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2012 Mercedes-Benz C-Class

Overview
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2012 Mercedes-Benz C-Class Review

By

KBB Expert Rating: 7.4

Mercedes-Benz has long been equated with luxurious, expensive cars. The fresh-for-2012 C-Class coupes and sedans, starting in the mid-$30,000 range, represents a more digestible entry point for those seeking the pampering and cachet of a Mercedes without going into (too much) debt to attain it. Now Mercedes has made its entry-level lineup even more tempting with a new base model, the C250, powered by a small, fuel-efficient 4-cylinder. At the other end of the C-Class range is the C63 AMG with a thundering 451-horsepower V-8. What all of these baby Benzes have in common, though, are the quality craftsmanship and driving capability for which Mercedes-Benz vehicles are known.

You'll Like This Car If...

A 2012 Mercedes-Benz C-Class gives you the prestige, comfort and solid driving dynamics of an old-money German luxury car, but still makes room for new-money needs like paying for that first house or sending the kids to college. The C-Class also boasts excellent resale value when it's time to move on or up.

You May Not Like This Car If...

Remember: While these cars are more attainable in initial price, they are still luxury vehicles, which usually means higher maintenance and total ownership costs down the road. Even at the base C-Class price, you could buy a loaded-to-the-gills Chevrolet Cruze or Honda Civic with thousands to spare, or a very well-equipped Acura TSX or Buick Regal and still have money left over.

What's Significant About This Car?

Mercedes-Benz realizes it's not alone in chasing upwardly mobile car buyers looking for a premium vehicle. The C-Class, and especially the new 4-cylinder C250 sedan and coupe models, represents Mercedes' effort to capture those younger dollars. For 2012, Mercedes has implemented over 2,000 new parts in the C-Class, giving it direct-injection engines, revised front and rear bodywork, and an updated interior.

Driving the C-Class

Driving Impressions Even a base C250 feels like a Mercedes: solid and confident on the road, with creature comforts and technology galore. Except for the AMG performance model, C-Class sedans and...

coupes tend to focus more on a comfortable ride than the sporting one of its longtime rival, the BMW 3 Series. Still, C-Class models, available in rear-drive or all-wheel-drive, feel nimble in corners and provide good acceleration via their smooth 7-speed automatic transmission. Even the C250's 1.8-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder puts out over 200 horsepower, but models with that engine need to be in Sport mode to indeed feel that way – otherwise the power is only acceptable for a car of this cost and caliber. Models with the new 3.5-liter V6 are plenty potent even in Comfort mode.
Favorite Features

Attention Assist:
This standard feature can detect when a driver is drowsy and alerts him or her via visual and audible warnings. How does it do that? The car uses sensors that "observe driver behavior," based primarily on steering wheel movements.

Fit and Finish:
The cabin of even the least expensive Mercedes-Benz feels comfortable and cozy. Then there is the appreciable tactile feel of every component, from the leather-wrapped steering wheel to the metal buttons and gauges. It literally feels like a quality car.

2012 Mercedes-Benz C-Class Details
2012 Mercedes-Benz C-Class photo Interior

The 2012 Mercedes-Benz C-Class is elegant yet relatively understated inside. A 4.5-inch color display now sits before the driver, encircled within the speedometer, relaying trip, audio and navigation information. Buttons and dials for climate settings are a cinch to locate and use. Even when outfitted with the base M-B Tex vinyl upholstery, the C-Class seats are comfortable and supportive. Rear-seat space is a bit tight in the 5-passenger sedan, and even more cramped in the coupe, which seats four and has a lower roofline that can bump against heads. Like other luxury cars, audio, telephone and navigation are controlled via a console-mounted dial whose functions are viewed on a color-LCD screen in the center dash. The panorama roof that's optional on sedans and standard on coupes does an admirable job of shading, but still lets in quite a bit of light when the sun is directly overhead.

Exterior
2012 Mercedes-Benz C-Class photo

While most of the updates for the 2012 C-Class are under the hood, Mercedes has made tweaks to the outer design of its smallest car. The biggest news is the introduction of a curvaceous coupe, a first for the C-Class. Though it has two fewer doors than its sedan siblings, the C-Class coupe is nearly identical in length, width and wheelbase, but lower in height, giving it a more sporty appearance. C-Class Sedans retain their angular look and feature a lighter aluminum hood, revised front and rear bumpers, and redesigned headlights and taillights.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

All C-Class models come with a 7-speed automatic transmission, Attention Assist drowsiness monitor, 11 airbags, power sunroof, rain-sensing wipers, garage door opener, auto-dimming mirrors, dual-zone climate control, 8-way power front seats, 5.8-inch color screen with center controller, and AM/FM/HD Radio with CD player and auxiliary/USB inputs. Coupes add a panorama roof, split-folding rear seats, and paddle shifters for manual gear selection.

Optional Equipment

Comfort, tech and safety options abound in the 2012 C-Class. Among them are an in-vehicle hotspot for Internet connectivity, blind-spot monitor, rear-view camera, push-button start/stop, and a navigation system loaded with useful information such as ATM locations and Zagat Survey restaurant ratings. The high-end audio option is a 12-speaker, 450-watt harman/kardon Logic7 surround-sound system.

Under the Hood

After a several-year absence, Mercedes is again employing a 4-cylinder engine for its base C-Class in the U.S. market, a fuel-efficient 1.8-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder that makes 201 horsepower. That's just 27 hp shy of the larger, 3.0-liter V6 that powers the C300, and enables the C250 to attain the same 0-60 mph time as the C300: 7.1 seconds. More powerful still is the C350, with a new 3.5-liter V6 that makes 302 horsepower. The voracious C63 AMG boasts a 6.3-liter V8 that makes 451 horsepower – and has fuel-economy numbers that add a one-time $1,700 gas-guzzler tax. All models now use a 7-speed automatic transmission with manual-shift mode (no manual transmission is available).

C250 sedan and coupe:
1.8-liter turbocharged inline-4
201 horsepower @ 5,500 rpm
229 lb-ft of torque @ 2,200-4,300 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 21/31 mpg

C300 4Matic sedan:
3.0-liter V6
228 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm
221 lb-ft of torque @ 2,700-5,000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 18/25 mpg

C350 sedan and coupe:
3.5-liter V6
302 horsepower @ 6,500 rpm
273 lb-ft of torque @ 3,500-5,250 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 20/29 mpg

C63 AMG sedan and coupe:
6.3-liter V8
451 horsepower @ 6,500 rpm
443 lb-ft of torque @ 5,000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 12/19 mpg

Trading in or Selling? Know where you stand with the most up-to-date Kelley Blue Book Value at your fingertips. See your car's value

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2012 Mercedes-Benz C-Class Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
9.2
Out of 10

Based on 240 Ratings for the 2008 - 2014 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    9.2/10
    Quality
    9.4/10
  • Reliability
    9.5/10
    Performance
    9.3/10
  • Comfort
    9.2/10
    Styling
    9.4/10

a great fun car to drive.

By on Thursday, April 17, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 20,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
8/10

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

My Silver Bullet

"302 HP in a car this small is a lot. This car really accelerates. Handles extremely well and is very nimble. Due to the size it is a litle cramped to use front and rear seats. I love the integrated media system. You do have to watch the low front end...you can catch a road rash on the lower front cowl. I traded a Mustang GT for this car. I have no regrets."

My Silver Bullet

Great handling and attractive car

By on Monday, April 07, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 24,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
9/10
Quality
8/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "Excellent value for money."

Cons: "No winshield wiper on rear; front end too low"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9

"Top marks all around, except for a couple of serious design/engineering flaws: no windshield wiper on rear window, and front end way too low for parking lot front wheel restraints. As with most MB cars, turning radius is superb. Engine is peppy. Interior is very attractive. Very good handling, and mechanically excellent."

1 person out of 2 found this review helpful

I love this car. It drives like a dream!

By on Saturday, April 05, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 12,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
8/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
8/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Great driving car."

Cons: "Can't think anything I dislike about it."

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"I nicknamed her Cream Puff because it is such a sweet ride. Gas mileage is pretty decent-30 +/- MPG, considering my former diesel car got 55. Great sound system. I keep it in mint condition. Color is luna blue with beige leather interior. One of the best cars I've ever owned."

Outstanding car in every area!!!!

By on Monday, March 24, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 18,200

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"This car is comfortable....both the seats and the ride. It feels like a bank vault as far as how it is put together. The 35 foot turning radius is awesome! Getting in and out is easy with the square doors. This is my second C class and the 1999 is still running well with 150,000 miles on it. The size is perfect for parking in tight spots, but still big enough to carry passengers and lots of luggage."

6 people out of 10 found this review helpful

2008 C350 with all packages

By on Friday, February 28, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 68,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
9/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"My car is five years old and still looks new and people love it. Great reliability and overall design."

4 people out of 8 found this review helpful

Awesome daily use four season vehicle

By on Monday, February 24, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 6,300

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "Fun to drive, comfortable ride, beautiful styling"

Cons: "No navi, no back up camera, rear leg room"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"The 2013 C300 Luxury edition is a beautiful vehicle that is a pleasure to drive. As a tall person, I was able to find a comfortable position, which is a rare in a car for me. It's stable, quiet, fuel efficient, and has great suspension/handleing. The ECO system is great in the city along with the break hold function. I really feel safe in this car. The all wheel drive 4-Matic works really well in snow and it stops on a dime, no matter what the weather conditions. I also like the telematics system for safety and convenience. The negatives include the lack of leg room for back seat passangers and the lack of features for a car in this price range. Features such as navigation, back up camera, a place to put your sunglasses, and iPod/iPhone intergration should have been standard."

1 person out of 1 found this review helpful

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Trading in or Selling? Know where you stand with the most up-to-date Kelley Blue Book Value at your fingertips. See your car's value

Buying this car?