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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I don't have a clue, no technical data correspond to these numbers (50 and 40, an eDrive35 [edit] was also planned)

Do you have any idea?

Is it the number of weeks before delivery ?
 

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in the past, many many years ago these numbers referenced to the engine capacity. Now with downsizing, hybrids en electrical cars they have changed the reference to performance.
 

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It’s a way for the marketing team to convey the emotion of driving the car. This number has the same inflation as Venezuela, so I hope @Mycroft can devise a formula and graph to go from today to the 325i of the 90s. My former boss had an X5 40, and I was like ooh, must be a V8 in there. Nope, 2.0l and a couple of flashlight batteries. What a massive letdown of a car.
 

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There is a formula that comes to mind:

(100 x 616/666) / sqrt(seconds, 0 to 100 km/h)

and rounded to the nearest 5 gives the model number.

Based on this the model 35 should make 0 to 100 in 7 seconds.
 

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I think it’s about power.

30 = 201-250 HP
35 = 251-300 HP
40 = 301-350 HP
45 = 351-400 HP
50 = 401-500 HP (without boost)
I am convinced it is about power; it used to be that the digits after the series reflected the displacement of the engine (that was accurate for all naturally aspirated engine BMW), but when BMW started doing turbocharged engine, they decided to align the new turbocharged models to the naturally aspirated model variant closest in performance. So since now BMW no longer sells any naturally aspirated ICE car, the numbers only represent a "performance class" like they now sell TVs with a "size class" like 40 inches, 50 inches etc... even when the diagonal of the visible screen no longer matches the "class". The equivalency suggested by @Marvellous is very interesting, and aligns with the performance/power concept.
 

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Audi did a similar change from engine size to a number related to power. But they do not match with BMW numbers:

  • 30 for models with between 81 and 96kW (107 and 127bhp)
  • 35 for models with between 110 and 120kW (145 and 159bhp)
  • 40 for models with between 125 and 150kW (165 and 198bhp)
  • 45 for models with between 169 and 185kW (223 and 244bhp)
  • 50 for models with between 210 and 230kW (278 and 304bhp)
  • 60 for models with between 320 and 340kW (423 and 449bhp)
  • 70 for models with more than 400kW (529bhp)
All above is audi numbers !
 

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As it is intended to convey how the car feels like when accelerating, the number is actually closer correlated with torque rather than power. Power only really shows up in top speed conditions. It used to be basically the same for naturally aspirated engines, but with all the turbines, chargers and boosting the torque nowadays can be much higher.
 

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+1 on power intervals. Also remember reading by Audi’s nomenclature change some years ago (from 2.0 tdi to 35 tdi).

My wife had a ‘11 116d with 116hp with a 2L engine and on ‘12 the 116d with the same 116hp was a 1.6L engine.

But between models sometimes doesn’t addup - eg my ‘11 640d has 313hp which is the exact same 3L engine as the ‘11 535d with 313hp. Then the ‘11 740d also has 313hp.
 
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