When it comes to German luxury vehicles, it's always the same old story: BMW and Mercedes-Benz duking it out for first place, with Audi gaining ground while locking down third. So why should it be any different when it comes to naming conventions? BMW has clearly taken the lead for which car brand can have the most confusing and illogical alphanumeric badging, and thus, Mercedes is readying a new naming regimen of its own.

According to a report in Automobile, Benz will be completely overhauling the familiar "-Class" designations to make them more logical. To Germans. Who are engineers. How will this shake out? We've read the article three times and can't make much sense of it, but Automobile indicates that we should expect SUV's and crossovers to continue using the G prefix, while coupes and convertibles will use the C prefix, and the SL prefix will be reserved for sports cars. After that, well, we give up.

Supposedly a third letter of the name will designate the model range, meaning that the front-drive, four-door coupe based on the A- and B-Class architecture won't be called CLC, but will instead go by CLA. And the forthcoming GLC crossover will be unveiled as the GLA. The GLK will probably get renamed GLC, according to the magazine, and now we've entered the rabbit hole, because as Automobile writes:

But what of the rumored A-Class based coupe and cabriolet models? CLA comes to mind, but this name is already spoken for. Would it make more sense if the CLC-turned-CLA is renamed once again to become the CLB, since its MFA platform is also shared with the B-Class? If so, Benz has to move quickly, as the concept car that previews the CLC/CLA/CLB is supposed to make its official debut in a few weeks at the 2012 Beijing motor show.

Then there's the problem with the CLS-Class. It won't be receiving a new name, according to the report, which means the forthcoming two-door version of the S-Class can't be called CLS. And the G-Class won't get any of the extra letters, retaining its single-letter name.

So there you have it. If Automobile is correct, Mercedes' new naming scheme will take something that was confusing and illogical and make sure it's still confusing and illogical, but unfamiliar as well.


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  • 74 Comments
      Jake
      • 2 Years Ago
      Even my Whirlpool washing machine has a name. Cabrio, and oddly enough can be had with an "ecoboost" option. I assume that means a turbo-charger on the agitator and direct soap injection.
        Synthono
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Jake
        Yeah, same deal, mine's an Evolution. I assume it's a rally laundry machine.
      Jake
      • 2 Years Ago
      Maybe they could also start mistating their engine displacement on badges to imply that they have 0.1L more than there is in reality. Oh wait....
        TrueDat
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Jake
        ya, what is that all about? their 5.5L is actually 5.4, and their 6.3L is actually 6.2... never understood the the outright falsehood..
      Alex Rodriguez MacFa
      • 2 Years Ago
      Naming your car according to class and engine displacement used to work in the past when BMW and MB didn't have as many models as they have today. Now is confusing. Even me that I'm a car guy, I have trouble remembering all of its models. Sometimes they don't even respect their nomenclature such as the E90 BMW 328 and 335 both with are 3.0 L of displacement. Audi has the best naming. Straightforward, simple and clean. MB made the right move in re-naming its CLK to E-Class Coupe. They should do the same with all of its coupes. In the SUV department.....GLK, ML, G and GL???? C'mon guys you can do better than that. BMW and Audi nailed it with X and Q naming. Can you imagine if Lincoln had as many models as MB???? MKC? MKS? MKZ? MKY? MKW? MKL? MKM? MKK?
        TrueDat
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Alex Rodriguez MacFa
        "Can you imagine if Lincoln had as many models as MB???? MKC? MKS? MKZ? MKY? MKW? MKL? MKM? MKK?" even that still makes more sense than what Benz has going on, lol..
      MyerShift
      • 2 Years Ago
      Change for the sake of change is never good.
      Avinash Machado
      • 2 Years Ago
      Still quite ridiculous.
      lorenzo
      • 2 Years Ago
      I cant stand their system C - $$ E - $$$ S - $$$$ CL - $$$$$ CLS - $$$.5 - you go up, up, up - then notch down in $ GLK - $$ M - $$$ GL - $$$$ G - $$$$$ R - $$$ - you go up, up, up - then notch down in $
      protovici
      • 2 Years Ago
      Yeah, still not as easy as 1, 3, 5, 6, 7 series.
      visconti24
      • 2 Years Ago
      I knew it would come to this mess when Mercedes abandoned the labeling of its cars after displacement and body size. My grandmother used to have a 220-S and then that was replaced by a 250-S and 300-S. But then THAT 300-S received a new V-8 motor and the name lost its meaning because there was a 4.5 liter V8 under the hood as the new body designed for that motor took another year to be ready. I have a C-190 2.3. Should have been called 230 C. After that I can't keep track of it.
        Spellchecker
        • 2 Years Ago
        @visconti24
        Are you talking about the W108/W109 S-Class? Because the US models were called 300SE(SEL) 4.5 because they were offered with a large displacement V8. In Europe we only got the smaller 3.5-l V8 and the rare 6.3 V8.
      The Porsche Guys
      • 2 Years Ago
      I wish Mercedes-Benz would go back to their old naming convention. My first car was a 1973 Mercedes-Benz 280C. The 280 stood for a 2.8L engine and the C was for Coupe (although some letter where for German words, such as E which stood for the German word for fuel injected).
      deeeznuuuts83
      • 2 Years Ago
      At first, I thought they were talking about the numbers... i.e. the 63 (which was used due to its history but still confusingly attached to the 6.2-liter V-8-powered AMG models) still being used on the downsized AMG 5.5-liter twin-turbo V-8s, or the 550 models actually having 4.7-liter twin-turbo V-8s, if I'm not mistaken (even though the European models still carried the 500 designation, even when they had 5.5-liter V-8s). But I suppose BMW is more guilty of this than Mercedes with their 28, 35, 40, 50, etc. designations. But yes, the letters (and the changing of letters) have confused everyone for quite some time. I realize that originally, the letters did stand for stuff in German that described the car (like the "K" being "Kompact" or something like that), but it's just a mess, especially with things changing around, like the S-Class Coupe becoming the CL-Class 10-15 years ago, or the deletion of the CLK-Class (which when launched looked like an E-Class but was based on the C-Class) and the return of the coupe variants of the C- and E-Classes in its absence.
        chw
        • 2 Years Ago
        @deeeznuuuts83
        MB used K to denote Turbo, K=Kompressor. That made sense until the GLK was introduced.
          Evan McMiller
          • 2 Years Ago
          @chw
          No. It never did. Kompressor meant Kompressor. K stands for Kurz, which means short in German. It has been more liberalized to mean little in context of their model range. Therefore, the SLK is the little SL, the CLK was the little CL, and the GLK is the little GL.
      Wisea**
      • 2 Years Ago
      If they want to create further model confusion...looks like they will succeed.
      Osama
      • 2 Years Ago
      Is the title supposed to read "Mercedes prepared to overhaul TO a confusion naming structure"?? LOL
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