The 560SEL was a 5.6-litre S-Class with electronic injection and a long wheelbase. The 300TD was a 3.0-litre Touring with a diesel engine. Simple!
These days, Mercedes-Benz has a much more comprehensive line-up, and the names could be construed as having become a bit confusing. Consider the fact that, by 2020, the Stuttgart-based premium brand will have more than 30 models on the market worldwide, among them at least eleven that have no precursor in the current product portfolio (in other words, incremental additions).
On top of this come the different body variants and drive systems. This results in an increasingly complex situation when it comes to naming the various models. So to try and restore a bit more order to the badge categories, we will see revised naming conventions from 2015.
So here goes...
Passenger cars stay the same (as now everything is based upon their levels), meaning A-Class, B-Class, C-Class, E-Class and S-Class, with 'four-door coupes', or merely low-roofed sedans depending on your viewpoints, still retaining the CL prefix (CLA, CLS etc).
Sporting coupes change as well, with the SLK changing to SLC (bringing back an old nameplate) and the SL staying at the top of the tree.
To further reduce confusion, the suffixes we have seen gracing many range variants (BlueTEC, CDI, Hybrid etc) will be replaced by single letters. It will be a simple 'd' for diesel, 'h' for hybrid, and so on.
This means, this year's ML250 BlueTEC will become next year's GLE250d.
The chart Mercedes-Benz have provided to explain all these changes does seem to make sense, and it does feel like a return to form for badge-spotting car-nuts like yours truly... so fingers crossed!