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S-Class-based ‘Mercedes-Maybach’ confirmed, SUV lineup nomenclature shifted

If the current jumble of letters and numbers that Mercedes-Benz uses to name its cars confuses you, you’re not alone. The German carmaker is introducing a revamped naming scheme, and bringing one name back from the dead.

That name is Maybach, which Mercedes finally confirmed will once again be attached to a super sedan that surpasses the S-Class. Unlike the last attempt, though, this model will be a version of the S-Class itself.

Officially badged Mercedes-Maybach S-Class, the long-rumored sedan will appear at the 2014 Los Angeles Auto Show next week, and will also be shown in Guangzhou, China. Together, these represent what will probably be the largest markets for Maybach.

Mercedes describes Maybach as a sub-brand based on this special version of the S-Class that will feature “extra spaciousness, special seats, and lavishly designed… interiors offering extensive scope for personalization.”

Expect the new Maybach to offer a much longer wheelbase than any current S-Class model, V12 power exclusively, and luxury amenities to rival the best from Rolls-Royce and Bentley.

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While the Mercedes-Maybach will likely steal the show in L.A., Mercedes is also rolling out new nomenclature that the carmaker hopes will make its sprawling lineup more comprehensible.

The biggest change is that all utility vehicles other than the G-Class will get a “GL” prefix, with the following letter linking them to a Mercedes sedan or coupe.

So the SUV formerly known as the GL will now be the GLS, because Mercedes considers it the SUV equivalent of the S-Class.

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The GLA will retain its name, while the GLK will become the GLC, and the M-Class will become the GLE. The upcoming “coupe’ version of the M-Class… err, GLE will be the GLE Coupe.

Pretty much everything else in the lineup will keep its current name, except for the SLK roadster, which will henceforth be known as the SLC.

In addition, Mercedes is consolidating its powertrain names, with different alternative powertrains now signified by a single letter.

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This should save some space on trunk lids, as Mercedes ditches “Electric Drive” and “Plug-In Hybrid” badging for a simple “e” for electrified cars, as well as a “d” for diesels, “f” for hydrogen fuel cells, “h” for hybrids, and “c” for compressed natural gas.

So, in theory, the next ML250 BlueTEC diesel will be the GLE250d. Maybe it would be easier if car companies went back to using actual names.