It was only meant as a jokey aside, but after Mercedes-Benz boss Dieter Zetsche had explained the company’s new naming strategy, he said: "There is going to be a quiz later; pass it and the drinks are on us for the rest of the evening."
Conventional car classes have fractured, split and now lie shattered in niches and sub-niches all over the floor, and despite all its efforts to make sense of all the myriad cars and car types that result, Mercedes will still this year launch a car called a Mercedes-AMG GLE63 S-model Coupé.
So let’s have a little trot through that.
Mercedes means Mercedes, but this is a Mercedes-AMG rather than a Mercedes-Benz because it belongs to the AMG performance sub-brand.
The ‘GL’ in GLE means it’s from the SUV family, the ‘E’ that it’s the mid-sized, E-class-based version, rather than the smaller GLC or larger GLS.
The '63' refers to the engine, because the engine before the 5.5-litre twin-turbo motor used in this car was meant to be a 6.3, although it was actually a 6.2-litre V8, and as this is an ‘S-model’, that will mean it has the most highly tuned version of the engine.
And finally it’s called a Coupé because we’re meant to think it’s a coupé, despite it quite clearly being a very large, high, five-door off-roader.
This is not a Mercedes problem, but an increasingly industry-wide issue, at the forefront of which you’ll find all the large premium German manufacturers.
Zetsche said the name restructuring came as a result of "running out of letters in the alphabet", and I can quite believe him.
But I also believe what a survey recently suggested, which is that the customer is getting increasingly confused by the increasingly baffling array of choices out there and is becoming less rather than more inclined to buy as a result.
As an example of a principle being extended farther than it cares to go, in this industry you’ll find none better.