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2012 Mercedes-Benz C-Class: New Car Review – Video

Editor’s note: You may also want to read Autotrader’s 2013, 2014 or 2015 Mercedes-Benz C-Class review.


Clarence Barnes: You know, it wouldn’t be right to call the mid-cycle refresh to the 2012 Mercedes-Benz C-Class just a few minor tweaks. With a new coupe model and loads of new components, the C-Class has really added some shine to an already solid reputation.

Amanda Salas: I agree with you, Clarence. This five-passenger luxury compact is strong on performance and loaded with those creature comforts, making it a fierce competitor to the Lexus IS350, BMW 335i and the Infiniti G37.

Clarence: You know, at first glance, you might not notice the C-Class sedan’s exterior changes: a subtle reworking of the bumpers; new one-piece jewel case taillights, a new aluminum hood that meets the headlamps in a way that accentuates the sculpted Mercedes look.

Amanda: That seems to be the point-bring the C-Class styling in line with the rest of the brand while bringing the dedicated coupe driver into the mix.

Here in the cabin, some serious reworking has the C-Class looking a lot more sophisticated, like the CLS-Class. Everything on the dash is a lot nicer, including the way the integrated color display fits into place.

Clarence: And there’s an impressive list of luxury-minded features starting with standard power tilt/sliding sunroof.

Amanda: The Nappa-leather-wrapped multifunction steering wheel is now standard equipment as well.

Clarence: Optional features include this 12-speaker Harman Kardon Logic7 surround sound system, a panorama roof and high-tech driving aids like Lane Keeping Assist and Blind Spot Assist that were previously offered only on the more expensive Mercedes models.

The C-Class comes with a choice of three engines, all sending power through a seven-speed automatic transmission. You can get a turbocharged 1.8-liter 4 making 201 horsepower in the C250 like the one we’re testing today, a three-liter V6 making 228 horsepower in the C300…

Amanda: …or a 302-horsepower 3.5-liter V6 in the C350. With 34 additional horsepower than last year’s C350, the new V6 launches it from 0 to 60 in less than six seconds.

Clarence: And, thanks to the long-awaited addition of direct injection to the C-Class engines, it delivers better fuel economy than last year’s model: 20 miles per gallon city, 29 highway.

Amanda: That’s actually better than the smaller C300!

Clarence: But for the more frugal shopper, this new C250 will be the real draw. Based around the less costly turbocharged 1.8-liter engine, it’s the least expensive and gets good fuel economy of 21 city, 31 highway.

Amanda: With pricing starting at just under $35,000 for the sedan and a little over $37,000 for the new coupe, you’d have to really nitpick to find fault with what Mercedes-Benz has done to the 2012 C-Class.

Clarence: Although it’s not exactly an all-out sport sedan, if you opt for the C350 you’ll be driving a credible challenge to the BMW 335i, and at a price that’s about $2,000 less.

Amanda: Making a long list of improvements and adding an all-new coupe mid-cycle may be rare for a manufacturer, especially Mercedes-Benz.

Clarence: But in the case of the C-Class, what has evolved is a rare breed of luxury compact car. We like the end result, and we think you will, too!

Find a 2012 Mercedes-Benz C-Class for sale


Our editors are here to make car buying easier. We’ve driven, reviewed and compared thousands of cars. We’ve bought and sold more than our fair share, too. And as part of the sprawling Cox Automotive group of companies, we have exclusive access to a range of valuable data and insights. Whether you’re looking for the best car, the best deal or the best buying advice, you can trust... Read More about Autotrader

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