Why is BMW Naming it’s Front Wheel Drive Cars the 2 Series?

We learned a few months ago that BMW was planning on naming it’s front wheel drive BMWs 2 Series. WTF you ask? According to Top Gear there’s some sort of bizarre logic responsible.

This spring, BMW unveils another 2-series. You know the 2-series. The carmaker’s kicked things off with the 2-series Coupe, which is a two-door variant of the 1-series. So you might imagine that the next 2-series is the convertible.

No it’s not. It’s the 2-series Active Tourer. Huh? You might remember the Active Tourer concept. It’s BMW’s first front-drive car, and a close competitor for the Mercedes-Benz B-class. So why’s it called 2-series?

(BMW) now says the 2-series Active Tourer deserves to be a 2-series because it’s bigger than the 1-series, and will be more expensive.

But there’s another reason. I suggested to a senior BMW manager that to save confusion with the rear-drive coupes, they ought to call it something like the T1 (in the same way they have i3 and X5 and M4).

Of course BMW did consider naming the car something else – creating an entirely new line of cars basically. But there was an issue.

…(BMW) checked out every single letter of the alphabet. And hit a brick wall. All nameplates with a letter-number combination were, they found, already trademarked by other manufacturers – either car makers or others whose sphere overlaps.

Well, all except one. Y. And they decided (probably wisely) that calling a car the BMW Y1 was just too open to innuendo. So 2-series it is…

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  • lavardera

    Its amazing how rapidly they hosed up their naming practices. Which goes to show you its much easier to damage a brand than manage it well.

    • JRobUSC

      yeah, I know, I mean, it’s really hard to understand that odd numbers are sedans, wagons, and GT’s (i.e. practical cars), and even numbers are coupes, convertibles, and gran coupes (i.e. emotional cars). Making everything actually line up the same? What’s wrong with you, BMW?!?! Damn you, BMW, for actually making your naming system logical! You should have stayed with the old, illogical version I’m used to that actually made less sense, for no reason other than that’s what I was used to!

      Hmmm, wait, now that I think about it, if I was able to get used to the previous system that actually didn’t make sense, maybe I CAN get used to the new one that does? Maybe, just maybe, my brain can decipher the code of odds and evens. I mean, it is super complicated, after all, but I’m going to give it a shot.

      /rant.

      • BimmerFile_Michael

        The issue is this thing is not an emotional car; not a coupe, convertible or Gran Coupe… it is a people hauler that is more like a GT so it should be a 1!

        • JRobUSC

          true, but people have been complaining about the name change since well before this car. Look at all the writeups of the new M235i online, or even better, of the 4-Series and M4. The first paragraph or two is always dedicated to the “silly new naming system BMW is using”. Audi has been using a similar number system for generations (though their evens and odds are opposite of BMW’s) and no one complains. In fact, I’m pretty sure all their numbers are intentionally one (or two, in the case of SUVs) digits higher than BMW’s — A4 vs 3-Series, A6 vs. 5-Series, A8 vs 7-Series, Q3 vs. X1, Q5 vs. X3, Q7 vs X5, etc. Hell, Mercedes, who has the most nonsensical naming system of all the Germans, had the gall to make a coupe out of the C-class, and call it an E-class. Did people complain? No. I suppose it’s a testament to just how much their BMW’s mean to them that they care enough to whine about it, but people just need to get over the change, it makes more sense the new way (2-Series Active Tourer notwithstanding).

  • BimmerFile_Michael

    I heard the reason it is not the 1 Series is because the want it to compete with the B class from MB and if they named it a 1er potential customers would think it was down market at the same price point.

  • Herr26

    It does not make sense at the current time but it will eventually, once the Rest of the BMW models are revealed.