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  #1  
Old 04-29-2003, 06:08 PM
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Model designator

What does the number and letter designator for different models mean, like 300e,560SL, SLK, SEL, CLK etc.
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  #2  
Old 04-29-2003, 07:38 PM
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That's a science unto itself.

The number typically denotes engine displacement such that 300 is 3 liters and 560 is 5.6 liters but there are obvious exceptions such as the 2.6 liter 300E 2.6 and less obvious exceptions such as the early 70s 250 with a 2.8l engine and the current S600 with a 5.4l V12. The AMG series cars also denote the displacement although with only 2 digits (E55, C43, etc.)

TYPICALLY... S in a sedan means sonderklasse or S-class, S in a two-door car means sport. E used to mean einspritzung or fuel injection but later denoted the executiv or E-class. L in a sedan means lang or long, L in a two-door car means licht or light. C means coupe. K means kompressor or supercharger.

I'm recalling the German words from a rusty memory so check twice before you put a bet on anything I say

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... D is for Diesel and that's all the MB jargon anyone needs to know
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  #3  
Old 04-29-2003, 08:46 PM
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Two small corrections..... L is leicht, not licht. Licht means light as in what is hanging from your ceiling. and K means Klein, as in small..... could mean Kompressor, but then how would you explain the SLK 320 or any of the Ks in CLK? (with the exception of the brand new CLK55). I know I know..very trivial, but I had to feel smart somehow!!

BMW are offenders too with the messed up nomenclature with the whole 325 to 323 back to 325 mix up when the motor never changed displacement. Or the 540s or old 740s are really 4.4 liter. I guess 544i or S540 just doesn't sound right!!
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  #4  
Old 04-29-2003, 08:52 PM
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You could be right on the kompressor thing because supercharged cars have kompressor spelled out. Why have have it again in the designation? Of course, how long did 300Ds have Diesel emblazoned on the right edge of the trunk?

If MB got one thing right it's that you can't be too careful with the US market.

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  #5  
Old 04-29-2003, 09:12 PM
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"K" confusion

The "K" does cause confusion. Back in the 1930s it did mean Kompressor for supercharger as in the 540K etc. More recently it has refered to smaller versions. I actually understood the "K" to stand for "short" in German rather than "small" but I may be wrong. The SLK is a short or small SL. The CLK is a short or small CL. The odd one at present seems to be the C-class sports coupe. It is badged just C230 etc. Dealers and others have a habit of refering to it as a CL230 to distinguish it from the sedan. I can't see how it is a CL which is much bigger. It can't be a CLK as that refers to a different model. Maybe CK230 would have been more accurate for short or small C.

The numerals in the model designation have also lost the plot again. The new C180, C200 and C230 in the sports coupe are all 1.8 litre kompressor engines. The replacement for the 3.2 litre S320 and ML320 is the S350 and ML350 at not 3.5 but 3.7 litres. Why do they do this? To think that back in the mid '90s when they had adopted the new class badging system (C, E, S, etc.) everything was working well.
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  #6  
Old 04-29-2003, 09:24 PM
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I'd could also mean kurz. An SLK is both a smaller and a shorter SL, and a CLK is both a smaller and shorter CL. So I guess we're both theoretically right! Which one is the word that Benz had in mind, I can't remember.

I think dealers referring to the C coupe as a CL is idiotic since it is a totally different model obviously. Just call it a coupe!! C230 COUPE! Simple. And as far as the CK...Calvin Klein??
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  #7  
Old 04-29-2003, 09:41 PM
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C-class coupe badging

I kinda' liked my idea of CK for the C-class sports coupe. Oh well...

Maybe they should be realistic and refer to it as the hatchback it really is rather than a coupe. What's hatchback in German?
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107.026: 500SLC, 4-speed auto, thistle green, green velour.
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  #8  
Old 04-29-2003, 11:12 PM
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As far as misbadging:

The 1993 300E has a 3.2 liter engine (like 1994-1995 E320's).

The 1992-1993 400E has a 4.2 liter engine (like 1994-1995 E420's).

The current C240's have always had a 2.6 liter engine.

I can't figure out for the life of me why they don't want to have the numeral part of the badge read correctly. If not, why even pretend to care? They could go to a system like Volvo's: S / V40, S80, etc. where the numeral is not related to engine size, but rather series.
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  #9  
Old 04-30-2003, 02:33 AM
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Model designations gone wrong

Paul,

There have been a few instances over the years where they lost the plot with model designations. I think in North America you may have got more than elsewhere, particularly around the era you mention. You mention the 3.2 in the 300E and 4.2 in the 400E (which we never got down under). Strangely, in Oz at that same time in 1993 our 300E dropped back to the 2.8 (24v). Our 3.2 was a 320E (and 320CE coupe). In Europe, I believe the same cars were, logically, 280E and 320E. The S-class at that time were also strangely 300SE for the 3.2 and 400SEL for the 4.2. We also had a 300E-24 and 300CE-24 to distinguish the 24 valve 3 litre cars from the 12 valve 300E and 300CE.

Earlier there had also been a few odd ones. Some of the 250 got a 2.8. When they replaced the old alloy 3 litre with a 2.8 in the 300SEL in the late '60s it was still badged 300SEL. When the same car got the big V8 it had an additional 6.3 badge. Later the similar 280SE(L) got the additional 3.5 badge (uniquely 4.5 in the US) with the addition of a V8. Whilst our 350SL did get the 3.5 yours got the 4.5 before they decided to badge it 450SL. Some of the late 450SEL got an additional 6.9 badge indicating the larger V8. Some of the late 450SLC got a 5.0 badge before the 500SLC badge appeared.

The 190E series never really got it right. The original had a 2 litre however 200E was already in use on the W123 series so 190E was used. Some (all the 4 cyl. in the US I think) got the 2.3 (of the 230E) with an extra 2.3 badge and some got the six with a 2.6 badge. Later a 190E 1.8 was introduced and in Oz we also got a popular low spec/cost version badged 180E (which did make sense!) to address the problem of the overpriced, slow selling 190E 1.8.

With the introduction of the first C-class around '94 all badging changed to signify the class first then the engine size. A chance to get it right. There were correctly badged E280, E320, E420, S320, S420, etc. This was fine for a while, until the C240 and E240 went to 2.6. The C180 also went to 2 litres. Now we have the strange situation where a C180, C200 and C230 (in the C sports coupe) are all 1.8 and the other situation I mentioned above with the new 3.7 badged 350. Why!

Greg
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107.023: 350SLC, 3-speed auto, icon gold, parchment MBtex (sold 2012 after 29 years ownership).
107.026: 500SLC, 4-speed auto, thistle green, green velour.
124.090: 300TE, 4-speed auto, arctic white, cream-beige MBtex.
201.028: 190E 2.3 Sportline, 5-speed manual, arctic white, blue leather.
201.028: 190E 2.3, 4-speed auto, blue-black, grey MBtex.
201.034: 190E 2.3-16, 5-speed manual, blue-black, black leather.
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  #10  
Old 04-30-2003, 04:54 AM
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the numbers use to be the "class" designation while the letters spelled out the extras.


for example the 240D and the 300D are the same chassis both have Diesels but the 240 is not as fancy as the 300. same with the 280SE's and 300SE's of the 60's. the 300's had air suspension and more fancy things that I don't remember off the top of my head.

SL ment Sport Light (Sport Leicht in german)
E ment Fuel Injected (Einspritzung)
K ment Compressor (Kompressor)
T ment Wagon (Touring) or Turbo for some folks
L ment long (Lang)
not quite sure the extact term for the S but it was to designate fanciness

the list goes on, but if the engine was different then the std offering it was listed after the extras (the lettering)

thus the 300SEL 6.3 stood for a Fancy, Long 300 class with a 6.3 Fuel Injected Engine which deviated from the std offering.


The new way of doing things has every thing backwards, the letter is the class with the numbers saying what engine it has (and the extras). I personally liked the old way, but after awhile I'll admit it probably got way too complicated.
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  #11  
Old 04-30-2003, 08:08 AM
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Again, I will beg to differ on the assertion that K stands for Kompressor. It may have back in the days of the 540K like Greg mentioned. However, for the CLK or SLK, it means either kurz, klein or kompakt. They all work and make sense. On this german website (underneath the rear shot with the Brabus plate), the last line of the paragraph it says "Er bedeutet sportlich, leicht, kompakt".

If it did mean Kompressor, the CL55 would be a CLK55, the SL55 would be an SLK55, the S55 would be a SK55, the E55 would be a EK55, the CLK320 and 500 would be a CL320 and 500, the SLK320 would be a SL320, and the CLK55 and SLK32 would be a CLKK55 and a SLKK32!
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