Mercedes-Benz classes explained: What different types of Mercedes classes and models are there?

Date Posted 7th June 2022
Read Time 18 min read

Welcome to our comprehensive Mercedes-Benz guide; an in-depth look at the brand, the different Mercedes classes explained, where each vehicle sits in the German manufacturer’s hierarchy, and the pros and cons of the models. 

Whether you already know which car you want, are just starting your search, or even if you just want to swot up on the Merc terminology, we’ll guide you through everything you need to know.

However, in this guide, we’ll explain as well as give you an overview of each model.

Mercedes ‘Class’ overview

Understanding the different Mercedes-Benz classes can be challenging. Unlike BMW or Audi, who use an alpha-numerical system to name their cars which gives them some sort of hierarchical order, Mercedes instead use letters followed by ‘-Class’. 

To the untrained eye these appear to be randomly assigned, but there’s a long historical meaning behind a lot of model names in the Mercedes range: for example, the S-Class – Merc’s most luxurious vehicle and often where you see a lot of the company’s new technology for the first time – stands for Sonderklasse or Special Class.

E-Class – the Three-Pointed Star’s business cruiser – stands for Executive Class, and C-Class is for comfort. 

It’s also the case with Mercedes’ off-road vehicle. The G-Class, Merc’s challenger to the Land Rover Defender, stands for Geländeklasse, which translates to terrain class. 

And even though not all vehicles have historical ties, such as the A-Class or B-Class, they’re still named with purpose. The B-Class being smaller than the C-Class and the A-Class being smaller than the B-Class.

Mercedes-Benz Terminology

4MATIC: Mercedes-Benz’s four-wheel-drive system 

AMG: Mercedes-Benz’s performance division

CL: Lightweight Coupe

Distronic Plus: Automatic cruise control with steering intervention even in slow-moving traffic

EQ Boost: An electric boost of power to increase turbo output usually found in Merc’s hybrid vehicles

G: Off-Roader

GL: Lightweight Off-Roader

GT: Gran Turismo

MBUX: Mercedes-Benz User Experience – Mercedes’ infotainment system that can be controlled by touch or voice

Night View: Using two infrared cameras, your instrument cluster is automatically changed to a far-reaching view of what lies in the darkness ahead above speeds of 37 mph

Pre-Safe: A several-tiered safety feature which, depending on the version, can warn other drivers of your presence or prepare your seat and surroundings for an imminent collision

Roadster: Two-door sports convertible

S: Sport

SL: Lightweight Sports Car

Mercedes-Benz A-Class

The Mercedes-Benz A-Class is one of the biggest sellers in the manufacturers range. 

Striking in design, the A-Class is available in hatchback or saloon form. The exterior is designed through perfect symmetry, with all body lines following a single direction. The interior tells a similar story, with a panoramic screen, smooth transitions between dash and door and ambient lighting creating undoubtedly the most luxurious cabin in its class. 

Through MBUX, the A-Class is also incredibly intelligent; learning about its driver every day, such as the fastest route to work if there’s congestion, your favourite music, even reacting to your mood. All of which is available through ‘Hey Mercedes’.  

Diamond grille with black pins at the front complement the 10-spoke, 16-inch alloy wheels. While inside, MBUX with semi-autonomous driving is at your fingertips, as are coloured turbine-style air vents and black ARTICO man-made leather seats. 

At the top of the range, you can expect a much more aggressive A-Class, with modified AMG aerodynamics, 19-inch cross-spoke forged alloy wheels, a panoramic sunroof, AMG performance seats and a 0-62 mph time of 3.9 seconds. 

Models

  • Sport
  • Sport Executive Edition
  • AMG Line Executive Edition
  • AMG Line Premium Edition
  • AMG Line Premium Plus Edition

Advantages of Mercedes-Benz A-Class

  • Excellent cabin and infotainment system
  • Comfortable drive
  • Exceptional model range

Disadvantages of Mercedes-Benz A-Class

  • Expensive 
  • Temperamental automatic gearbox 

Mercedes-Benz B-Class

Mercedes-Benz labels the B-Class “a family car, but not as you know it.” 

Its arching exterior design gives it stature on the road while remaining classic and unimposing, and the interior mirrors that of the rest of the Mercedes range; panoramic display, mood lighting, coloured turbine-effect air conditioning ports, MBUX and luxurious leather. 

Even at entry-level – the Sport – the B-Class oozes sophistication, with 17-inch matt black alloys wheels with a high-sheen finish and two silver and chrome louvres which house the Three-Pointed Star at the front. Safety again plays a pivotal role, with Active Lane Keep Assist, Active Brake Assist, Attention Assist and LED high-performance headlights all coming as standard. 

At the top end of the range – the AMG Line Premium Plus – Mercedes focuses on the finer details, with illuminated door sills, keyless entry, ambient mood lighting, panoramic sunroof and Adaptive Highbeam Assist. 

Models

  • Sport
  • Sport Executive Edition
  • AMG Line Executive Edition
  • AMG Line Premium Edition
  • AMG Line Premium Plus Edition

Advantages of Mercedes-Benz B-Class

  • Superb safety features
  • Roomy
  • Stylish in design

Disadvantages of Mercedes-Benz B-Class

  • Expensive 
  • Lacks fun behind the wheel 

Mercedes-Benz C-Class

The Mercedes-Benz C-Class was recently refreshed in 2021, offering updated styling both inside and out, as well as a whole host of new technology and safety features. 

Available in saloon, estate, coupe and cabriolet body styles, the C-Class is one of those models that straddles luxury and affordability with comfort.

As well, despite not yet receiving Mercedes’ critically-acclaimed interior overhaul, it still has the option of mild autonomous driving, digital display, ambient lighting, 360-degree cameras and collision prevention technology. 

Models

  • Sport 
  • AMG Line 
  • AMG Line Edition (coupe and cabriolet)
  • AMG Line Premium
  • AMG Line Edition Premium (coupe and cabriolet)
  • AMG Line Premium Plus
  • AMG Line Night Edition Premium Plus

Advantages of Mercedes-Benz C-Class

  • Comfort
  • Great drive
  • Dynamic steering

Disadvantages of Mercedes-Benz C-Class

  • A little dull
  • Traditional design

Mercedes-Benz E-Class

With a saloon, estate, coupe, and cabriolet body style, the Mercedes-Benz E-Class propels the German manufacturer into modern, executive motoring. 

Its sleek exterior design, which combines a dynamic front end with a powerful tail, is mirrored inside through luxurious materials, digital cockpit featuring MBUX, restyled steering wheel with touch controls, multicolour ambient lighting, Burmester surround sound and a choice of high-end trim finishes. 

It also allows new levels of customisation for Mercedes, with the E-Class’ paintwork, upholstery, roof liner, alloy wheels and the aforementioned interior trim all available to tailor to your personal preference. 

There are currently five model variants available when choosing the E-Class, from the entry-level Sport to the AMG Line Night Premium Plus, which will cost you around an extra £8,000. 

Models

  • Sport
  • AMG Line
  • AMG Line Edition (plug-in hybrid)
  • AMG Line Premium
  • AMG Line Night Edition Premium Plus

Advantages of Mercedes-Benz E-Class Saloon

  • Extensive luxury 
  • Outstanding technology
  • Dynamic styling

Disadvantages of Mercedes-Benz E-Class Saloon

  • Lacks a fun edge
  • Less rear space than rivals

Mercedes-Benz S-Class

Mercedes-Benz claims the S-Class saloon provides unique comfort and safety, so whether you’re driving the S-Class or are a backseat passenger in the S-Class Long. 

The design of the Mercedes-Benz S-Class focuses on what matters: perfect exterior proportions and contemporary luxury inside to give the S-Class a unique and irresistible presence. 

Pioneering digital headlights, keyless-go entrance and start, MBUX augmented reality head-up display, 3D driver display and a 12.8-inch OLED centre console create a luxury tech haven. 

While timeless, lighter alloy wheels, active ambient lighting and first-class comfort in both the front and rear ensure the S-Class continues its long tradition of motoring superiority. 

The best luxury car on the market? We’ll let you decide.

Models

  • AMG Line (short wheel base only)
  • AMG Line Premium (short and long wheel base)
  • Long AMG Line Premium Executive
  • Long AMG Line Premium Plus
  • Long AMG Line Premium Plus Executive

Advantages of Mercedes-Benz S-Class

  • Quiet ride 
  • High powered engines
  • Pure luxury inside and out

Disadvantages of Mercedes-Benz S-Class

  • Cost prohibitive
  • Fuel economy

Mercedes-Benz CLA

The Mercedes-Benz CLA is available in coupe and Shooting Brake body styles, ensuring it is the perfect combination of sportiness and practicality. 

Its 505-litre boot gives you plenty of space in the rear – 1350 litres with the seats down – while not sacrificing on style thanks to the CLA Shooting Brake’s sloped rear quarter. 

A wider tailgate opening compared to the saloon makes this version of the CLA much easier to load, while an extra 50mm of rear headroom and extra leg space ensures your passenger’s journey is always comfortable. 

In the front, the CLA Shooting Brake enjoys Mercedes’ panoramic dual-screen display, ample technology – including MBUX – and a plethora of luxurious finishes. 

For the added expense, along with adaptive dampers, 19” alloys, panoramic roof and some other bells and whistles, you’ll also have 421bhp at your disposal, which will help you reach 62mph from a standing start in just four seconds. 

Models

  • AMG Line
  • AMG Line Premium 
  • AMG Line Premium Plus

Advantages of Mercedes-Benz CLA

  • Stunning interior
  • Ample rear space
  • Beautifully designed

Disadvantages of Mercedes-Benz CLA

  • Not incredibly economical
  • Very low to the ground

Mercedes-Benz CLS

The Mercedes-Benz CLS has an important role in the motoring world. It was the first to take coupe styling and create a four-door, luxurious motorway destroyer.

Since then, many have added their own spin onto the idea, but the CLS is arguably still king of the castle. 

That’s achieved by its incredible entry-level AMG Line, which features 19-inch alloys, smart headlights, AMG body styling, heated seats and the critically acclaimed panoramic infotainment system. 

At the top of the range sits the CLS 53 which comes with four-wheel-drive, upgraded 20-inch wheels, improved styling and a bi-turbo 435bhp engine. 

Models

  • AMG Line 
  • CLS 53

Advantages of Mercedes-Benz CLS

  • Great drive
  • Original four-door coupe
  • Stunning interior and equipment

Disadvantages of Mercedes-Benz CLS

  • Heavy
  • Vague steering in corners

Mercedes-Benz EQC

The Mercedes-Benz EQC is the company’s first out-and-out electric car. One of the standout characteristics of the EQC is how it doesn’t look or feel as though it’s an electric car. That is until you put your foot down.

Like all EVs, raw power is available on-demand, and even though its range of 259 miles from a full charge is less than its main competitors, the Mercedes-Benz provides one of the most relaxing cabins outside of driving a Rolls Royce. 

Even with no engine noise, the cockpit is quiet and refined, wind or road noise isn’t an issue for the most part, and inside you’re treated to the same luxuries as you would be inside any other big Merc. 

There are slight tweaks from the norm to make the all-electric EQC stand out, such as rectangular air vents rather than the circular turbines we’re accustomed to in most other Three-Pointed Stars. 

And there’s the odd dash of light blue ambient lighting to ensure its ‘futuristic-y’. But other than that, it’s just a comfortable, classic Mercedes. 

Battery and range

  • 80 kWh 405 V lithium-ion (230 miles of range)

Advantages of Mercedes-Benz EQC SUV

  • Extremely comfortable
  • Low running costs
  • Doesn’t look like an EV

Disadvantages of Mercedes-Benz EQC SUV

  • Relatively high charging time
  • Smaller boot space than competitors

Mercedes-Benz GLA

The Mercedes-Benz GLA SUV is based on the A-Class. It comes with the same cornerstones of styling, with a few ‘off-road’ themed tweaks. 

These include black plastic wheel arches, as well as a slightly raised ride height and driver position. 

Inside, again, the GLA shares its design with the A-Class, although there are a couple of differences. Slight tweaks to trim styles in addition to the off-road engineering safety pack ensure there’s enough change between the two. 

But without doubt, the GLA is very much an on-road crossover, rather than an out-and-out SUV or off-roader. 

Models

  • Sport
  • Sport Executive
  • AMG Line
  • AMG Line Executive
  • AMG Line Premium
  • AMG Line Premium Plus
  • GLA Exclusive Edition (GLA 250 e only)
  • Exclusive Edition Premium (GLA 250 e only)
  • Exclusive Edition Premium Plus (GLA 250 e only)

Advantages of Mercedes-Benz GLA

  • High-quality cabin and infotainment system
  • Comfortable 
  • Big model range

Disadvantages of Mercedes-Benz GLA

  • Pricey 
  • Rear headroom

Mercedes-Benz GLB

The Mercedes-Benz GLB SUV expertly combines luxury with practicality. The seven-seat compact SUV appears to take design inspiration from Merc’s rugged G-Glass off-roader while retaining the sophistication you’d expect from a city cruiser. 

The GLB also mirrors its executive siblings inside. The Three-Pointed Star’s outstanding interior, with two digital displays, chrome turbine vents and pristine stitchwork, makes up for the fact it isn’t as big as some others available on the market. 

The GLB’s design also gives reason for its chunky price tag, which, like its boot space, is on the wrong side of the market average. 

But for the increase in cost comes refinement and elegance like no other in the GLB’s category, albeit for the real head-turning tech, you’ll have to look towards the top of the model chain. 

The engine range available isn’t as large as some others, but with the top-spec, you can expect excellent safety features, much-improved tech and a 306bhp petrol engine which has a top speed of 155mph and will do 0-62mph in 5.2 seconds. 

Models

  • AMG Line
  • AMG Line Premium
  • AMG Line Premium Plus
  • AMG GLB 35 4MATIC Premium Plus

Advantages of Mercedes-Benz GLB

  • Beautifully designed
  • Seven seats
  • Excellent drive

Disadvantages of Mercedes-Benz GLB

  • Entry-level lacking
  • Small engine range

Mercedes-Benz GLC

Mercedes-Benz defines the GLC as a symbol of modern luxury. Available in SUV or BMW X4-esque coupe form, its craftsmanship and styling are undeniable, even if the cabin resembles that of Mercedes’ previous, less-desirable interiors in parts. 

From the outside, however, an imposing, modern figure stands proud on chunky alloy wheels – which can be upgraded to 20-inch – with sporty-looking, but fake air intakes adding an aggressive touch to the GLC’s stature. 

On the inside, despite the old infotainment system, the GLC exudes quality, with a clean dash and electric seats as standard. 

The GLC, then, is a car for those who enjoy style and comfort over speed and dynamic cornering. It’s practical, with a similar size boot to the BMW X3 and Audi Q5, and comes with four-wheel-drive as standard. 

Models

  • GLC AMG Line
  • GLC AMG Line Premium
  • GLC AMG Line Premium Plus

Advantages of Mercedes-Benz GLC

  • Luxurious motoring
  • Executive comfort
  • Ample space

Disadvantages of Mercedes-Benz GLC

  • Old infotainment package
  • Extras are pricey

Mercedes-Benz GLE

The Mercedes-Benz GLE is the ultimate SUV cruiser. Built solely for elegance and style, its dream drive, stylish brushed metals and unvarnished wood trim create a space befitting of the Ritz. And if SUV-styling isn’t your things there’s a coupe bodystyle model too.

With seven seats and a huge boot, it’s practical too, although the rearmost seats would struggle to house two adults comfortably – the same downfall as the smaller GLB. 

Yet despite this issue, the Mercedes-Benz GLE is still a class leader. Merc’s critically acclaimed panoramic display is only complemented by its augmented reality sat-nav and autonomous driving aids. While plush leather and plenty of chrome trim exaggerate the GLE’s luxury.  

It’s not as sporty as a BMW X5 or as relaxing as an Audi Q7, but if you’re looking for a high-class, lavish SUV to eat up the miles in bliss, the GLE is certainly a safe bet. 

Models

  • AMG Line
  • AMG Line Premium 
  • AMG Line Premium Plus

Advantages of Mercedes-Benz GLE

  • Luxurious motoring
  • Eye-catching styling
  • Technology

Disadvantages of Mercedes-Benz GLE

  • Competitors more fun to drive
  • Rearmost seats only big enough for children

Mercedes-Benz GLS

The Mercedes-Benz GLS SUV is Merc’s flagship luxurious off-roader. The Three Pointed Star label it the S-Class of the SUV world. And it’s not difficult to see why. 

Both inside and out are littered with exotic materials which culminate to create a seven-seat beast which is capable of cruising through the expensive parts of the Monopoly board unphased. 

A sensationally sized Mercedes logo sets the tone for the rest of the car, with incredible amounts of space available for all seven occupants, including a bigger boot than the A-Class with the rearmost seats up and even more space than a BMW X7 or full-size Range Rover with them down.

It’s also more eye-catching than the two aforementioned SUVs, with a more attractive design, up to 23-inch alloy wheels, illuminated running boards and monstrous exhausts. 

Inside, it’s a similar story. Mercedes’ highly-acclaimed MBUX features alongside the vehicle’s digital instrument cluster which is displayed on two intertwined HD panoramic screens. 

Plush leather and the option of wood or metal detailing hammers home that air of quality, while lots of natural light and space alongside the autonomous driving system ensures a class-leading, relaxing drive. 

Some of the buttons and materials used throw a drop of water on this otherwise raging flame of luxury, but it’s not enough to detract from the fact the GLS is the finest SUV in its price range for comfort and style.  

Models

  • Night Edition 
  • Night Edition Exective

Advantages of Mercedes-Benz GLS SUV

  • Most luxurious SUV in its class
  • Incredibly spacious
  • Superb drive

Disadvantages of Mercedes-Benz GLS SUV

  • Few fittings let down the otherwise outstanding interior
  • Small engine range

Mercedes-Benz G-Class

The Mercedes-Benz G-Class is the epitome of off-roading in style. Its rugged exterior hides exemplary luxury inside, with refined materials, adaptive technology and outstanding comfort all available at your fingertips. 

It’s also three cars in one. First, you have the dependable off-roader, which can scale and conquer almost any terrain thanks to its adaptive drive modes and trio of differential locks. 

Then, you have the motorway cruiser. A comfortable destroyer of tarmac, which will eat up the miles – as well as lots of fuel – and transport you in S-Class levels of luxury. 

And finally, you have the sportscar. (Stay with me on this). 

Admittedly, it’s not made for traversing the windy corners of a Tuscan race track, however, the top-spec model – the G 63 – will outperform a large number of sports cars in a straight line thanks to its monstrous 585bhp V8 engine.

If you’re looking for a vehicle that can do everything, with style, decorum and also dependability, the G-Glass ticks all the boxes. 

Models

  • G 400 d Edition
  • G 400 d AMG Line Premium

Advantages of Mercedes-Benz G-Class SUV

  • Exceptionally adaptable
  • Incredibly fast top range
  • Superb off-road

Disadvantages of Mercedes-Benz G-Class SUV

  • Very expensive
  • Thirsty petrol engine

Mercedes-AMG GT Coupe

The Mercedes-AMG GT Coupe is the company’s most expensive vehicle (£173,655 OTR for the four-door AMG GT 63 SE Performance version) and for good reason.

Built to replace the slightly-crazy SLS, it has big shoes to fill as the company’s flagship performance car. And this latest incarnation takes that role incredibly seriously.  

Once, you could buy a tamer, more road-friendly version of the GT Coupe. Now, Merc has done away with that option. It’s either the stupidly-fast GT R or the mind-bending Black Series. 

The former will do 0-62mph in 3.7 seconds, meanwhile, the latter will shave 0.5 seconds off that time thanks to its monstrous 730bhp engine. Something you’d hope for, given its double the price. 

To look at, car styling is certainly a personal preference, but it’s hard to think of many mass-produced, front-engined, rear-wheel-drive sports cars that look better than the GT Coupe. 

It’s a staggering car, and if you have the means, well worth the money. 

Models

  • Mercedes-AMG GT Coupe
  • Mercedes-AMG GT Night Edition Coupe
  • Mercedes-AMG GT R
  • Mercedes-AMG GT Black Series Coupe

Advantages of Mercedes-AMG GT Coupe

  • Stupendous fun to drive
  • Incredible styling
  • An outstanding feat of engineering

Disadvantages of Mercedes-AMG GT Coupe

  • Slower than main rival – Porsche 911
  • Expensive

Mercedes-AMG GT Roadster

AMG GT Roadster

The Mercedes-AMG GT Roadster is the pinnacle of living on the edge. 

Not only do you have a monstrous V8 powertrain at the front – driving 557bhp straight to the rear wheels through a seven-speed automatic gearbox – you can do it with access to 62 miles of blue sky above you. 

The GT Roadster only comes in one form – the GT C – but it features everything you could possibly want. 

Aside from achingly good looks, Nappa leather envelopes the stunning cockpit, while a limited-slip differential and sports suspension ensure the car’s racing pedigree isn’t forgotten. 

The GT Roadster really is the product of two worlds colliding, then. You have Merc’s refinement and luxury alongside AMG’s party trick – making a car stupendous fun to drive. 

Models

  • Mercedes-AMG GT Roadster
  • Mercedes-AMG GT Night Edition Roadster
  • Mercedes-AMG GT C Roadster

Advantages of Mercedes-AMG GT Roadster

  • Incredible styling
  • Luxurious cockpit
  • Immensely fun to drive

Disadvantages of Mercedes-AMG GT Roadster

  • High running costs
  • Lack of luggage space