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:
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.
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.
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.