Audi’s ‘T’ Designations: Long a designation for turbocharging, Audi’s “T” graced cars such as the four-cylinder A4 (1.8T, 2.0T), A5 (2.0T), and Q5 (2.0T). Today, it’s affixed to the mighty twin-turbo V-8s in the S6, A8, and S8. But somewhere in between, Audi ascribed T to the supercharged V-6 in the S4, A6, and A8. In trunk or fender badging, where it’s either 3.0T or V6T, the T stands for “supercharged.” And that makes about as much sense as New Coke.
Blue Everything: Focus groups must love blue. Everyone uses it. BlueEfficiency (Mercedes-Benz) and Blue Drive (Hyundai) are fuel-efficiency initiatives; Bluetec (Mercedes again) and BluePerformance (BMW) refer to diesel. And the industry widely uses AdBlue, a solution of urea fluid that treats emissions in most of those diesel cars. (We’re pretty sure the focus groups didn’t like “urea.”) Heck, even for the efficiency programs that don’t say blue, the color shows up. Nissan’s mileage-minded Pure Drive badging is blue; so is Mazda’s SkyActiv badging on certain Mazda3s, with matching blue across the engine cover. It goes beyond drivetrains: Bluetooth has been around since 1998, and in 2011 Hyundai introduced Blue Link, a telematics system to rival GM’s OnStar. You get the idea. It’s time to diversify, industry. You’re making us blue.
Sports Activity Vehicle: BMW’s insistence on calling its SUVs by a separate term—sports activity vehicles or SAV—is like a company that refers to itself as a “solutions provider” instead of whatever the heck it actually does. BMW introduced the term more than a decade ago with the 2000 X5 SUV SAV, defending the acronym on grounds that the X5 delivered BMW dynamics with four-wheel-drive—and besides, its car-based platform prioritized on-road drivability, so you could leave the off-roading to legitimate, truck-based SUVs. The industry eventually came up with its own word for that: “crossovers,” or the insipid CUV (crossover utility vehicle), a term that exactly zero consumers use. Car-based or truck-based, people in the real world call them SUVs. BMW should, too.
WHIPS and SIPS: It’s no question Volvo has spurred the auto industry toward better safety technology. In 1999, the Swedish automaker’s Whiplash Protection System elevated rear-impact protection; in 1991 its Side Impact Protection System pioneered better side-impact crashworthiness, eventually spawning the first seat-mounted side airbags in 1994 and side-curtain airbags in 1998. But the systems’ names, WHIPS and SIPS, are guffaw-worthy, especially since the hip-hop community popularized the term “whips” as, well, a hot car. We think it would take a lot of aftermarket blingification to turn an S80 into something T-Pain would sing auto-tune praises about.
© 2013 Cars.com