Automotive naming schemes can get a little bit weird as they age. Just look at the impending BMW lineup with a rear-wheel drive 2 Series and front-wheel drive 2 Series Active Tourer on sale together – of course, to say nothing of the fact that the 2 Series is actually the successor to the 1 Series coupe/convertible in the States. Crazy. However, Mercedes-Benz might be taking steps in the opposite direction to actually make its SUV and crossover lineup easier for customers to understand.

The first potential shift is dropping the M-Class name from the range because it just no longer fits within a naming structure that has SUVs and CUVs all starting with G. According to Car and Driver speaking with unnamed Mercedes insiders, when the crossover gets refreshed with updated styling in 2015, it's also getting a new name: GLE-Class. Then, when the Concept Coupe SUV goes into production, it would be called the GLE Coupe.

The rumored changes to the M-Class might be only the beginning, though. Once the GLE falls in place, the future version of the GLK-Class would possibly become the GLC-Class. Just those two revisions would give the Mercedes' mainstream SUV and CUV range a similar hierarchy as its sedans with the GLA-Class, GLC-Class, GLE-Class and GL-Class all having roughly corresponding models, plus the G-Class out on its own as its incomparable self. If it all actually happens, the re-naming should make the lineup easier to understand. Autoblog reached out to Mercedes spokesperson Christian Bokich to confirm all of this, but all he would say is, "I'm afraid that it's too early to tell at this point."


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  • 30 Comments
      Carpinions
      • 8 Months Ago

      I cannot stand M-B's new naming scheme. What is a "GLE-class"? They're slowly working toward spelling out actual words, so why not just be done with it and give the cars names? Saying you owned a Mercedes "(x)-class" used to mean something, but now that M-B will make a car and invent a market segment for literally anything they can think of, their naming system is now a joke. It's not as long as BMW's, but it's probably about as confusing, and most of the names just sound dumb. "Hi! My name is Phil and I drive a Mercedes CLA-class!" It's as if you're waiting for the rest of the sentence.

        jonnybimmer
        • 8 Months Ago
        @Carpinions

        MB's new naming scheme: 

        Class - A, B, C, E, S

        Stylized models (Four door coupes/shooting brakes) - add "CL" before Class

        CUV/SUV - add "GL" before Class

        Exceptions - G Wagon, GL (likely renamed to GLS), SLK (likely renamed to SLC), SL (maybe future SLS with an SLE model in between?), SLS, and AMG GT. 


        Not the most straightforward nomenclature in the world (that'd go to Audi) and yes, the numbers that follow these model names (350, 430, 55, 63, etc.) are less and less associated with any factual figure about the car, but at least you can break it down. And as I mentioned in my other comment, it's better than BMW with their whole "Even numbers are for two door models except for these four door models..." & "sdrive28i m sport" nonsense. 

          Jonathan
          • 8 Months Ago
          @jonnybimmer

          The "K" will probably stay. K stands for Kurtz (sp?) which means short in German. Basically, a SLK is a short SL. GLK is a short GL, makes sense to me.

          Sanchez
          • 8 Months Ago
          @jonnybimmer

          GLK is another outlier.

      jKanef03
      • 8 Months Ago

      Does Mazda still own the rights to GLC?

      jonnybimmer
      • 8 Months Ago

      Big difference between Mercedes and BMW's changing naming scheme is that MB's tactics at least appear to have some thought put into it. BMW is just upping the numbers and adding more needless prefix/sufixes to try and sound like they improved the car whereas MB's change actually makes their naming scheme more efficient (go figure), bringing all of their SUV/CUV vehicles to begin with "G" rather than letting the M-class remain the only one standing out. Also adding the "E" at the end fits given that it's the CUV equivalent of the E class sedan. 

      bleexeo
      • 8 Months Ago

      Why is it so hard to keep different names/numbers for the DIFFERENT vehicles for marketing departments at car makers?

      When they're all practically the same it turns into a freaking nightmare of a jumbled mess. Yes Infiniti we're looking at you.

      TC
      • 8 Months Ago

      The electric version will presumably be called the GLEE class: 'Just an SUV, powered by electriiicity, Driven in the snow and rain, goin' anyyywhere' etc.

      carguy1701
      • 8 Months Ago

      It does make a certain amount of sense...

      ferps
      • 8 Months Ago

      Why do they all need the "L" in the name? Three letters is really long. 

      Chris F.
      • 8 Months Ago

      Here's how Mercedes lineup will most likely end up being laid out.

      First, you have your base models: A, B, C, V, E, and S (in order of level)

      Then you have your extended identifier: CL for Shooting Brakes/FDCs. 

      THEN you have the special cases, SL and GL. They operate as both a class modifier and a class of its own. A vehicle with the G/SL suffix would be considered both a G/SL model and a modified model of the parent class (i.e. the GLC would be both a GL model and a C model).

      For the "K" models, simply replace the "K" with the closest related base model identifier. SLK becomes SLA, GLK becomes GLC. The Vito would simply be a variant of the V, while the Sprinter becomes the GLV with the next redesign. The G would become the GLS, or dropped entirely, which then alternatively the GL could be renamed GLS.

      So you'd have overall:

      A/CLA/GLA/SLA, B, C/GLC, V//GLV, E/GLE, S/CLS/GLS, and then the SL and GL.

      This sounds complicated when explained, but in practice it's actually very easy. All the SUVs start with GL, all the sporty roadsters start with SL, and the first letter indicates what price range you're looking at. GL and SL are the only two that remain unique. 

      ALTERNATIVELY, mercedes could just drop all the prefixes and do A, B, C, E, V, and S, and then just attach -coupe, -SUV, -convertible, -etc.

        carcrazed4life
        • 8 Months Ago
        @Chris F.

        I agree.  Better yet, follow Audi/Infiniti esque naming tendencies.

        S1-S9 should be Sedans.

        SL1-SL9 should be Convertibles.

        CL1-CL9 should be Coupes.

        G1-G9 should be CUVs/SUVs.

        AMG, 4 Matic, Engine Badging, etc can all be added afterwards.  Streamline your product coding, and no more ambiguity.

        BodyBlue
        • 8 Months Ago
        @Chris F.

        In other words, its a typical overwrought German hot mess.

      Sergio Alvarado
      • 8 Months Ago

      "GLE" reminds me of an old Nissan trim level designation from the 90s :-)

      raughle1
      • 8 Months Ago
      *groan*
      mapoftazifosho
      • 8 Months Ago

      This will be a costly mistake...

      MechE
      • 8 Months Ago

      GLE doesn't really sound nice compared to M-class (yeah I know they're all just letters but sometimes different letter combinations sound better).  However, I'm all for a naming convention that works so this is good. 

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