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2012 Mercedes-Benz C-Class: Used Car Review

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ADDITIONAL MODEL INFORMATION

author photo by Joe Tralongo August 2015

If you feel the only car for you is a premium European luxury sedan, but your budget is pointing you in the direction of a new Toyota Camry or Honda Accord, you might consider shopping for a previously owned 2012 Mercedes-Benz C-Class. Recognized around the world for its detailed luxury, superior engineering and outstanding safety, an entry-level C-Class delivers all the room and comfort of midsize family sedan but with oh so much more class. The 2012 C-Class sees some major improvements over the 2011 car, including the addition a new coupe model, the turbocharged 4-cylinder C250 trim, a more powerful and fuel-efficient direct-injection V6 engine in the C350 and the addition of standard all-wheel drive to the C300 trim. There's also a new front grille and bumper, a revised interior and more standard features. In all, the 2012 C-Class has more than 2,000 new parts added or changed.

While the thought of buying a used luxury car is tempting, keep in mind that the routine maintenance intervals can leave owners with sticker shock. Future repairs can also be rather expensive. If you're still keen on the idea of a used luxury car, you may want to consider some of the C-Class' competitors. The Audi A4, Infiniti G37 and Cadillac CTS offer luxury features such as adaptive cruise control, heated rear seats and adaptive front lighting, none of which can be found on the 2012 C-Class. Still, the C-Class' 3-point star is, in the eyes of many, the ultimate status symbol.

What We Like

Excellent safety ratings; comfortable ride; handsome interior; enthusiast-oriented AMG model; good reliability and resale figures

What We Don't

Missing some key luxury features found on competitors; standard maintenance can be expensive; not the most powerful engines in its class; all-wheel drive for the sedan is only available on the weaker C300 trim

Fuel Economy & Engine Specs

The C250 is powered by a 1.8-liter, 4-cylinder turbocharged engine good for 201 horsepower and 209 lb-ft of torque. A 7-speed automatic is standard on all models. EPA fuel economy for this engine is 21 miles per gallon city and 31 mpg on the highway.

The C300 4MATIC is powered by a 3.0-liter V6 engine, which is good for 228 hp and 221 lb-ft of torque. 4MATIC all-wheel drive is also available. Fuel economy for C300 is rated at 18 mpg city/25 mpg hwy.

The C350 uses a larger 3.5-liter V6 with output rising to 302 hp and 273 lb-ft of torque. Fuel economy is rated at 20 mpg city/29 mpg hwy, and the C63 AMG is equipped with a 451-hp 6.2-liter V8 with 433 lb-ft of torque. Environmental Protection Agency fuel economy ratings for the C63 AMG are rather dismal at 12 mpg city/19 mpg hwy, but that's the price you pay for power.

Standard Features & Options

The 2012 Mercedes-Benz C-Class comes in four models: C250, C300, C350 and C63 AMG. All but the C300 are available in either sedan or coupe form.

Standard on the C250 and C300 sedan is a power sunroof, an 8-speaker 100-watt sound system with a CD player and auxiliary input jack, 8-way power front seats with manual lumbar support, MB-Tex vinyl seating, Bluetooth, 17-inch alloy wheels, the Agility Control selective-dampening suspension, Attention Assist drowsiness monitor, 5.8-in color monitor with center controller, a 7-speed automatic transmission, cruise control, auto on/off headlights, dual-zone automatic climate control and a tilt-telescopic steering wheel.

The C250 coupe adds a power tilt-telescopic steering wheel, panoramic sunroof and paddle shifters. The C300 sedan comes standard with 4MATIC all-wheel drive.

The C350 Sport adds heated front seats, a 10-way power driver's seat, Harman/Kardon upgraded audio, a power tilt-telescopic steering column, rain-sensing wipers and power-folding and auto-dimming side mirrors.

The C350 Sport coupe adds 4MATIC all-wheel drive and a panoramic sunroof.

The C63 AMG adds a 6.2-liter V8, 18-in wheels and performance tires, 6-piston performance brakes and AMG interior trim, which includes bolstered sport seats, a flat-bottomed steering wheel and aluminum paddle shifters. Styling changes include a bulging hood, ground effects, a rear trunk-lid spoiler and slated vents in the front air dam.

The C63 AMG Black Series coupe gains a 510-hp 6.3-liter engine, an adjustable coil over suspension, upgraded brakes, 19-in wheels, a limited-slip rear differential, 2-person sport-seat cockpit (the rear seat can be replaced as a factory option) and unique exterior and interior trim.

Options vary by trim and include navigation, 450-watt Harman Kardon Logic 7 surround-sound audio with iPod connectivity and 6 gigabytes of music storage, leather upholstery, a panoramic glass sunroof, bi-xenon headlights, satellite radio, blind spot and lane-departure warning, keyless entry with push-button starting, a rear sunshade and 18-in wheels.

Optional in the C63 AMG sedan is the Development package that bumps horsepower to 481 and adds an available limited-slip rear differential.

Pricing

The C-Class holds its value fairly well in the first three years, then sees average depreciation values after that. A 2012 model with low miles that's in good condition shouldn't be hard to find. If you can find a certified pre-owned (see the Safety Ratings & Warranties section for details) model, it may be your best bet. You can also search the Autotrader Classifieds to see what models are currently for sale in your area.

Recalls

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has issued no recalls for the 2012 C-Class from Mercedes-Benz. You can also check the NHTSA website by entering your vehicle's VIN for a list of performed recall repairs.

Recall repairs are required by law, even if the vehicle is out of warranty. Your dealer can check to see if the repairs were performed, and if not, will fix the car at no charge to you.

Safety Ratings & Warranties

Standard safety features on the 2012 C-Class include 11 airbags, adaptive braking, traction and stability control and active front head restraints. In crash tests, the government gives the C-Class four out of five stars overall, with three stars in the front-end crash test, five in the side-impact test and four stars in the rollover test. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) gives the C-Class top ratings in all but its small-overlap crash test, in which it scored a "Poor" rating. Still, IIHS named the C-Class a Top Safety Pick for 2012.

Mercedes-Benz provided the C-Class with a 4-year/50,000-mile fully transferable warranty for the engine, powertrain and bumper-to-bumper coverage. Although this warranty may likely be expired for the 2012 C-Class, there is another option. If you buy a certified pre-owned (CPO) C-Class, you'll receive a vehicle that has undergone a rigorous inspection by a certified Mercedes-Benz technician. The CPO vehicle warranty covers the car for 12 months, with no mileage limit, from the date of sale. Buyers can also opt for extended coverage for up to 2 years (and unlimited miles) from the original service date, after the limited warranty expires. All CPO cars must be less than 6 years old to qualify for the program.

Other Cars to Consider

2012 Audi A4 -- The A4 offers a more luxurious interior, better audio and navigation interfaces, and better fuel economy, but no V6 option.

2012 Infiniti G37 -- The G37 offers more features, a more powerful V6 engine and better handling. It also offers a manual transmission on the sportiest trim.

2012 BMW 3 Series -- The 3 Series offers more power, superior handling and more features, plus equally strong resale values. The C-Class Luxury, however, offers a softer ride.

Autotrader's Advice

If you're looking for a comfortable car with premium luxury features and a reasonable price, the C250 is the way to go. Those needing the traction of all-wheel drive should look to the C300. You can move up to more powerful and better equipped versions like the C350 and AMG trims, but the price will push well past the $30,000 mark.

Find a Mercedes-Benz C-Class for sale

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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: Used Car Review - Autotrader