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The Complete Mercedes-Benz Buying Guide: Every Model, Explained

How to tell your GLA, GLB, GLC, GLE, GLS and G-Class apart.

mercedes amg benz sl class 2022 sl63 sl55
Mercedes-Benz

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Mercedes-Benz produces a wide range of cars, from relatively affordable sub-compacts to opulent pleasure sedans for the uber-rich. The company names its vehicles efficiently – no faux-French flair required – with letters and numbers. That naming system, while sensible, can get a bit confusing for buyers.

There are GLA, GLB, GLC, GLE, and GLS SUVs, none of which should be mistaken for the G-Class. That’s before you get to the multiple variations of each with different engine sizes, drivetrains and body styles. Essentially, letters found later in the alphabet denote larger, more expensive vehicles and larger numbers denote more powerful (and more costly) engines. For example, a GLA 250 is a smaller, lower-powered SUV than a GLS 580.

While in the past Mercedes-Benz model ‘numbers’ corresponded to their engine volumes (an E55 featured a 5.5-liter engine), that is no longer the case. Turbocharging and hybrid technology has advanced to the point where big horsepower can be derived from much smaller engines. An example below like the AMG E63 currently features a turbocharged 4.0-liter engine (and may get smaller in the future)

And so it’s obvious: the Mercedes-Benz lineup cries out for a helpful explainer, delineating all the different options and terms and what to expect. See below for a simplified guide.

Mercedes-Benz Sub-Brands

  • EQ: Mercedes uses EQ branding for its electric vehicles.
  • G: Mercedes has announced plans to break out the G-Class into its own sub-brand with a lineup of "G" vehicles.
  • Mercedes-AMG: This is Mercedes's high-performance division. AMG cars are typically sportier, more aggressively styled and more expensive than the standard models.
  • Mercedes-Maybach: Mercedes revived the Maybach brand as a new luxury sub-brand. These vehicles are positioned at a much higher price point than typical Mercedes models.
  • Mythos: Mercedes announced a new Mythos lineup that will be top-of-the-line, ultra-exclusive collectors' models.

    Mercedes-Benz Terminology

    • 4MATIC: all-wheel-drive
    • 4MATIC+: All-wheel-drive on an AMG car
    • Cabriolet: A four-seat convertible
    • Coupe: A car with a sloping arch-like roofline. For Mercedes, this can be a two-door car, a four-door car or an SUV
    • EQ Boost: Mild-hybrid system added to some turbocharged engines. An "electric auxiliary compressor" generates electric power as the turbocharger spools up to provide smooth acceleration.
    • Roadster: A two-seat convertible

      Mercedes-Benz Buying Guide

      Mercedes-Benz Sedans, Coupes, Convertibles and Station Wagons

      A-Class

      mercedes benz explained gear patrol a class
      Mercedes-Benz

      The A-Class is Mercedes's entry-level subcompact car. The fourth-generation debuted for the 2018 model year. Other markets get a hatchback, but Mercedes only sells the A-Class as a sedan in the United States. It is offered in both FWD and 4Matic AWD versions with a 2.0-liter four-cylinder producing 188 hp and 221 lb-ft of torque.

      Body Style:

      • Sedan

        Models:

        • A 220
        • A 220 4MATIC

              Engines:

              • 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-four

                    Base MSRP: $33,950

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                    C-Class

                    2023 mercedes benz c class c300 4matic in blue
                    Will Sabel Courtney

                    The C-Class is Mercedes's compact car. It's available as a four-door sedan, a two-door coupe or a two-door convertible. The W206 generation is all-new for the 2022 model year. The C 43 is phasing out the V6 engine for 2.0-liter power in 2023. So is the monstrous 671 horsepower C 63 S E Performance hybrid coming for the 2024 model year.

                    Body Styles:

                    • Sedan
                    • Coupe
                    • Cabriolet

                      Models:

                      • C 300
                      • C 300 4MATIC
                      • AMG C 43
                      • AMG C 63 S E Performance

                        Engines:

                        • 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-four
                        • 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-four hybrid
                        • 3.0-liter turbocharged V6

                                  Base MSRP: $43,550

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                                  CLA-Class

                                  mercedes benz cla45
                                  Mercedes-Benz

                                  The second-generation CLA is Mercedes’s four-door, entry-level compact "coupe." Mercedes describes it as having “show car shape with seductive details.” The second generation debuted for 2019 and, with the A-class entering the lineup, moved a bit up market. All three versions use the base 2.0-liter twin-turbocharged inline-four. Two AMGs are on tap now: a CLA 35 making 302 hp and a CLA45 making 382 hp. All AMG CLAs are all-wheel-drive, but the 45 can be equipped with "drift mode" that turns off the front axle's power.

                                  Body Style:

                                  • Four-door coupe

                                    Models:

                                    • CLA 250
                                    • CLA 250 4MATIC
                                    • AMG CLA 35 4MATIC
                                    • AMG CLA 45 4MATIC

                                          Engines:

                                          • 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-four

                                                Base MSRP: $39,350

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                                                CLS-Class

                                                mercedes benz explained gear patrol cls class
                                                Mercedes-Benz

                                                The CLS is a sleek, sporty-looking four-door coupe. Mercedes describes it as having “lean, toned muscle.” The current third-gen model launched in 2018. The CLS employs 3.0-liter turbocharged inline-six engine delivering 362 hp and 369 lb-ft of torque and comes with all-wheel drive.

                                                Body Style:

                                                • Four-door coupe

                                                  Models:

                                                  • CLS 450 4MATIC

                                                    Engines:

                                                    • 3.0-liter turbocharged inline-six w/EQ Boost

                                                      Base MSRP: $72,950

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                                                      E-Class

                                                      2021 mercedes amg e 63 s
                                                      Mercedes-Benz

                                                      The E-Class is Mercedes's midsize vehicle, a step up in both size and price from the C-Class. In America, the E-Class is sold as a sedan, wagon, coupe or convertible, and you can fit it with a four, six or eight-cylinder engine. E-Class vehicles tend toward comfort and sophistication, with a design aesthetic Mercedes describes as “sensual purity.”

                                                      Mercedes replaced the non-AMG E-Class wagon with the Audi A6 Allroad-like E-Class All-Terrain for the 2021 model year. Mercedes has brought some V8 models back, but the AMG E 63 sedan and wagon versions are not listed on the company website.

                                                      Body Styles:

                                                      • Cabriolet
                                                      • Coupe
                                                      • Sedan
                                                      • Wagon

                                                        Models:

                                                        • E 350 (Sedan)
                                                        • E 350 4MATIC (Sedan)
                                                        • E 450 (Cabriolet, Coupe)
                                                        • E 450 4MATIC (Cabriolet, Coupe, Sedan)
                                                        • E 450 4MATIC All-Terrain (Wagon)
                                                        • AMG E 53 4MATIC (Cabriolet, Coupe, Sedan)

                                                          Engines:

                                                          • 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-four
                                                          • 3.0-liter turbocharged inline-six w/EQ Boost

                                                            Base MSRP: $54,950

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                                                            EQE

                                                            mercedes amg eqe sedan rendered with a blank background
                                                            Mercedes-Benz

                                                            The Mercedes EQE is a midsize luxury sedan, the electric counterpart to the Mercedes-Benz E-Class. The EQE is new for the 2023 model year. It's available in both RWD and AWD, with the former version offering up to 305 miles of EPA range on a single charge. The top-tier Mercedes AMG EQE can get up to 677 horsepower and 738 lb-ft of torque with the AMG Dynamic Plus package and accelerate from 0-60 mph in just 3.2 seconds.

                                                            Body Style:

                                                            • Sedan

                                                              Models:

                                                              • EQE 350+
                                                              • EQE 350 4MATIC
                                                              • EQE 500 4MATIC
                                                              • AMG EQE

                                                                Engines:

                                                                • Single-motor RWD
                                                                • Dual-motor AWD

                                                                  Base MSRP: $74,900

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                                                                  EQS

                                                                  mercedes eq benz eqs 2022
                                                                  Mercedes-Benz

                                                                  The EQS is Mercedes's all-electric full-size sedan that debuted for the 2021 model year and runs on a dedicated EV platform. It comes in three versions: a 329 hp RWD EQS 450+, a 516 hp AWD EQS 580 4MATIC and an AMG EQS version with 658 continuous horsepower and up to 761 with launch control. The base model can deliver up to 350 miles of range per the EPA and has the lowest drag coefficient of any production car on sale today.

                                                                  Body Style:

                                                                  • Sedan

                                                                    Models:

                                                                    • EQS 450+
                                                                    • EQS 580 4MATIC
                                                                    • AMG EQS

                                                                      Engines:

                                                                      • Single-motor RWD
                                                                      • Dual-motor AWD

                                                                        Base MSRP: $102,310

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                                                                        S-Class

                                                                        mercedes benz s klasse, 2020, outdoor, fahraufnahme, exterieur hightechsilber  mercedes benz s class, 2020, outdoor, driving shot, exterior hightech silver
                                                                        Mercedes-Benz

                                                                        The S-Class is Mercedes's flagship full-size sedan. It's all-new for the 2021 model year and, as usual, it's a technological tour de force. Coupe and cabriolet versions depart the lineup after 2021. Expect AMG versions and plug-in hybrids in the near future. For now, there are three options, each with 4MATIC AWD. There's a six-cylinder S 500 with 429 hp, an eight-cylinder with 496 hp, and a luxurious Mercedes-Maybach version of that eight-cylinder that starts at $184,100.

                                                                        Body Style:

                                                                        • Sedan

                                                                          Models:

                                                                          • S 500 4MATIC
                                                                          • S 580 4MATIC
                                                                          • Mercedes-Maybach S580 4MATIC

                                                                            Engines:

                                                                            • 3.0-liter turbocharged inline-six w/EQ Boost
                                                                            • 4.0-liter turbocharged V8 w/EQ Boost

                                                                              Base MSRP: $111,100

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                                                                              AMG GT

                                                                              mercedes benz explained gear patrol amg gt class
                                                                              Mercedes-Benz

                                                                              The AMG GT cars are Mercedes's high-performance sports cars. The AMG GT comes as either a two-door or a four-door vehicle. The two-door model can be a coupe or a roadster. Four-door V8 versions are no longer available on the Mercedes website. A new generation is due to arrive in 2023.

                                                                              Body Styles:

                                                                              • Four-door coupe
                                                                              • Coupe
                                                                              • Roadster

                                                                                4-Door Models:

                                                                                • AMG GT 43 4MATIC
                                                                                • AMG GT 53 4MATIC

                                                                                  2-Door Models:

                                                                                  • GT (Coupe, Roadster)
                                                                                  • GT C (Coupe, Roadster)
                                                                                  • GT Black Series (Coupe)

                                                                                        Engines:

                                                                                        • 3.0-liter turbocharged inline-six w/EQ Boost
                                                                                        • 4.0-liter turbocharged V8

                                                                                          Base MSRP: $92,500

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                                                                                          SL Roadster

                                                                                          mercedes benz amg sl class 2022 sl63 red
                                                                                          Will Sabel Courtney

                                                                                          Mercedes brought the SL Roadster back for the 2022 model year. Unlike the outgoing vehicle, it's a more hard-edged sports car built to take on the likes of the Porsche 911. It's AMG developed. It's only currently offered with an AMG V8. And for the first time in the model line's history, it's only offered with AWD. The upcoming AMG GT will likely be a hard roof version of the SL.

                                                                                          Body Style:

                                                                                          • Roadster

                                                                                            Models:

                                                                                            • AMG SL 55 Roadster
                                                                                            • AMG SL 63 Roadster

                                                                                              Engines:

                                                                                              • 4.0-liter turbocharged V8

                                                                                                Base MSRP: $137,400

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                                                                                                Mercedes-Benz SUVs and Crossovers:

                                                                                                GLA-Class

                                                                                                mercedes benz gla class
                                                                                                Mercedes-Benz

                                                                                                The GLA-class is Mercedes's smallest and most affordable subcompact luxury SUV. The second generation debuted for the 2021 model year. Mercedes offers the base GLA 250 in front-wheel drive. All other models come in all-wheel drive. It's sleeker than the boxy GLB with a sloping roofline. Buyers can opt for a pair of AMG models, topping out at the AMG GLA 45 which has 382 horsepower and starts at $54,500.

                                                                                                Body Style:

                                                                                                • SUV

                                                                                                  Models:

                                                                                                  • GLA 250
                                                                                                  • GLA 250 4MATIC
                                                                                                  • AMG GLA 35
                                                                                                  • AMG GLA 45

                                                                                                    Engines:

                                                                                                    • 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-four

                                                                                                          Base MSRP: $37,500

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                                                                                                          GLB-Class

                                                                                                          mercedes amg glb 35
                                                                                                          Mercedes-Benz

                                                                                                          The GLB is Mercedes' boxy compact crossover that slots between the GLA and GLC. It debuted as an all-new model for 2020. It has more of a traditional SUV shape and its spacious cabin provides room for 7 with a tiny third row of seats. The base model has FWD and AWD versions with 221 hp. An AMG GLB 35 model upgrades to 301 hp and starts at $49,950.

                                                                                                          Body Style

                                                                                                          • SUV

                                                                                                            Models:

                                                                                                            • GLB 250
                                                                                                            • GLB 250 4MATIC
                                                                                                            • AMG GLB 35

                                                                                                              Engines:

                                                                                                              • 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-four

                                                                                                                Base MSRP: $38,600

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                                                                                                                EQB SUV

                                                                                                                mercedes benz eqb in white
                                                                                                                Mercedes-Benz AG

                                                                                                                The Mercedes EQB is a compact luxury electric crossover. It's related to the GLB combustion SUV. It comes in two versions, both with 288 hp AWD. The EQB 350 4MATIC receives more power, 288 hp to 225 hp, and more torque, 384 lb-ft to 288 lb-ft. It accelerates from 0-60 mph in 6.0 seconds rather than 7.0 seconds. The EQB 300 4MATIC, however, offers more EPA range, 243 miles to 227 miles. Like the GLB, the EQB offers a third row with up to 7 seats.

                                                                                                                Body Style:

                                                                                                                • SUV

                                                                                                                  Models:

                                                                                                                  • EQB 300 4MATIC
                                                                                                                  • EQB 350 4MATIC

                                                                                                                    Engines:

                                                                                                                    • Dual-Motor AWD

                                                                                                                      Base MSRP: $54,500

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                                                                                                                      GLC-Class

                                                                                                                      mercedes benz explained gear patrol glc class
                                                                                                                      Mercedes-Benz

                                                                                                                      The GLC is Mercedes’s compact mid-level SUV, equivalent to the C-Class on the sedan side. “Wind-tunnel honed and track toned,” it has been Mercedes's best-selling vehicle in the United States the past few years. The GLC is available in four and six-cylinder versions. In most trims, buyers can choose the traditional SUV or sportier “coupe” shaped version.

                                                                                                                      Mercedes canceled the GLC 350e 4MATIC plug-in hybrid. And the V8-powered AMG GLC 63 model is no longer listed on the Mercedes website.

                                                                                                                      Body Styles:

                                                                                                                      • SUV
                                                                                                                      • SUV Coupe

                                                                                                                        SUV:

                                                                                                                        • GLC 300 (SUV only)
                                                                                                                        • GLC 300 4MATIC
                                                                                                                        • AMG GLC 43

                                                                                                                          Engines:

                                                                                                                          • 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-four
                                                                                                                          • 3.0-liter turbocharged V6

                                                                                                                                    Base MSRP: $43,850

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                                                                                                                                    GLE-Class

                                                                                                                                    mercedes amg gle 63
                                                                                                                                    Mercedes-Benz

                                                                                                                                    The GLE is Mercedes's mid-size luxury SUV, the SUV equivalent of the E-Class. It's the direct descendant of Mercedes's first luxury SUV in America, the M-Class. The current fourth generation debuted for 2019. Mercedes offers you a lot of options. You can get a GLE with inline-four, inline-six and V8 engines. It can be fitted with either five or seven seats. There's a base GLE 350 offered in RWD. You can also get a swoopy SUV Coupe roofline on the AMG models.

                                                                                                                                    Body Styles:

                                                                                                                                    • SUV
                                                                                                                                    • SUV Coupe

                                                                                                                                      Models:

                                                                                                                                      • GLE 350
                                                                                                                                      • GLE 350 4MATIC
                                                                                                                                      • GLE 450 4MATIC
                                                                                                                                      • GLE 580 4MATIC
                                                                                                                                      • AMG GLE 53 4MATIC+ (SUV/Coupe)
                                                                                                                                      • AMG GLE 63 S 4MATIC+ (SUV/Coupe)

                                                                                                                                        Engines:

                                                                                                                                        • 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-four
                                                                                                                                        • 3.0-liter turbocharged inline-six w/EQ Boost
                                                                                                                                        • 4.0-liter turbocharged hybrid V8 w/EQ Boost

                                                                                                                                                Base MSRP: $56,150

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                                                                                                                                                GLS-Class

                                                                                                                                                mercedes benz
                                                                                                                                                Mercedes-Benz

                                                                                                                                                The GLS is Mercedes's full-size, three-row luxury SUV. It's the SUV equivalent of the S-Class sedan, though it enters at a lower price point than the G-CLass. Mercedes pledges the GLS will “take you to a place where leadership is omnipresent,” whatever that's supposed to mean. (If everyone's a leader, how does that even work?) A top-of-the-line Mercedes-Maybach version entered the lineup for 2021. All versions come with 4MATIC all-wheel drive.

                                                                                                                                                Body Style:

                                                                                                                                                • SUV

                                                                                                                                                  Models:

                                                                                                                                                  • GLS 450
                                                                                                                                                  • GLS 580
                                                                                                                                                  • AMG GLS 63
                                                                                                                                                  • Mercedes-Maybach GLS 600

                                                                                                                                                    Engines:

                                                                                                                                                    • 3.0-liter turbocharged inline-six w/EQ Boost
                                                                                                                                                    • 4.0-liter turbocharged hybrid V8 w/EQ Boost

                                                                                                                                                          Base MSRP: $77,800

                                                                                                                                                          READ THE REVIEWLEARN MORESHOP PRE-OWNED

                                                                                                                                                          EQS SUV

                                                                                                                                                          mercedes benz eqs suv
                                                                                                                                                          Mercedes-Benz

                                                                                                                                                          The Mercedes EQS SUV is a full-size luxury electric SUV, the electric counterpart to the GLS crossover. It's new for the 2023 model year. Like the EQS and EQE sedans, it runs on Mercedes's dedicated EV architecture. The EQS SUV is available in both RWD and AWD. It offers seating for up to seven passengers and up to 536 hp and 633 lb-ft of torque in the EQS SUV 580 4MATIC version. Top EPA range is 305 miles in RWD spec.

                                                                                                                                                          Body Style:

                                                                                                                                                          • SUV

                                                                                                                                                            Models:

                                                                                                                                                            • EQS SUV 450+
                                                                                                                                                            • EQS SUV 450 4MATIC
                                                                                                                                                            • EQS SUV 580 4MATIC

                                                                                                                                                              Engines:

                                                                                                                                                              • Single-Motor RWD
                                                                                                                                                              • Dual-Motor AWD

                                                                                                                                                                Base MSRP: $104,400

                                                                                                                                                                LEARN MORE

                                                                                                                                                                G-Class

                                                                                                                                                                mercedes g class
                                                                                                                                                                Mercedes-Benz

                                                                                                                                                                The G-Wagen is Mercedes's boxy, off-road-capable body-on-frame midsize SUV. The current second generation debuted for 2018. There are two versions, the 416 hp G 550 and the 577 hp AMG G 63. The latter may be the most capable all-around vehicle on the market. It's great at everything except consuming fuel efficiently. Mercedes is planning to branch the G-Class into its own "G" sub-brand and will produce an EQG electric version.

                                                                                                                                                                Body Style: SUV

                                                                                                                                                                Models:
                                                                                                                                                                • G 550
                                                                                                                                                                • AMG G 63

                                                                                                                                                                Engines:
                                                                                                                                                                • 4.0-liter turbocharged V8

                                                                                                                                                                Base MSRP: $139,900

                                                                                                                                                                READ OUR REVIEWLEARN MORESHOP PRE-OWNED

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