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Goodbye 40 TDI: Audi drops the numbered engine names that confused us all

Audi is set to remove the powertrain naming strategy from the back of its cars

Audi 40 TDI badge

Audi is set to ditch its current powertrain naming strategy, which will see an end to a system which uses numbers that are vaguely associated with power outputs. 

First introduced in 2017, the number strategy will be dispensed with altogether starting with the all new Q6 e-tron SUV. The phase-in process for the number removal started quietly with the launch of the Q8 e-tron, but while the brand’s flagship electric SUV doesn't display numbers on its boot lid, the designations are still noted in pricing and press materials. 

Florian Hauser, Audi’s Head of Sales & Product Marketing for Battery Electric Vehicles, explained to Auto Express that a big focus for the brand going forward is to make things easy for its customers. “When we talk about simplicity we don’t just talk about the options and the configuration process [in contrast to older Audi models, the Q6 has just a handful of option packs to choose from], we are really thinking of getting the leanest engine programme for the Q6 which still refers to our customer demands.” 

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With fewer powertrains to choose from, Audi will be able to simplify the naming structure of its range based on the number of driven wheels and a choice of one or two power outputs, with a regular four-wheel drive version of the Q6 simply known as ‘quattro’ going forward. 

“And if it’s a performance model with quattro, then it’s ‘SQ6.’” says Hauser. “If you think about what’s coming next, when we talk about rear-wheel drive it’s just a Q6. For smaller and bigger batteries we could think about a suffix behind the ‘6’ - for example ‘Performance.’ And so we don’t need the numbers anymore, so we won’t show them.” 

While it’s confirmed that subsequent EVs going forward will ditch the numbering strategy, the system is also set to be removed from the bootlids of its internal combustion cars too – though it’s still in discussion internally as to whether it will also disappear from the configuration pages.

Audi’s numbering structure was designed to separate powertrains according to their power outputs, but the inconsistent groupings – and the seemingly arbitrary choices of the numbers themselves – made the system confusing for many people. For example, the ‘30’ powertrain represented cars producing between 109bhp and 128bhp, but ‘45’ ran from 226bhp to 248bhp.

Are you pleased Audi's is dropping its confusing naming strategy? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section...

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Chief reviewer

Alex joined Auto Express as staff writer in early 2018, helping out with news, drives, features, and the occasional sports report. His current role of Chief reviewer sees him head up our road test team, which gives readers the full lowdown on our comparison tests.

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