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Mercedes-Benz is changing its model names

More complex model lineup leads to simplification of naming philosophy

Published: November 11, 2014, 10:25 PM
Updated: June 7, 2015, 10:13 AM

2014 Mercedes-Benz E-Class - grille star badge

If you've become as confused as I have with some of the model designations on recent Mercedes-Benz models, take heart. Relief is in sight.

With as many as 30 new or revised models in the company's launch plans over the next several years, Mercedes is taking steps to reduce the confusion.

Specifically, it plans to overhaul the nomenclature used to identify its car and light-truck lines, both to clarify their roles and positions and to accommodate new body variants and drive systems.

The company says by 2020 its lineup will include 11 new models that don't exist today.

The new naming system is said to be simple, clear and transparent. The primary model designation will continue to be an acronym made up of one to three upper-case letters.

At the core of those acronyms, the five basic series levels, A, B, C, E and S, will continue to be used.

Utility vehicles, except for the legendary G itself, will include the suffix GL ahead of the series level designation. Specifically, the new utility vehicle designations will be:

GLA                 = GL A-Class

GLC                 = GL C-Class; previously GLK

GLE                 = GL E-Class; previously M-Class or ML

GLE Coupé     = GL E-Class Coupé

GLS                 = GL S-Class; previously GL

G                      = Unchanged

The system for the Coupé styled for-doors will follows a similar pattern. The first two letters, CL, denote the vehicle type, the third letter the link to the core series level, as in CLA  or CLS.

From 2016 on the Roadsters will all include "SL" in their names to denote their origin, with the third letter linking to the core series level. So the SLK will become the new SLC.

As in the case of the G, the SL retains its standalone designation, in recognition of its iconic status.

The different types of engine, other than gasoline-powered will be indicated by a lower-case letter displayed on the deck lid, as follows:

c = compressed natural gas (formerly Natural Gas Drive)
d = diesel (formerly BlueTEC and CDI)
e = electric (formerly PLUG-IN HYBRID, BlueTEC PLUG-IN HYBRID and Electric Drive)
f  = fuel cell (formerly F-CELL)
h = hybrid (formerly HYBRID and BlueTEC HYBRID)

All-wheel-drive models will continue to use the designation 4MATIC.

In addition, the Mercedes-Benz brand will now include the two sub-brands Mercedes-AMG and Mercedes-Maybach – the latter to be introduced to the public at the 2014 LosAngeles auto show.