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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 gt black series kraftstoffverbrauch kombiniert 12,8 l100 km, co2 emissionen kombiniert 292 gkm, 2020, exterieur, front, frontdiffusor, kühlergrill, seite, hightechsilber  mercedes amg gt black series combined fuel consumption 12,8 l100 km, combined co2 emissions 292 gkm, 2020, exterieur, front, front diffusor, radiator grille, side, hightechsilver
Mercedes-Benz AG - Global Communications Mercedes-Benz Cars & Vans

Welcome to Brand Breakdown, a series of comprehensive yet easy-to-digest guides to your favorite companies, with insights and information you won’t find on the average About page.

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 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: Mercedes sub-brand for electric cars.
  • 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
  • Mercedes-AMG: Mercedes' performance division. These cars are typically sportier, more aggressively styled and more expensive than standard models
  • Mercedes-Maybach: Mercedes revived the Maybach brand as the Mercedes-Maybach sub-brand. These are high-end luxury cars commanding a far higher price point than typical Mercedes models
  • Roadster: A two-seat convertible

    A Note on Supply Chain Issues

    Mercedes has suspended several models for the 2022 model year due to ongoing supply chain issues. AMG V8 cars like the E 63 S and G 63 were particularly affected. Mercedes has not yet clarified the precise models affected, r when they can be expected to re-enter the lineup. Some vehicles listed below are still in the lineup, but may not be available at the time of reading.

    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
      • AMG A35

            Engines:

            • 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-four

                  Base MSRP: $33,950

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                  C-Class

                  mercedes benz explained gear patrol c class
                  Mercedes-Benz

                  The C-Class is Mercedes's compact car. It’s available as a four-door sedan, a two-door coupe and a two-door soft top convertible. Buyers can fit all three versions with a four, six or eight-cylinder engine (255, 385 and 469–503 horsepower, respectively). Mercedes sells a wagon option in Canada, but not the U.S. The AMG C 63 S is a small but mighty beast: it’ll run 0-60 mph in 3.9 seconds. (Note: Mercedes launched the current W205 generation in 2014. The company just unveiled the all-new W206 generation, which will hit dealers in early 2022.)

                  Body Styles:

                  • Sedan
                  • Coupe
                  • Cabriolet

                    Models:

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

                      Engines:

                      • 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-four
                      • 3.0-liter turbocharged V6
                      • 4.0-liter turbocharged V8

                                Base MSRP: $41,600

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                                CLA-Class

                                mercedes benz cla45
                                Mercedes-Benz

                                The second-generation CLA is Mercedes’s four-door, entry-level "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: $37,850

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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. It is available in RWD and AWD versions. The AMG CLS 53 ups the engine power to 429 hp and 384 lb-ft of torque.

                                              Body Style:

                                              • Four-door coupe

                                                Models:

                                                • CLS 450
                                                • CLS 450 4MATIC
                                                • AMG CLS 53 4MATIC+

                                                  Engines:

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

                                                    Base MSRP: $70,300

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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.

                                                    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)
                                                      • AMG E 63 S 4MATIC (Sedan, Wagon)

                                                        Engines:

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

                                                          Base MSRP: $54,250

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                                                          EQS

                                                          mercedes eq benz eqs 2022
                                                          Mercedes-Benz

                                                          The EQS is Mercedes's all-electric full-size sedan. It's all-new for the 2021 model year and runs on a dedicated EV platform. The EQS comes in two versions a 329 hp RWD EQS 450+ and a 516 hp AWD EQS 580 4MATIC. 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

                                                              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 models. It comes as either a two-door coupe or roadster or a four-door coupe. Two-door versions pack AMG's biturbo 4.0-liter V8. The four-door AMG GT 43 and GT 53 receive an inline-six engine in common the other 53 models. AMG GT 63 and 63 S editions have the 4.0-liter V8.

                                                                      Body Styles:

                                                                      • Four-door coupe
                                                                      • Coupe
                                                                      • Roadster

                                                                        4-Door Models:

                                                                        • AMG GT 43 4MATIC
                                                                        • AMG GT 53 4MATIC
                                                                        • AMG GT 63 4MATIC
                                                                        • AMG GT 63 S 4MATIC

                                                                          2-Door Models:

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

                                                                                Engines:

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

                                                                                  Base MSRP: $89,900

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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 4MATIC
                                                                                    • AMG GLA 45 4MATIC

                                                                                      Engines:

                                                                                      • 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-four

                                                                                            Base MSRP: $36,230

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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 4MATIC

                                                                                                Engines:

                                                                                                • 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-four

                                                                                                  Base MSRP: $38,600

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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, six, and eight-cylinder versions including a plug-in hybrid and both FWD and AWD. In most trims, buyers can choose the traditional SUV or sportier “coupe” shaped version. Mercedes canceled the GLC 350e 4MATIC plug-in hybrid.

                                                                                                  Body Styles:

                                                                                                  • SUV
                                                                                                  • SUV Coupe

                                                                                                    SUV:

                                                                                                    • GLC 300 (SUV only)
                                                                                                    • GLC 300 4MATIC
                                                                                                    • AMG GLC 43 4MATIC
                                                                                                    • AMG GLC 63 4MATIC

                                                                                                      Engines:

                                                                                                      • 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-four
                                                                                                      • 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-four PHEV
                                                                                                      • 3.0-liter turbocharged V6
                                                                                                      • 4.0-liter turbocharged V8

                                                                                                                Base MSRP: $43,200

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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: $54,750

                                                                                                                            READ THE REVIEWLEARN MORESHOP PRE-OWNED

                                                                                                                            GLS-Class

                                                                                                                            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: $76,000

                                                                                                                                      READ THE REVIEWLEARN MORESHOP PRE-OWNED

                                                                                                                                      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: $131,750

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