2012 Mercedes-Benz C-Class

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2012 Mercedes-Benz C-Class Review

By Leigh Anne Sessions

KBB Expert Rating: 7.5

With two doors, a lower profile and seating for four, the 2012 C-Class coupe brings a whole new dimension - quite literally - to Mercedes-Benz's entry-level lineup. Available in turbocharged 4-cylinder, solid V6 and sports-sedan-proper V8 flavor, the rear-wheel-drive C-Class coupe offers something to suit anyone's luxury-minded driving desires. While offerings from BMW, Infiniti, Audi and Cadillac are already big players in the entry-level luxury coupe segment, this new kid on the block has the potential to bring new, younger buyers to the 3-pointed star brand.

You'll Like This Car If...

If you're looking for a 2-door luxury ride that serves sportiness with a healthy helping of comfort, you'll find that in the 2012 Mercedes-Benz C-Class coupe.

You May Not Like This Car If...

The 2012 Mercedes-Benz C-Class coupe is smaller, only available with rear-wheel drive and can end up being more expensive than quite a few of it competitors. If interior space, budget, and/or all-wheel drive are high on your consideration list, a BMW 3 Series, Cadillac CTS, Infiniti G37 or Audi A5 coupe might be a better fit.

What's New for 2012

The 2012 Mercedes-Benz C-Class coupe is a whole new visual twist on the automaker's entry-level U.S. sales star, as well as their first traditional coupe in this competitive luxury-minded market segment.

Driving the C-Class
Driving Impressions

Whether you choose the C-Class coupe in C250, C350 or C63 form, you'll get precise on-road performance and a well-crafted - and comfortable - in-cabin experience. Behind the wheel, we...

... were most impressed by the turbocharged 1.8-liter in the base C250. Responsive and fuel efficient, it's also the least expensive of the three engines offered - a win-win situation all around. The C-Class coupe's optional adaptive "Agility Control" suspension does an excellent job of canceling out most road imperfections without dialing back the driving experience too far, even when paired with 18-inch wheels. Getting into the rear seat of the C-Class coupe didn't require a background in gymnastics, but when it comes to actually sitting back there, we'd recommend putting passengers with longer legs or taller torsos in the front seat for longer rides.

Panoramic sunroof
The C-Class' panoramic sunroof functions as a glass roof, giving all passengers a chance to see the sun during the day and the stars at night.

1.8-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine
Standard in the C250, this engine offers plenty of power, little lag and commendable fuel economy for a commendable price.

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

Aluminum trim, a flat-bottom, 3-spoke steering wheel, paddle shifters, and bolstered sport seats with integrated head restraints all serve to remind whoever is behind the wheel of the 2012 Mercedes-Benz C-Class coupe that this 2-door has intentions of the sporty kind. C63 models are further differentiated with AMG-branded sport seats and can be had with carbon fiber trim. On all models, an all-glass panoramic sunroof lets in the sun - and makes the cabin feel more spacious - while keeping heat out with a retractable mesh sunshade.

2012 Mercedes-Benz C-Class photo

The 2012 Mercedes-Benz C-Class coupe sports a bold wedge-shaped look that starts with the vehicle's LED daytime running lights, distinctive 2-bar chrome grille (a single bar on the C63), long hood, sharply raked windshield and ends in the vehicle's short rear quarters highlighted by LED tailights. The 2012 C63 coupe distinguishes itself visually from its cylinder-challenged siblings with a deeper front apron, AMG daytime running lights, power domes on the hood, high-gloss AMG 5-spoke alloy wheels, a lower ride, and, in the rear, a black 3-fin air diffuser and four exhaust outlets. Despite its rather compact looks, it's worth noting that the C-Class coupe shares similar exterior dimensions with the C-Class sedan – although the coupe's roofline sits about 1.5 inches lower.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

The 2012 Mercedes-Benz C250 coupe comes with a 1.8-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine mated to a 7-speed automatic transmission, 17-inch staggered-width wheels, a sport suspension and creature comforts such as a 14-way power driver's seat, rain-sensing intermittent windshield wipers, auto-dimming driver-side and rearview mirrors, dual-zone climate control, HD Radio, Bluetooth hands-free calling and audio streaming, an auxiliary input jack, a USB port, and a 5.8-inch color display controlled via a knob near the driver's armrest. The C350 nets a 3.5-liter V6, paddle shifters and an upgraded sound system that includes Harman Kardon LOGIC 7 surround sound and an iPod interface. The top-of-the-line C63 adds a 6.3-liter V8, a 7-speed Multi-Clutch Technology (MCT) automatic transmission, an AMG-calibrated adaptive sport suspension, AMG exterior styling, 18-inch wheels, AMG sport seats and an AMG steering wheel with aluminum paddle shifters. Safety equipment for all C-Class coupes includes 11 airbags, electronic stability and traction controls, attention assist drowsiness detection system, adaptive brakes, automatic brake drying, hill-start assist, and adaptive braking.

Optional Equipment

Additional equipment for the 2012 Mercedes-Benz coupe varies by trim level but includes niceties like full leather seating surfaces, heated front seats, satellite radio, keyless start and entry, curve-illuminating bi-xenon headlamps, blind spot warning system, navigation system with an 80GB hard drive and voice control, a rearview camera and the Dynamic Handling Package, which includes the adaptive agility control suspension and 18-inch AMG 5-twin-spoke aluminum wheels.

Under the Hood

The rear-wheel-drive 2012 Mercedes-Benz C250 coupe is motivated by a 1.8-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine that produces 201 horsepower, while the C350 coupe gets its gusto from a V6 that puts out a healthy 302 hp. Both engines are mated to a new smooth 7-speed automatic transmission that helps them see highway fuel economy numbers in the 31/28 mpg range, respectively. The C63 coupe gets its grin-inducing muscle from AMG's hand-built 6.3-liter V8, which is paired with a 7-speed MCT automatic transmission that can rocket the car from 0-60 in 4.4 seconds. Those wanting more power under the hood in their C63 can opt for the AMG Development Package, upping the horsepower by 30 to 481 and reducing the 0-60 time to 4.3 seconds.

1.8-liter turbocharged in-line 4-cylinder
201 horsepower @ 5,500 rpm
229 lb-ft of torque @ 2,200-4,300 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 21/31

3.5-liter V6
302 horsepower @ 6,500 rpm
273 lb-ft of torque @ 3,500-5,250 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 19/28

6.3-liter V8
451 horsepower @ 6,500 rpm (481 horsepower with AMG Development Package)
443 lb-ft of torque @ 5,000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 13/19

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