles, and platform. Check it:

  • C = coupe
  • c = convertible
  • d = diesel engine
  • e = eta  – power with economy 
  • g = compressed natural gas/CNG
  • h = hydrogen engine
  • i = fuel-injection
  • L = long wheelbase
  • s = sport
  • T = touring/wagon
  • t = hatchback
  • x = xDrive system

Do you feel much more confident about your knowledge? Contact your GPM personal expert to show that you are a BMW professional and lease the best car! Let’s arrange the mutual check-up: we will see how aware of the topic you are, you will start cooperating with the most reliable partner! 

#enjoy your freedom with Grand Prix Motors!

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