Mercedes Classes Explained

Written by christopher jackson
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Mercedes Classes Explained
Mercedes-Benz has long used codes to designate its car series. (Front-light of black mercedes image by Mladenov from

Mercedes-Benz has used a number-letter code to identify its products almost since its inception. Unlike some nameplates, Mercedes' numbers have a specific code, making them easier to decipher.

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Deciphering the Numbers

In the 2010 model year, there were 13 designated "classes" of Mercedes vehicles for sale in the U.S. An added, two- or three-digit numeral designates individual models, loosely denoting the engine displacement of each particular model. For instance, the GL 350 is a GL-Class with a 3.5-litre engine.

C-Class, E-Class, S-Class: The Four-Doors

The C, E and S-Class ranges are Mercedes' sedan lines. The C-Class is a compact sedan, the E-Class a full-size car and the S-Class is the luxury flagship model. The E-Class offers coupe, convertible and estate car models.

CLS-Class, R-Class: The Hybrids

The CLS-Class is Mercedes' "coupe-sedan," a four-door slightly larger than the E-Class but set apart by graceful, sports car-like styling. The six-passenger R-Class is a blend of sedan, minivan and SUV traits.

G-Class, GL-Class, GLK-Class, M-Class: The SUVs

"G" and "M" designate the sport-utility vehicles. The G-Class is the classic, boxy off-roader, originally designed for military use and sold in limited numbers as a go-anywhere luxury sport-ute. The GLK-Class, M-Class and GL-Class are compact, mid- and full-size SUVs, respectively.

CL-Class, SL-Class, SLK-Class, SLS-Class: The Two-Doors and Roadsters

The CL-Class and SLS-Class are two-door hardtops: the former is a high-luxury companion to the four-door S-Class, the latter, Mercedes' gullwing-door-equipped, high-performance exotic. The SL-Class and SLK-Class are two-seat retractable hardtops.

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