Letters and numbers used for car models

I know useless information. It's one of my spiritual gifts. Some of this useless information is about cars and what their model numbers stand for. This used to be cut and dry, but with hybrids, diesels, and turbos coming into play, the numbers don't always line up how they used to. This information post will give you a general idea as to what the letters and numbers stand for.


There are many classes of vehicles in Mercedes line up. Some examples are C, E, and S-Class sedans, as well as GLK, M, GL, and G-Class SUVs.

The reason they have numbers after the class names is to denounce different engine sizes. For example if you see an ML350, the 350 stands for the 3.5 L engine that it has. So an ML430 would have a.... 4.3 L engine.  Good, I think you are starting to catch on!


Instead of using letters like Mercedes, BMW uses numbers as their model info. Also, instead of a class of cars, it is a series of cars. The only exception is the X-series SUV. Again though, the numbers after the model number for the most part correspond to the engine displacement. 

So a 325i would be a 3-series vehicle with a 2.5 liter engine. A 550i would be a 5-series vehicle with a 5.0 liter engine. This naming scheme also is not as reliable as it used to be. BMW has taken some liberty in changing it up based upon all the new turbos and hybrid types.    


Remember the classic 280Z's and 300Z's of the late 80's and early 90's?  They followed the same trend.  The 280Z had a 2.8 liter engine and the 300Z had a 3.0 liter engine in it.  This trend continues today with the 350Z and 370Z having a 3.5 and 3.7 liter engines respectively.

Using this new found information you have a good idea as to what a BMW, Mercedes, or Z car is working with under the hood. Go forth and use this information wisely!