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

  • Competes with: BMW 3 Series, Audi A4, Infiniti G37, Volvo S60
  • Looks like: The last C-Class with a slightly nicer interior
  • Drivetrain: 201-hp, turbocharged four-cylinder; 228-hp and 302 hp-V-6 engines
  • Hits dealerships: Summer 2011

The 2012 C-Class doesn’t look much different on the outside, but we can hope the changes made to the inside are more noticeable. Mercedes promises that the 2012 model will feature an entirely new dashboard with higher-end materials and other improved surfaces throughout the cabin. There’s also a new steering wheel borrowed from the redesigned CLS-Class and a new multimedia system.

These additions are welcomed, since our last drive in a C-Class detailed just how far behind it was in the segment in terms of a top-notch interior.

That may be the most important improvement to car shoppers when they sit in one at the Detroit auto show next month, but much more has changed. The exterior gets slightly different front and rear treatments, including new headlights and taillights, and elements like an aluminum hood to make the car lighter are standard across the line.

A big change for U.S. customers is an available turbocharged four-cylinder C250 model for 2012. It makes 201 horsepower and 229 pounds-feet of torque and gets 24 mpg combined. This should make for an efficient ride while remaining a lively alternative to the C300 4Matic with a V-6 engine putting out 228 horses and 20 mpg combined.

The C350 gets a big boost in power, though, with a new direct-injected V-6 pushing power to 302 hp with 21 mpg combined. That’s up from 268 in the previous C350.
All the improvements should be welcomed, but with an on-sale date of this summer, what’s a Mercedes shopper to do in the meantime?


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