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Audi ditches confusing numbered variant names – quattro and S to differentiate power outputs

The eagle-eyed amongst you may have noticed that the new Audi Q6 e-tron did away with numbered variant names like 50 quattro and 55 quattro – its two trim levels are simply called the Q6 e-tron quattro and SQ6 e-tron quattro. That is by design, as Audi is finally ditching the confusing nomenclature it has persisted with since 2017.

According to Auto Express, Ingolstadt’s head of EV sales and product marketing Florian Hauser said the brand is focusing on making it easier for consumers to make their choice. “When we talk about simplicity we don’t just talk about the options and the configuration process, we are really thinking of getting the leanest engine programme for the Q6 which still refers to our customer demands.”

This means that moving forwards, Audi will be offering fewer powertrain options to negate the need for numbers. Instead, you get a choice in the number of driven wheels (quattro or non-quattro) and one or two power outputs (Q or S). For instance, the regular all-wheel-drive Q6 e-tron bears just the “quattro” badge.

Audi ditches confusing numbered variant names – quattro and S to differentiate power outputs

The Q6 e-tron is the first to completely eliminate the old variant names

“And if it’s a performance model with quattro, then it’s ‘SQ6.’” said 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.”

Audi had already moved towards ditching the numbered naming scheme with the Q8 e-tron, which did not bear the differentiating badge on the tailgate. However, the variant names were retained on marketing materials and configurators – until now, that is. The company is also understood to be removing the badges on its internal combustion cars as well, although whether or not this naming scheme will appear elsewhere is still being discussed.

The numbered variant names were originally meant to move the company away from naming its variants based on engine displacement, and were vaguely based on power outputs. This mirrored the naming scheme used by BMW and Mercedes-Benz, which long since distanced themselves from their displacement-based origins (the BMW 320i, 330i and 330e, for example, are all powered by 2.0 litre engines).

Audi ditches confusing numbered variant names – quattro and S to differentiate power outputs

Us Malaysians never got the numbered variants for petrol-powered cars

For instance, variants with 30 in their name made between 81 and 96 kW (109 and 129 hp); these rose in increments of five until the number 70, which was reserved for cars that made more than 400 kW (536 hp).

As you can imagine, this completely arbitrary way of delineating variants weren’t very helpful for buyers making a decision on which model to buy. Audi had already ditched the system in certain markets like Malaysia – we retained the previous displacement-based naming scheme (like 2.0 TFSI), only using the numbers for EVs like the Q8 e-tron.

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