When you hear "SV" what comes to mind? On the way home, I heard a radio commercial for a lease special on a new Mazda3 SV. Half my brain knows that the Mazda SV is the base "special value" edition but the other half of my brain hears "SV" and thinks something way on the other side of the spectrum, namely the Lambo you see above not the hub-capped clad car you see below.

Let's face it, the alphabet soup of model trims is quite confusing. On the one had a moniker like "S" implies MOAR POWER and other go-fast goodies, like on this 911

But "S" could also mean the cheapest, most basic, stripped out car you can buy, for instance this sad Sentra S.

You would think the ze Germans would be consistent with such matters, but you would be wrong. Not long ago German alphanumeric naming indicated- model and engine displacement, an E350 was an E-class with an 3.5 liter engine, a BMW 325 was a 3-series with a 2.5 liter engine. Today it's just a bunch of letters and numbers smashed together with little semblance of any meaning. I thought I had BMW's system figured out when the 330's naturally aspirated I6 transitioned into the 335's turbo I6. Foolishly, I thought that BMW had some strange math that said "a turbo = half a liter of displacement." Then the F30 328 came along with the 2.0T and shot that theory to hell. I've just about given up on figuring out how the Mercedes "63" aligns with the current motor.

Well at least they got the "S" part right. While we are on single letters, does "X" have anything do do with all-wheel-drive anymore?




And I dare not even dive into piranha filled pool that is "GT"

As Jalops we are on the front lines of several automotive causes, some of them lost-causes: manual transmissions, diesels, weight reduction, and getting wagons/hot-hatches across the pond. Let's add one more cause to the list- UAL (Universal Automotive Language).


I have come up with some basic rules: First and foremost, if you are going to use an alphanumeric naming system, make those numbers mean something! Second, If a model has an "S" it better be "sportier" than the other trims. Third, if it has an "X" all four wheels should have traction. Fourth, automakers- for all that is sacred in this world we call car culture- if you tack a GT badge to the back of whatever hunk of metal you are trying to push on us please have some relation to "a high-performance luxury automobile designed for long-distance driving" (Wikipedia).

UAL is an evolving language so any other guidelines you could offer would be welcome.