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Trademarks: Audi R8 Roadster, R8 Spyder, TTR; BMW M1, sDrive; RR Silver Ghost

by Nick Aziz

Trademarks and patents always come in handy when attempting to determine what a company might have up its sleeve next. A recent check of trademark activity reveals the possible name for Audi's drop-top R8 and high-performance TT, plus BMW's next supercar, a forthcoming Rolls-Royce model, and more.

Audi R8 Roadster or Spyder?

On March 7th, Audi filed for a trademark on the terms "R8 Roadster" and "R8 Spyder." It's no secret a convertible version of the R8 is on the way, but up until now we assumed its name would end in "Convertible" or "Cabriolet." The Roadster nameplate would follow the TT's lead, while the Spyder moniker might bolster the car's exotic image.

In March, it was reported Audi would opt for a targa top, rather than a traditional convertible roof.

TT-RS to be named TTR?

Three days later, on March 10th, Audi filed for a trademark on "TTR." Could this be the name for the car we've been referring to as TT-RS? Possibly. It might also be yet another TT variant, but we think that's less likely.

As noted in April, Porsche recently took issue with Audi's use of the letters 'RS,' so it's possible this is the end result.

BMW M1 revived?

BMW's trademark on the name "M1" was officially registered with the U.S. Patent and Trademark office on June 10th. While it's unclear if BMW's next supercar will be named M1, this certainly adds credibility to rumors about a revival of the nameplate. On the other hand, BMW was granted trademarks on the names "M9" and "M10" in April -- so at this point it's anyone's guess.


BMW filed for a trademark on 'sDrive' on July 9th. The filing describes a number of possible uses related to "motors, transmissions, differentials, axles, brakes and coupling drive shafts, gear change and gear reduction mechanisms in the nature of gearboxes, gear shifts and gear wheels."

Previously, BMW registered trademarks on a number of possible vehicle names, including "sDrive35" and "sDrive18." The names follow the same pattern as BMW's new X6 xDrive50 and xDrive35 models. Since the implied engine displacements range from 1.8 to 3.0 liters, we suspect sDrive has something to do with a smaller Bimmer.

Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost

BMW isn't the only auto brand reviving old trademarks. Rolls-Royce (a BMW AG subsidiary) recently filed for a trademark on the name "Silver Ghost," which was published for opposition on May 20th . Built between 1906 and 1926, the Silver Ghost was a very premium offering, so it's unlikely the badge will be used for the forthcoming "entry-level" RR4. Could the automaker be planning a more premium version of the $340,000+ Phantom? As always, time will tell.