After the Mercedes-Benz C-Class debuted in 2007, some questioned the car's luxury credentials, given the sub-par interior. The 2012 model should dispel that concern with a redesigned interior made with high-quality plastic similar to what you'll find in the larger E-Class. A new instrument panel is present and the switchgear looks like it was inspired by the CLS, as well. The totally redesigned interior includes a color instrument cluster display and a new-generation telematics system.
Under the hood are two new engines. The 2012 model year brings a four-cylinder back to the Mercedes-Benz C-Class lineup, a 1.8-liter turbocharged engine that offers excellent fuel economy and competitive entry-level horsepower. The 3.5-liter V-6 has direct-injection technology for better fuel economy and more power. The existing 3.0-liter V-6 remains as the only engine available in all-wheel drive 4Matic C-Class sedans, and there's a more efficient seven-speed automatic transmission; the six-speed manual transmission has been dropped. For those craving more horsepower, the C63 AMG is once again available, although this year in sedan and coupe form.
Also new this year is a C-Class coupe. Using the same engines as the sedan, Mercedes-Benz is having a second go at selling a C-Class coupe in the U.S. market. While the last-generation model didn't sell well, the more pleasantly styled 2012 model may have a better chance.
Body: Sedan, coupe
Engine: 1.8-liter inline-4, 3.0-liter V-6, 3.5-liter V-6, 302
Transmission: seven-speed automatic
Models (coupe and sedan): C250 Sport, C300 Luxury, C300 Sport, C350 Sport, C63 AMG
Besides the addition of new convenience and performance features, the C-Class features a wide variety of new Mercedes-Benz safety systems like the standard Attention Assist and Adaptive Brake technology. Other optional safety equipment includes Blind Spot Assist as well as camera-based Lane Keeping Assist and Adaptive High beam Assist.
Other changes include new bumpers, front grille, headlights, an aluminum hood, LED daytime running lights and taillights. The completely redesigned interior includes a color instrument cluster display and a new-generation telematics system. Under the hood, there's a choice of two new direct-injection engines mated to a more fuel-efficient seven-speed automatic transmission. The coupe body style is new, and there is now a four-cylinder base engine.
The C-Class sedan has been refreshed for the 2012 model year. Updated headlights, LED daytime running lights and taillights, are also new. The C300 models ride on 17-inch wheels and are offered in different designs while the AMG gets upgraded 18-inch wheels. The C350 for the most part is a dressed up C300 Sport with the Premium I package, a bigger V-6 and maple wood trim. The C63 AMG is dressed in the same fashion but subs out the V-6 for a V-8 and bigger brakes. The typical AMG logos are visible throughout inside and outside the vehicle with leather sport seats switched in too.
The C-Class offers wood trim and a two-tone color scheme plus an iPod interface. While the current C-Class is bigger than its predecessors, we wouldn't recommend it as the daily ride for a growing family. The backseats are positioned like bucket seats. The trunk is small, only offering 12.4 cubic feet to hold cargo.
Performance & Handling
A 3.5-liter V-6 is what has many Mercedes-Benz fans chomping at the bit to get their hands on the steering wheel of the C-Class. The C350 coupe and sedan ride on a standard performance suspension and a small trunk helps balance out the ride. If comfort is what you want, the coupe is your weapon of choice and still gives the driver good feedback while taking bigger turns. The coupe is lower than the sedan and comes with stiffer shocks and a sports suspension. The C350 can take corners just as well as the next luxury sedan but really stands out with its steering feedback.
For 2012, Mercedes-Benz has added Attention Assist and Adaptive Brake technology, all of which come standard. Blind Spot Assist, Lane Keeping Assist and Adaptive High beam Assist all work collectively with the other safety features aboard the C-Class. You can expect the regular Benz safety features like with dual side front airbags, head curtains, and a driver-side knee bag. Roadside assistance, tire-pressure monitoring, and four-wheel discs with ABS are standard features as well.
EPA Fuel Economy
C250: 21 mpg city/31 mpg highway
C300 4Matic: 18 mpg city/24-25 mpg highway
C350 Sedan: 20 mpg city/29 mpg highway
C350 Coupe: 19 mpg city/28 mpg highway
C63 AMG: 13 mpg city/19 mpg highway
- Swift acceleration
Eye-catching AMG model
You Won't Like
- No manual transmission available
Inching closer to the BMW 3 Series.
If You Like This Vehicle
- BMW 3 Series
- Audi A4/A5
- Lexus IS
- Infiniti G37