Crib Sheet – Mercedes’ Crossover/SUV Name Change, Confusing for Buyers?

2013 GL63 AMG
photo courtesy Mercedes-Benz

Here we go again.  Now, Mercedes-Benz is the brand that’s making plans to change the names of its crossover and SUV lineup.  This is not a new practice, as manufacturers change their minds on a nameplate time and time again.  Ford’s Taurus changed to Five Hundred in 2005, then back to Taurus again in 2008.  Lincoln’s revived for 2006 Zephyr kept its name the entire year, until it was changed to MKZ in 2007.

These were not that much of an issue, as we only had to remember the name change of a sole vehicle at a time, and in the Zephyr’s case, we knew what the “Z” in MKZ represented.  In 2014, however, Nissan’s premium brand, Infiniti, decided that they were going to change the names of all their crossovers and SUVs to match their existing cars.  This would not have been an issue, had the new nomenclature related to something; no make that anything that dealt with each of the vehicles, themselves.  Confusingly, they do not and 8 months later, consumers (and automotive journalists, alike) are still referring to many of the vehicles by their previous names, for lack of better recollection.

To paint a clearer picture, all of the sedans are called “Q-something,” possibly in homage to the wonderful Q45 that retained the brand’s halo status from 1989 until it was discontinued in 2006.  All crossovers and SUVS are called “QX-something.”  We assume the “X” represents crossover, and has been used for all of the brand’s previous sport utilities.  Anyway, none of this would be that much of an issue if the “-something” that followed each Q or X was somehow related to the vehicle.  Frustratingly, it does not.  There’s no engine size reference, nor a readily recognizable class or size reference.  The namesake appears to be random, and thus hard to remember.  The compact EX35 is now called the QX50.  The 7-passenger JX35 is now the QX60.  The midsize FX35/45/50 became the QX70.  And most puzzling of all, the large QX56 is now the QX80!

The sedans aren’t much better, as the M35 is now the Q70, the G37 coupe/convertible is now known as the Q60

2015 Mercedes-Benz GLA45 AMG
2015 M-B GLA45 AMG

coupe/convertible, and the G37 sedan has been revamped into the Q50.  Yet, the previous- (or is it still current?) gen G37 is still

being sold new on the lot next to the Q50.  Confused yet?

But this news update isn’t about Ford or Lincoln or Infiniti.  It’s about Mercedes-Benz and its upcoming new vehicle names.  Beginning as early as 2015, all Benz SUVs and crossovers will be referred to by different names.  Wisely, however, the luxury brand aims to lessen the strain on our simple minds by including some similarity of class structure between its cars and trucks.

The small crossover GLK will, from 2015 forward, be known as the GLC (for C-Class, get it?).  The M-class changes to GLE (E-Class) and the large GL becomes the GLS (by now you should get the point or you’re worse than us).  The all-new smaller than compact GLA was appropriately named from the beginning, and we’re pretty sure the cult-classic G-Class (G-Wagon, for the cool kids) won’t be changing its name, because heck, it hasn’t changed its body in 35 years, though officially there has been no word from M-B about it.

Happy Shopping!  And as always, contact www.autoacademics.net for more info or to schedule a test drive near you.

2013 G63 AMG
photo courtesy Mercedes Benz
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