Mercedes car naming system

The Mercedes car naming system isn’t straight forward at all. Some models like the E350 CDI BlueE sound more like washing machines than cars thanks to a naming system that maybe tells us too much about the car. Other names are just confusing and don’t fit into the model lettering system. For example, why is the Mercedes CLS so named when it’s actually supposed to be a four-door coupe version of the S-Class? That name makes you think it must be part of the C-Class range.


As with rivals BMW, Mercedes has a system that defines their model range. The A-Class is the smallest car, the V-Class is their biggest. That much makes sense as the higher up the alphabet you go, the larger the cars become. Strangely though Mercedes don’t use each letter in the alphabet. There’s an A-Class, a B-Class and C-Class but no D-Class. The next class is the executive saloon E-Class. After that G-Class is used for the off-road vehicles and S-Class is used for the top of the range limo-sized Merc saloons. The V-Class is a people carrier.

Naming structure

So the Mercedes naming structure’s not all that clear then. Until 1994, Mercedes had a pretty clear structure. A Merc with “C” in the name meant it was a Coupe. One with “D” in the title meant it was a Diesel. Nowadays the meaning of the letters isn’t as straight forward. But we’ve been able to decipher the following.

Some current models carry the following insignia:

  • "4MATIC" indicates all-wheel-drive.
  • "BlueTEC" indicates a diesel engine with selective catalytic reduction exhaust after treatment.
  • “BlueEFFICIENCY" indicates special fuel economy features (direct injection, start-stop system etc)
  • "CGI" indicates direct gasoline injection.
  • "CDI" indicates a common-rail diesel engine.
  • "Hybrid" indicates a petrol or diesel-electric hybrid.
  • "NGT" indicates a natural gas-fuelled engine.
  • "Kompressor" indicates a supercharged engine.
  • "Turbo" indicates a turbocharged engine.


The AMG range ignores all the convention. This is Mercedes’ top brand as AMG is high performance division of Mercedes-Benz. There are AMG options for everything from the A-Class, which pushes the top speed to 155 mph and offers 360BHP, to the S-Class variant that comes in at a whooping £121,000. The Mercedes SLR AMG GT is the performance brand’s top car. This insurance group 50 car can get to 193 mph.

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