You do have to pity the Germans sometimes. It’s been quite a week for the chaps in charge of naming the complicated Mercedes-Benz range. The three-pointed star revealed last week their new naming structure for their passenger, SUV, and sports models for the future. The aim to give each category a unique personality and easier to follow model names.
The main changes are in the SUV lineup where the ML and GL staple names are gone. They’re now replaced by GLE and GLS to mark the hierachy. The GLE (ML) is the SUV equivalent to the E-Class whereas the GLS (GL) is equivalent to the S-Class. Makes sense. However, GLS to me still sounds like a mid-spec Corolla trim level. Hmm, not sure about that. The GLE will also spawn an X6-rival which will simply be known as the GLE Coupe. The C-Class based GLK will be replaced with the, you guessed it, GLC. The GLA will remain the GLA.
Interestingly, Mercedes has decided to change the now well-known SLK name by bringing back the old SLC name. That makes sense given the original SLK shared many mechanical bits with the W202 C-Class. The legendary SL name has too much history to change, likewise with the G-Class. The core passenger cars (A, B, C, E, and S) remain unchanged. The coupe spin-offs (CLA & CLS) remain the same, which is rather confusing since the CLS is based on the E-Class not the S. Someone in Stuttgart will not be happy.
Still with me? Okay because adding more to the alphabet soup that is the Mercedes range are the various engine choices. Rather than the old BlueEfficiency, CGI, CDI, BlueTec, BlueTech Hybrid badges, those are now replaced with simple letters. All petrol engine cars will have a ‘c’ after the letter and number (eg. A200 c), all diesels will have a ‘d’ (G350 d), all hybrids will have an ‘h’ (E300 h), all fuel cell vehicles will have an ‘f’ (B200 f), plug-in hybrids and EVs will have an ‘e’ (S500 e), and 4MATIC cars still get ‘4MATIC’.
So potentially, if you wanted to buy the 4WD diesel version of Mercedes’ upcoming X6 rival you’d be buying a car called the GLE350 d 4MATIC Coupe. Mmm, that’s definitely up there in awesome sounding car names with the likes of Quattroporte, Berlinetta, Mustang, and Firebird. If that wasn’t enough Mercedes have also added another badge to their ever growing list of names. They’re bringing Maybach, er, back!
Perhaps that wasn’t a great use of an exclamation point as the Maybach wasn’t all that adored, except perhaps by drug dealers, rappers, and Russian gangsters. But while that was a massive thing to take on the heavyweight Rolls-Royce Phantom, the revived Maybach name will be a sort of sub-brand, thing AMG but less performance and more luxury. Mercedes have only given us a sneak peek at the new Maybach and it seems to be a heavily luxurised version of the already luxurious S600.
Funnily enough, the engine is by AMG. A 6.0-litre twin-turbo V12 job with enough power to worry the United Nations. It’ll likely compete with the likes of the Rolls-Royce Ghost and Bentley Mulsanne meaning it won’t be as much as the old Maybach but it’ll still be pricey. Don’t expect to see one as your local corporate taxi anytime soon. Prices are expected to be around 15-20% more than a S600L. Official details will be revealed at the upcoming Guangzhou and Los Angeles Motor Show.