The New York Times (Automobiles Section)|
Not long ago it was easy to keep track of the Mercedes-Benz cars on sale in the United States. The small ones began with C, the middle ones had an E and the big ones an S. If it was an SL, it was a roadster, and the CL was the big luxury coupe.
But as Mercedes has expanded its line to fill every electrified nook, coupelike cranny, hybrid niche and crossover cubbyhole, the names have become rather confusing. So the company recently announced a new naming convention for its vehicles.
Start with the core lineup of coupes, sedans, wagons and hatchbacks. Each size of car is represented by a single capitalized letter. Here are the designations:
A = Smallest
B = A little bigger
C = Compact
E = Midsize
S = Biggest
Sleeker “four-door coupes” get a capitalized three-letter prefix starting with CL:
CLA = Small squashed-roof 4-door
CLS = Large squashed-roof 4-door
The roadsters still start with SL, but the smaller SLK becomes the SLC to more or less correspond with its size class:
SL = Large roadster
SLC = Smaller roadster formerly called the SLK
All of the S.U.V.s and crossovers will start with the letter G. Here are their designations:
G = The boxy, distinctive Gelandewagen stands with just its one letter
GLS = The large S.U.V. that used to be the GL
GLE = The new name for the midsize ML
GLC = The new name for the compact GLK (and also once the name of a small Mazda)
GLA = The recently introduced small crossover.
All of the letter designations are followed by a three-digit number corresponding, loosely, to the engine displacement or power output. And after the capital letters and numbers will be a lower-case letter representing various drive systems. So a B200c is a B-Class with a 2-liter engine powered by compressed natural gas.
c = Compressed natural gas
d = Diesel
e = Pure electric or plug-in hybrid
f = Fuel cell
h = Hybrid
4Matic = All-wheel drive
Beyond all this will be two subbrands, Mercedes-AMG and Mercedes-Maybach.