2012 C-Class New Car Test Drive
The compact Mercedes-Benz C-Class is the least expensive of the brand's offerings. Yet it's no less a Mercedes-Benz. You'll find everything you expect from Mercedes-Benz in a C-Class from safety features to predictable driving dynamics.
The 2012 C-Class includes a new coupe body style, while the sedans benefit from a major mid-cycle update.
All 2012 C-Class sedans get all-new interiors and new engines. 2012 Mercedes-Benz C250 models feature a new 1.8-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine, and 2012 Mercedes-Benz C350 models feature an all-new 3.5-liter V6 more powerful and more fuel efficient than the previous 3.5-liter engine. Styling revisions to the front and rear fascia of the 2012 C-Class sedans signal the changes underneath.
The C-Class Luxury grade feels like a small version of a traditional Mercedes four-door luxury sedan. For drivers who want something sportier, the Sport models provide that. Those who want a street-legal racecar can order an AMG version.
The C-Class offers a terrific driving experience: great driver feedback through the steering, rock-solid, and so stable it's very difficult to get into trouble. The C-Class chassis tells the driver exactly what the car is doing. And it does this without taking away any of the refinement or comfort that makes driving one a fatigue-free process.
Most C-Class models come with rear-wheel drive, but 4MATIC all-wheel drive is available for improved active safety and winter weather capability.
Compared with Luxury models, Sport models use wider rear tires and wheels, sit more than half an inch lower, use firmer suspension settings, and get a three-spoke steering wheel. The Luxury models ride smoother and are more comfortable for commuting, running errands and everyday driving. You're less likely to spill your cappuccino in a luxury model. The Sport models are quite sporty and fun to drive on a winding road or at elevated speeds on the open highway. Sport sedans use a different grille with the Mercedes-Benz ringed star in the middle, while the Luxury models have the star perched on top of the hood. Sport models also use AMG-style deeper front air dams, side skirts and rear aprons. AMG versions are distinguished by unique styling cues as well.
The C-Class is not a big car, so tall drivers and business-people who transport clients will find they need something bigger, such as an E-Class. But among its primary competition the C-Class is more than merely in the game; it's a real player.
The 2012 Mercedes-Benz C-Class is offered in coupe and sedan body styles. Sedan and coupe are available in C250, C350, and C63 AMG models. The C250 comes with a new 201-hp 1.8-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine. The C350 comes with an all-new 302-hp 3.5-liter V6. Both come with a 7-speed automatic transmission. The racy C63 AMG features a 451-hp 6.2-liter V8 mated to a 7-speed dual-clutch automated manual. The C300 4MATIC sedan has a 228-hp 3.0-liter V6 and all-wheel drive.
The 2012 C250 sedan comes standard with vinyl upholstery, a tilt/telescoping leather-wrapped steering wheel with audio controls, cruise control, interior air filter, 8-way power adjustable driver's seat with lumbar adjustment, heated power mirrors, power windows, power door locks, remote keyless entry, sunroof, AM/FM/CD/MP3 player, HD radio, auxiliary input jack, USB port, Bluetooth cell-phone link, trip computer, rain-sensing wipers, universal garage door opener, auto-dimming rearview mirror, automatic headlights, theft-deterrent system, front and rear fog lights, and alloy wheels. The C250 Sport ($34,800) gets aluminum interior trim, sport-tuned suspension, and P225/45R17 front and P245/40R17 rear tires. The C250 Luxury ($35,220) comes with Burled Walnut interior trim and P225/45R17 tires.
The C300 4MATIC Sport ($38,020) and C300 4MATIC Luxury ($38,430) are powered by a 228-horsepower 3.0-liter V6. The C300 models are equipped similarly to C250 but feature all-wheel drive.
The C250 coupe ($37,220) is equipped as a C250 Sport plus rear side airbags, power tilt/telescoping steering wheel, 14-way power driver's seat, split-folding rear seat, and memory for the driver's seat, mirrors, and steering wheel.
The C350 Sport sedan ($40,575) upgrades with heated front seats, satellite radio, iPod/MP3 interface, auto-dimming driver's side mirror, power rear sunshade, and a rear spoiler. It's a Sport model but it has the wood interior trim and P225/45R17 tires. The C350 coupe ($42,370) comes with the same equipment, plus rear side airbags.
The high-performance C63 AMG sedan ($58,930) and coupe ($61,430) feature a 451-horsepower 6.2-liter V8 engine and a 7-speed dual-clutch automated-manual transmission. They also get larger cross-drilled brakes, six-way power front sport seats, performance suspension, and P235/40ZR18 front and P255/35ZR18 rear tires.
Mercedes offers several options packages for the C-Class. Premium 1 Package ($2,500) for the C250 sedan and C300 includes a power tilt/telescoping steering wheel, heated 14-way power front seats with lumbar adjustment, split-folding rear seat, harman/kardon sound system, satellite radio, iPod/MP3 player interface, and memory for the driver's seat, mirrors, and steering wheel. The Premium 1 Package for the C250 coupe ($1,995) has the heated front seats, harman/kardon sound system, satellite radio, and iPod/MP3 player interface.
A Multimedia Package ($2,690) has a navigation system with voice recognition and traffic information, a rearview camera, COMAND control system, AM/FM radio with in-dash 6CD/MP3 changer, 10-gigabyte music hard drive, iPod/MP3 player interface, and an SD card reader. A Dynamic Handling Package offers speed-sensitive power steering, steering-wheel shift paddles, electronic suspension control, P225/40R18 front and P255/35R18 rear tires, and sport settings for the throttle, steering and suspension. A Lane Tracking Package ($850) comes with Blind Spot Assist and Lane Keeping Assist. COMAND, which comes with a central control knob and a music hard drive, is offered by itself ($930) or with a 6-disc in-dash CD changer ($1,330).
Standalone options include leather upholstery ($1,750), 18-inch alloy wheels ($1,040), roof spoiler ($300), trunklid spoiler ($300), power rear sunshade ($440), Keyless Go keyless access and starting ($650), iPod/MP3 interface ($310), satellite radio ($460), burl walnut wood interior trim ($325), heated front seats ($750), panorama sunroof ($1,090), rearview camera ($460), rear side airbags for the sedan ($420), front and rear park assist ($970), AM/FM radio with in-dash 6-disc CD changer ($480), a rear DVD entertainment system ($1,910), a Lighting Package ($985) with steering-linked adaptive bi-xenon headlights with washer, and Mercedes' mbrace mobile app ($660).
Options exclusive to the AMG start with the AMG Development Package ($6,050), which adds 30 horsepower for a total of 481 hp, a 174-mph speedometer, a carbon-fiber trunklid spoiler, and AMG Compound Braking System with cast-iron discs on aluminum centers. Also offered are a limited-slip differential ($2,030) and carbon fiber interior trim ($2,590).
Safety equipment on all C-Class models includes dual adaptive frontal airbags, front side thorax airbags, front side pelvic airbags (except on C63), side curtain airbags, driver's knee airbag, active front head restraints, Attention Assist, electronic stability control, traction control, Adaptive Brake with Hold function, and anti-lock brakes with brake assist and electronic brakeforce distribution. Coupes also have rear side airbags, which are optional on sedans. 4MATIC all-wheel drive improves handling stability in treacherous conditions.