While the Mercedes-Benz C Class sedan
isn’t entirely new this year, there are some significant changes to the model line for 2012. First up is a new 1.8-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine, the first four offered in the C Class in almost a decade. Then there’s the all new C Class coupe
, a stylish alternative meant to draw new buyers into the Mercedes-Benz family. Factor in the high-performance C63 AMG (which isn’t new this year) and you have a complete model range that’s ready, willing and able to take on the BMW 3-Series, the Audi A4 and A5 and the Cadillac CTS.
The C Class sedan gets revised front-end styling that brings it up to date with current Mercedes-Benz design language. The sedan returns in both Luxury and Sport trims, and the new Coupe is offered in the same basic configurations. Sport models are easily distinguished by their large three-pointed star emblem embedded in the grille, while luxury models make do with a plain grille and a modest hood ornament.
The new 1.8-liter, 201-horsepower turbo four engine is available on C250 models, and shoppers can rest assured that the smaller engine doesn’t sacrifice performance. In fact, it clocks the same 0-60 mph time as the previous C300, yet manages to deliver an EPA-estimated 21 mpg city and 31 mpg highway. If you want a V-6, C300 models come with a 3.0-liter V-6 good for 228 horsepower and equipped with Mercedes-Benz’s 4Matic all-wheel-drive system. Want a V-6 and rear-wheel drive? Then you’d need to choose the C350, which comes with the 302 horsepower, 3.5-liter V-6 borrowed from the larger E Class. If that’s still not enough thrust for your liking, the C63 AMG
comes with a 6.2-liter V-8 that puts out 457 horsepower, making it capable of dashing from 0-60 in 4.3 seconds when equipped with the optional Performance Package.
We generally favor Sport models over Luxury models, due to their improved handling (which really doesn’t impact ride quality significantly), larger wheels and bigger brakes. As with many luxury sedans, however, the steering is just a bit overboosted for our tastes.
While front seat passengers get plenty of headroom and legroom, rear seat passengers are likely to complain about their knees hitting the front seats. The C Class isn’t significantly worse than others in the segment (like the BMW 3-Series or the Audi A4), but it simply doesn’t offer the back seat room of a larger sedan; in other words, if you have friends with long legs, it may be a good idea to bring them along on your C Class test drive to get their feedback on rear seat comfort.
The list of standard features in C Class models is fairly long, including Bluetooth phone integration, a USB port, HD radio, dual-zone climate control and a power sunroof. Major option packages are grouped into categories, and include Sport, Luxury and Premium. Mercedes-Benz’s mbrace telematics system is available for C Class models as well.
For a complete look at the 2012 Mercedes-Benz C Class, see our comprehensive review on The Car Connection