Mercedes-Benz is making changes to the naming of several models and confirmed the return of the Maybach name.
The German car maker has tweaked its current naming system to place greater emphasis and identity on its five core lines: the A-, B-, C-, E- and S-Class models. This results in the renaming of four key models and the creation of other new model designations.
The GLK, a small SUV, will be called the GLC to reflect its close ties with the C-Class, while the larger ML has been renamed GLE. The production version of the Mercedes-Benz Concept Coupe SUV will be called the GLE Coupe.
Further up the range, the GL becomes the GLS, denoting its connections with the S-Class.
The renaming of the GLK, ML and GL will take effect in 2015 with the launch of new or face-lifted models. The G-Class name remains unaffected by Mercedes-Benz’s plans.
In 2016 the SLK will be renamed SLC, when a fourth-generation model goes on sale. However, Mercedes-Benz will retain the iconic SL name for its larger and more expensive two-seater roadster, rather than adopting the SLS name.
Mercedes-Benz has also confirmed the CLA Shooting Brake, which is planned to make a cameo appearance at the Detroit motor show in January prior to a UK on-sale date in the second quarter of 2015.
Together with the new model names, Mercedes-Benz is also introducing new engine type names, to get rid of overly complex names such as BlueEfficiency and Bluetec Hybrid.
In future, Mercedes-Benz models will use lower-case letters to indicate the type of engine used. It will use c for compressed natural gas, d for diesel, e for electric, f for fuel cell and h for hybrid. Petrol will not get an identifying letter, though.
Mercedes-Benz has resurrected the super-luxury Maybach name on a plush S-Class.
The new V12-powered, extra-long-wheelbase version of the S-Class is called the Mercedes-Maybach S600 and is planned to compete in a segment of the market occupied by the Bentley Flying Spur and Rolls-Royce Ghost.
The Mercedes-Maybach S600 will be differentiated from other S-Class models by a series of subtle exterior styling details, including a more stately style of grille and lengthened rear doors.
Inside, the new model has a freshly designed interior with individual, electronically adjustable rear seats similar to those used by the earlier Maybach 57 and 62.
Power for the Mercedes-Maybach S600 hails from a revised version of the company’s twin-turbocharged 6.0-litre V12, produced at AMG. The car will be produced on the same production line as the regular S-class in Sindelfingen, Germany. This will be the only variant destined for the UK and sales start next spring.
Maybach is a sub-brand that will sit within the Mercedes-Benz fold in much the same way as the Mercedes-AMG performance division does.
Mercedes sales and marketing chief Ola Kaellenius, who was boss of AMG between 2010 and 2013, said: 'Mercedes-AMG is the blueprint for the extension of our brand. More than 40,000 AMG cars will be sold during 2014 and it is a great ‘co-pilot’ for Mercedes-Benz.
'With Mercedes-Maybach, we are applying the same logic as Mercedes-AMG, but in the area of prestige and exclusivity. It is not an equipment line; it is a sub-brand that, in future, will deliver Mercedes-Benz vehicles in an even more exclusive form.'
Kaellenius confirmed that the S600 won’t be the sub-brand’s only offering. 'Our deliberations in the area of Mercedes-Maybach are not focused solely on the S-Class,' he said, but he wouldn’t be drawn on other future models.
However, the crucial factor is retaining exclusivity, so the new sub-brand will be involved with cars at only the premium end of Mercedes’ vast model range.
Official prices will be revealed on 18 December, but it is expected that the car will command a premium of about £10,000-£15,000 over the standard Mercedes S600 L, putting the price at about £154,000.
The range-topping saloon forms the basis of a larger S600 Pullman model that has an even longer wheelbase and seating for up to six. The S600 Pullman will be unveiled next year.