Do you remember when a car’s name was a simple affair, more often than not revealing the capacity of its engine?
But that’s no longer the case. Things have been getting out of hand for a while now – and German manufacturers are amongst the worst culprits. BMW (whose 323i had a 2.5-litre engine for many years) has now given us the 325i and 330i, both of which have a 3.0-litre six-cylinder engine, and the 335i that has a 3.0-litre twin-turbo unit. And that isn’t the half of it. On the diesel side of things, the company’s 318d and 320d engines are both 2.0-litre powerplants, while the 325d, 330d and 335d are all 3.0-litre motors – as are the 525d, 530d and 535d. Following a similar trend, the 116d, 118d, 120d and even the 123d are all 1995cc four-cylinder motors. And incredibly the new 740d flagship has a 2993cc engine.
BMW may have been the first, but Mercedes-Benz has rapidly followed with the C 200 and C 220 CDI engines – both have a 2.2-litre capacity, and the most recent C 320 CDI and C 350 CDI cars are actually 3.0-litres. However, the latest Mercedes- Benz E-Class has taken things to a whole new level. Take the petrols first. The E 200 CGI actually has a 1796cc turbo, as does the E 250 CGI, while the E 500 is in reality a 5461cc V8. However, logic briefly returns with the E 350 CGI (a 3498cc V6) and the E 63 AMG (a 6208cc V8). But not for long, because the E 200 CDI BlueEfficiency is a 2143cc turbo, as are the E 220 CDI BlueEfficiency and E 250 CDI BlueEfficiency. While the E 350 CDI BlueEfficiency is – anybody hazard a guess?
A 2987cc turbo. Nice to see some consistency there, then. And the list continues with the A 160 CDI, A 180 CDI, B 180 CDI and B 200 CDI all of which are powered by 1992cc four-cylinder engines, and the ML 450 CDI which is in truth a 4.0-litre motor. Of course, this concept was probably developed by over-paid brand consultants, who simply don’t care whether a car’s badge bears any relation whatsoever to its engine size.
And in a few years time these, the same spin gurus will have re-directed BMW, Mercedes and the like to revert to simple plain-English badging once again – calling it something daft like ‘Concept Clear Label.’ In the mean time, though, wise buyers should simply ignore the boot badging altogether, and focus instead on seeking out models that boast greater fuel economy, have a more generous spec, are faster, better looking, more practical or attract lower road tax. And to hell with the name on the boot.