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2012 Mercedes-Benz C-Class

Overview
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2012 Mercedes-Benz C-Class Review

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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.

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

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2012 Mercedes-Benz C-Class Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
9.2
Out of 10

Based on 262 Ratings for the 2008 - 2014 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    9.1/10
    Quality
    9.4/10
  • Reliability
    9.5/10
    Performance
    9.3/10
  • Comfort
    9.2/10
    Styling
    9.4/10

A Myth

By on Saturday, October 11, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 27,000

10 2.0
overall rating 2 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
2/10
Value
2/10
Reliability
1/10
Quality
3/10
Performance
8/10
Styling
5/10
Comfort
4/10

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

"Purchased this car brand new as a retirement "gift" to myself.It broke down twice with electrical problems within the first five thousand miles and had to be towed each time.Three of the four tires developed "bubbles" within the first three thousand miles...obviously defective.The control(s)for the interior electronics are overly complicated and just downright annoying.The navigation system is the worst I have ever seen. Small trunk. The AWD and suspension keep the car hugging the road in all weather conditions. The overall ride and handling is very good.Gas(premium)mileage very good...better than posted. Transmission shifts flawlessly. Engine and transmission virtually silent on the road. Keep in mind when purchasing any Mercedes that preventative maintenance and repair costs are astronomical."

5 people out of 7 found this review helpful

My First Merecedes

By on Wednesday, October 08, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 15,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Look, Gas mileage and power"

Cons: "Its a coupe low setting as expected."

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

"First let me say that i am a Honda/Toyota Person, reason they have always been great to me. We started looking for a luxury coupe and looked at the Accord and Lexus, Acura, Saab and we came across the C250. The look and feel of the car just won us over. I have a friend that really loves the Merecedes brand and i researched as much as i could and we bought a 13 slighly used with 12k miles. We took it out recently for a 4 day trip, 1500 miles and i fely compelded to review the car. I ran it in the E mode got as high as 38mpg but with mixed driving we average 34mpg. Driving the car in the mountains of Wv and Va with the cruise set to 78 i noticed not one time did it down shift to maintain the speed and it did not vary. That wand the way this car drives and handles we just loved the car. So far we are really impressed with it."

4 people out of 7 found this review helpful

awesome handling..

By on Saturday, October 04, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 55,000

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

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

"i bought this car used 40000mi...it drives and handles great it feels really tight and grips the road great....the brakes are the best i have ever had in a car. i have close to 60000 and still have lots of pad the only thing that is hard to get used to is that it sits low to the ground and getting out is noticeable that your sitting low. love the looks and driving feel of this car ...it handles better than my 2009 Lexus es350...the Lexus has a very soft ride"

3 people out of 5 found this review helpful

One of five MBs I've owned

By on Wednesday, October 01, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 16,500

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
6/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
8/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Good auto with decent gas mileage"

Cons: "Turbo lag"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8

"Only gripe is the fact that the turbo takes a second or two to spool up. Difficult in an emergency. Otherwise, a good solid car."

2 people out of 4 found this review helpful

First Benz

By on Monday, September 29, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 10,000

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Good price, fun to drive, turns heads, comfortable"

Cons: "Seems like there are lots of C250s out there."

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

"This car was bought to replace a Lexus IS 250. While looking at IS 250 F she decided to look at the MB dealership. We found this little gem and have been quite pleased since. We also have a 3 series BMW. This car is not as quick as the BMW but it has long legs and once you are moving it does not waste any time getting into triple digits on the speedo. It is bigger than the Lexus but not to big. We did not want a large car. I have been impressed with the Nav system and the link to our phones. I also have been very impressed with the mileage. I tend to drive hard and fast. This car has not disappointed the gear head in me. Of course I always want more power and I think in a few years we will move up to the larger C350 but until then, I will be enjoying this little gem."

2 people out of 6 found this review helpful

Fun to drive, sporty luxurious looks

By on Friday, September 19, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 16,500

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
7/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Very resonsive driving. Power of a 6."

Cons: "MB tex a/k/a vinyl. Small if it's the only car."

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8

"V6 so there's real power when needed. Benz quality fit and finish. Absolutely silent when stopped. Black with tan interior; several have commented how good it looks (it does)."

14 people out of 23 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?