See all NAIAS Auto Show articles



Auto Show:  2011 Naias

2012 Mercedes-Benz C-Class - 2011 Detroit Auto Show

January 2011 author photo


January 10, 2011

It’s mid-life revamp time for the Mercedes-Benz C-Class. This 2012-model compact executive sedan makes its official debut at the 2011 Detroit auto show. There are some slight cosmetic differences, although the company claims more than 2,000 new parts throughout. Looks-wise, the nose and headlights fall in line with more recent Benz family members and their design language.

The dashboard has had its architecture revised, with a new instrument panel and a new screen displaying high-resolution graphics set on top of the center console. Safety features on offer include blind spot monitoring, lane departure alert, assisted parking and adaptive bi-xenon headlamps. One especially useful piece of equipment is Attention Assist – you snooze, you lose control.

More significant changes take place under the new, weight-saving aluminum hood. The smallest engine, found in the C250, has a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine (new to the United States) that sports two turbochargers to develop 201 horsepower and 229 pound-feet of torque, plus a claimed average of 24 miles per gallon. The C350 is the most powerful in the range, now enjoying a hike of 34 hp to 302 hp and 273 lb-ft of torque from an all-new 3.5-liter V6. Its average of 21 mpg marks a five-percent improvement over its predecessor. No news is presumably good news for the C300, since it retains its 3.0-liter V6, power output of 228 hp and 221 lb-ft, along with combined fuel consumption of 20 mpg for the 4Matic all-wheel-drive model.

So far, so good. But there are rumblings of a C-Class AMG Black Series coupe – due this October – with a rumbling 5.5-liter twin-turbo V8, 563 hp, 664 lb-ft of torque, and plans to eat the BMW M3’s lunch.

author photoCOLIN RYAN has driven hundreds of cars thousands of miles while writing for BBC Top Gear magazine, Popular Mechanics, the Los Angeles Times, European Car, Import Tuner and many other publications, websites, TV shows, etc.

This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
2012 Mercedes-Benz C-Class - 2011 Detroit Auto Show - Autotrader