Starting next year, the third-largest premium automaker in the world has chosen to modify its naming nomenclature for some of its model series and drive systems.

This is not hot news in any way – as we already reported on that – and it’s also something uncommon in the industry – recent examples include the Infiniti and Cadillac brands. And the German carmaker is not going to bewilder us by turning the S Class into something else – it’s actually trying to make it easier to identify “family” ties. But as far as model name changes go, especially since they affect a large portion of the lineup, some explanations are in order. So, we have the assisting pictures, one for the models and one for the drive systems and we’ll also walk you through the modifications.

First of all, the core model series would remain unchanged – ranging from A to S – because they are well known and they form the basis for the other models: CLA stands for the 4-door coupe that belongs to the A Class, the GLA is the crossover related to the A Class. Big modifications are for the SUV line-up, where the previous GLK becomes the GLC (tied to the C-Class), the former M-Class (also written as the ML) would be referred to as the GLE (tied to the E-Class) and the GL becomes the GLS – tied, yes, you guessed right, to the S-Class. There’s a new apparition as well, the GLE Coupe, a model designed to fight the BMW X6. The small retractable hardtop SLK cabrio will be renamed to the SLC moniker.

The drive systems will use a very short combination – “c” stands for compressed natural gas (as opposed to an E 200 Natural Gas Drive – it would be called the E 200 c from now on); “d” for diesel; e for electrics, including the plug-in hybrid models; “f” for fuel cell and “h” for traditional hybrids.

The final piece of the puzzle is the fact that – as many rumors and reports pointed out – the Maybach nameplate has not been axed – only the independent brand was dropped. The Maybach moniker will adorn as a sub-brand the more luxurious versions of the already premium Mercedes models – the first one being a Maybach variant of the S-Class, to be shown in just a few days during the Los Angeles Auto Show.


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