Mercedes-Benz announced earlier this year that they will be changing the naming conventions for many of their most popular models (in particular their line of SUVs). While, at first glance, this decision may seem to introduce unnecessary confusion into the brand’s nomenclature, there is a logical consistency underlying the move.

Why did Mercedes-Benz rename so many vehicles?

As the diagram below illustrates, the brand has taken the naming conventions of their core line of sedans and applied the same structure to their SUVs, coupes, and roadsters (namely the endings S, E, C, and A). SUVs have all assumed the prefix of GL with the final letter representing the corresponding sedan in the line-up. Likewise, both 4-door coupes begin with the letters CL, and the two roadsters both begin with an SL.

The flagship models (the S-Class sedan, GLS-Class SUV, and CLS-class 4-door coupe) are now easily identifiable as part of the same vehicle family by the letter S in each name. It is similarly easy to see the relationship between the mid-level C-Class sedan, GLC-Class SUV, and SLC roadster. Among SUVs, only the iconic G-Class will retain its current branding without following the 3-letter naming convention.

Which Mercedes-Benz models have been renamed?

We’ve listed each of the rebranded models individually to help clarify the changes to the line-up.

2017 Mercedes-Benz GLS-Class—replacing current GL-Class (shown)

The current GL-Class will remain in the line-up in 2016, to be replaced by the GLS-Class for the 2017 model year. A sneak preview of the upcoming GLS can be seen here.

2016 Mercedes-Benz GLE-Class (shown)—replacing current ML-Class

The current ML-Class is being redesigned and rebranded under the new GLE-Class moniker. Designed for both on and off-road, and with the latest in safety and technology, the GLE-Class will include the brand’s first ever plug-in hybrid SUV, a clean diesel model, and high-performance AMG and S versions. The GLE-Class should hit dealerships some time in the fall of 2015.

2016 Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class (shown)—replacing current GLK-Class

The all new GLC-Class replaces the current Mercedes-Benz GLK-Class. Highlights will include state-of-the-art assistance systems, increased ride comfort and agility, and a modern aesthetic. The GLC-Class is expected to arrive in dealerships in November of 2015.

2017 Mercedes-Benz SLC-Class—replacing current SLK-Class (shown)

The SLK-Class will also remain in the Mercedes-Benz stable in 2016. Expect to see the rebranded SLC-Class in the 2017 model year (a preview is available here).

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