Johannesburg - In the old days it was fairly simple to tell where a vehicle ranked in the performance hierarchy. 

There was almost always a badge on the boot lid telling you the cubic capacity of the engine, and back then when almost everything was normally aspirated, similar-sized engines usually produced comparable power, notwithstanding a few exceptions here and there.

In today’s turbocharged world things are quite confused and all over the place, particularly since one engine will usually have a range of different software-dictated power outputs. And then there are the German carmakers that have badges implying a certain engine size, like the '30i' or ‘300’ badges given to cars with a 2-litre engine that’s in a high state of tune.

Now Audi is adding to the confusion with its own numerical hierarchy that will apply to all its engine derivatives across the globe.

This will consist of a whole series of two-numeral combinations that somehow equate to certain power output categories.

For example, if an engine produces between 81kW and 96kW, the bootlid badge will state ‘30’ followed by TFSI, TDI, g-tron or e-tron depending on what fuels it. Audi hasn’t provided the full list of numbers and what outputs they relate to, but the statement did mention ‘45’ for engines that produce between 169kW and 185kW, while the 250kW A8 TFSI will wear a ‘55’ badge. 

However, S and RS models, along with the R8, are excluded from this naming system, in order to distinguish them as the top dogs.

The usual model names, such as A1, A3, A4 etc, and all the Q cousins, will remain unchanged as this naming strategy applies only to engine badges.

Perhaps there is a need for something like this, given that engine sizes no longer tell you much, but unless all the car companies agreed to use the same naming system, we’re probably going to end up with more confusion than anything else.

IOL Motoring