How does the generations with bmw cars work? Like for example “E30” or “F80”, i’ve noticed the closer to the beginning of the alphabet the older the model is but can someone explain it thoroughly to me.

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How does the generations with bmw cars work? Like for example “E30” or “F80”, i’ve noticed the closer to the beginning of the alphabet the older the model is but can someone explain it thoroughly to me.

In: 9

It’s not really related to the launch date of the model. Also, are you sure you aren’t mistaking with Mercedes?

BMWs use the letter “X” for their utilitarian line, with the numbers basically denoting size (the X5 is a much bigger model than the X1, for example).

The no-letter ones are the typical sedans, with the very first digit denoting the model’s shape (a 7xx is more spacious than a 3xx), where bigger usually also means more luxurious features (the 8xx is usually expensive af, for example). The following digits is usually related to the engine block (a 330 has a less powerful engine than a 340).

The “M”s are just beefier versions of the sedan series (more powerful engines and upgraded brakes, suspensions, etc to match). A M3 is the beefier version of the 3xx, M5 the 5xx, etc.

The “Z”s are the sporty ones. Iirc, all of them are two-seaters and convertible.

And then there are the “i”, which are especially designed around electrical engines.

Mercedes has a similar scheme, but a lot more letters, sometimes multiple letters (like the SLS).

Those are the chassis numbers.
E stands for entwicklung, development in German.
F was used when all short E codes were used up. Same for G and F.

https://www.carmagazine.co.uk/car-news/industry-news/bmw/all-the-bmw-e-and-f-codenames-explained/ has some listed up to 2018

The product codes you are describing (a letter and two digit combination) are the way BMW use to describe the different chassis they produce.

Each code corresponds to one particular generation of a chassis – so an E46 vehicle is one built using the 3 series chassis between 1999 and 2005, which all shared the same chassis.

The previous generation of 3 series used a different chassis, so it was given a different product code (E36 to be exact), and when they decided to revise the chassis again in 2005 the new versions were given a new set of codes to denote the difference.

Obviously a base model 1999 3 series was a very different car from a 2004 M3, but the basic chassis underneath remained consistent, with different options (engines, interior, driveline, body kit, etc) to create the different models.

From the standpoint of an enthusiast, knowing the chassis codes just means you can specify an era of each BMW model, rather than having to be year specific.

To add to u/Herald85 comment the current nomenclature is a bit more complicated, but also does make more sense now.

Pure electric models (with the exception of the i8), or in general vehicles grouped into the “LI” Group of BMW get a I in front. Therefore i3 = I01 / i8 = I12 / iX = I20

Cars in the LK and LG group have a G in front 3 series = G20, 5 series = G30, 7 series = G70. Cars in the LU group (front wheel drive) have an U in front. 2 series active tourer = U06, X1 = U11.

While for the small cars you have your similar cars grouped together, like G20 is 3 series sedan, G21 3 series station wagon, G23 Coupé, G26 Gran Coupé. For the SUVs, because there is less variation, those are near each other. Like X3 = G01, X4 = G02, X5 = G05.

The important part is, to not try to make any sense out of it. It is a defined nomenclature, there are logic things behind it, but the rest is just define as it is. There are newer cars with lower numbers than older cars etc. It just is like it is.

Source: I work for some random Munich car manufacturer.