Common Abbreviations on Cars & Their Meanings

Rear View of Mercedes Benz and CDI abbreviation
Rear View of Mercedes Benz and CDI abbreviation

As car manufacturers continue producing new models to fit the demand and the ever-changing market preferences, new technologies are always being introduced in the motor industry.

Most - if not all - vehicles have some abbreviations embedded on the side or on the trunk but majority of vehicle owners do not know what they mean or represent.

The manufacturers introduce new diction into the market that helps motorists differentiate one car's performance from another. The abbreviations come with different meanings that are essential in informing a driver of the functionalities of their automobiles.

Here are the common abbreviations on cars and their meanings;


File photo of Volkswagen Golf GTi
File photo of Volkswagen Golf GTi

GTi means Grand Touring Injection. 

GTi technology was introduced in the 1976 Volkswagen Golf GTi. It was meant to power long-distance journeys without sacrificing performance by using a new direct fuel injection system.

The manufacturer explained that the technology would help the driver during an exhilarating drive for miles.


Turbocharged Direct Injection is the design of turbodiesel engines featuring turbocharging and cylinder-direct fuel injection that was developed and produced by the Volkswagen Group.

Cars with TDI badges emit very low levels of harmful exhaust gases. 

Volkswagen Group vehicles first introduced the term, and diesel cars from other VW Group brands like Audi, SEAT, and Skoda continue to use the technology today.


Turbocharged Fuel Stratified Injection - a type of forced-aspiration turbo engine where the fuel is pressure-injected straight into the combustion chamber in such a way as to create a stratified charge.

The TFSI became the first world turbocharged injection engine. Its system is characterised by producing a higher power output and optimum engine response, all while providing greater fuel efficiency and reduced emissions. 


Fuel Stratified Injection or FSI is a proprietary direct fuel injection system developed and used by Volkswagen AG, as well as its luxury subsidiary Audi.


Common-Rail Direct Fuel Injection is a direct fuel-injection system for petrol and diesel engines.

Alfa Romeo 156 2.4 JTD became the first passenger car maker to boast the CDI system and, in the very same year, Mercedes-Benz joined the stream with its W202 model.


Turbocharged Straight Injection was inspired by the technology of Volkswagen’s TDI Clean Diesel and FSI direct fuel-injection engines.

TSI engines are compact, high-powered and use less fuel. They allow higher torque at lower RPMs, which means more power with less fuel usage.

ZX and TX

In ZX and TZG, the letter 'Z' stands for Zenith which means the performance of the engine. It is the highest point a machine can operate.

The letter 'T' generally stands for Touring as the vehicles will always take you miles away with extreme comfort and luxury. Such cars go for long trips without developing engine issues. They also have additional extra-powered features like sun shades and seat bolsters that provide cool rides.

Apart from those abbreviations outside the vehicle, there are some letters that are encrypted inside the car which also have different meanings.


This refers to Anti-lock Braking System. This is a safety aid that prevents the wheels from locking up and skidding under hard braking.


This abbreviation is common in most cars. It stands for Air Conditioning. It is a button-like groove that can be automatic or manual which helps moderate and control the circulation of air in the car.


This stands for Adaptive Cruise Control. It is essential as it keeps the car automatically at a predetermined distance from the car in front. Also stands for Accessory – the first position of your ignition key which powers up non-essentials like the radio. Also, automatic climate control.



This means that power is fed to all four wheels of the car. This can be permanent which means power is always fed to all four wheels or switchable which means power is fed to two wheels unless it detects slip.


Brake Horsepower. The standard measure of the power an engine puts out. Generally speaking, it affects top speed and acceleration.

New car models come with new abbreviations which have different meanings and which require motorists to understand.

File photo of Prado VXL model
File photo of Prado VXL model