The Up-badging Paradox

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The Up-badging Paradox

Is 'up-badging' a car an acceptable practice or is it a no-no?


Let's face it, every petrolhead loves a performance car, especially one that has the looks to back up its bark. Apart from its unique body kit, performance engine, and performance hardware add-ons, its performance badges are what makes it different and distinctive.

Mercedes-Benz nomenclature

The problem with these performance badges and hardware add-ons is that it's relatively cheap to manufacture and easy to get hold off, which is why you see a myriad of regular cars with these performance cars looks/ badges. 

Fake Golf R

Something's just not quite right about this Golf R

We like to call this an attempt to 'up-badge' one's car, but is it cool to do this? There's really no right or wrong here we feel, it is your car, you do what you want lah! 

2021 Stock MyviPersonally, though I'd rather drive a car that has the looks to reflect its performance. A standard Myvi in good condition in my eyes is always a bit more sophisticated than a modified ricer. Nobody will bother you and when the time comes to have a spirited drive, nobody will think you're a lan****. In fact, you'd probably get more street cred when driving a stock looking Myvi nicely around the bends.

Myvi Ricer

Whatever happened to keeping it low key? Whatever happened to anonymity? Whatever happened to my car is fast, but it'll pass a roadblock?

One of the most beautiful parts of a car being a sleeper is that look of incredulity from people when you whoop them on the road. That disbelief that something that looks so regular can be as fast as a bullet train. Not many things deliver shock and awe better than a well-executed sleeper.

Sleepr car Audi

On the flip side of a well-executed sleeper, are the folks that do not seem to care much about the car's performance, as long as it looks fast and has all the glamour bits from the performance models. There's very little care that the performance doesn't match the look of the car. An M-sport model from a lower spec BMW is a perfect example of this. It looks aggressive, has all the right attributes for comfort, but handles like a cruiser more than a racer. Perhaps though that's all the 'performance' one needs?

Who do we blame for this? 

M performance

Manufacturers are addressing a demand they see in the market, where certain performance lines are just body kits and fancy stitching on the inside. Let's admit it, looks sell. 

The regular Joe might just like the look of the performance body kit, interior stitchwork, performance badges. Is it a little daft? Sure you could argue that sticking an //M badge on an E36 318i is daft but if it makes you, the owner happy, then it's your car innit? But if people laugh at you then you'll have to accept that too lah.  

In that same vein, is the BMW M340i an M car or not? 

What about 43 badged Mercedes-Benzs', are they thoroughbred AMG cars? 

Sound off in the comments, we really want to hear your thoughts!



Adam Aubrey

Adam Aubrey

Content Producer

Wants to live the simple life, especially when it comes to cars and bikes. That's what tech is for he reckons, to make motoring simpler


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