Best Bet
  • (4.5) 55 reviews
  • MSRP: $4,860–$30,092
  • Body Style: Sedan
  • Combined MPG: 16-26
  • Engine: 201-hp, 1.8-liter I-4 (premium)
  • Drivetrain: Rear-wheel Drive
  • Transmission: 7-speed automatic w/OD and auto-manual
2012 Mercedes-Benz C-Class

Our Take on the Latest Model 2012 Mercedes-Benz C-Class

What We Don't Like

  • Many features optional
  • Premium gas required
  • No wagon style
  • Manual transmission discontinued

Notable Features

  • Updated styling inside and out
  • New coupe body style
  • Improved fuel efficiency
  • New turbo four-cylinder
  • Optional all-wheel drive
  • Next-generation telematics

2012 Mercedes-Benz C-Class Reviews

Vehicle Overview

Mercedes-Benz has updated its C-Class for the 2012 model year. The exterior changes are mild, but the interior upgrades are substantial, as is required in this competitive compact-luxury sedan class. The updated C-Class is scheduled to hit dealerships in summer 2011. Competitors include the Audi A4, BMW 3 Series, Infiniti G37 and Cadillac CTS.

The three models are the new C250, C300 and C350, which come in regular and Sport trim versions. There's also a C-Class coupe — a first for the nameplate since 2005. The high-performance C63 AMG lives on; it's available in both coupe and sedan body styles.

(Skip to details on the: C-Class Coupe | C63 AMG)

Exterior
The C-Class' styling has been refreshed, but not completely redesigned. The restyled front end takes after the current E-Class, with resculpted headlights and horizontal LED running lights in the bumper. The eyelash highlight from the 2011 C-Class is gone. Bi-xenon headlamps are optional. The most noticeable changes around back are the new taillight assemblies, which integrate LED lighting in a continuous band.

Interior
Interior trim choices include brushed aluminum, black ash and matte-finish burl walnut wood. A row of metallic buttons anchor a newly designed center control panel.

A new instrument panel package brings a high-resolution color LCD screen to the center-mounted speedometer. The whole panel isn't LCD, as it is on the S-Class and CL-Class. The screen is outlined by a conventional analog speedometer ring.

Entertainment features include a new generation of Mercedes' Comand system, Bluetooth audio streaming and a USB port in the center armrest.

Under the Hood
The C-Class offers three engines. The C250 has a new 201-horsepower, turbocharged 1.8-liter four-cylinder with direct injection. The C300 with 4Matic all-wheel drive has a 228-hp, 3.0-liter V-6, and the C350 has a 302-hp, 3.5-liter V-6 with direct injection, up from 268 hp in 2011. Fuel efficiency is 5 percent higher in the largest engine, Mercedes says.

All models use a seven-speed automatic transmission, and a new lightweight aluminum hood contributes to better gas mileage. Mercedes says the C250 will get 24 mpg in combined city/highway driving, a 15 percent improvement over last year's C300. The C300 is rated 20 mpg, and the C350 is 21 mpg. The company cites zero-to-60-mph times of 7.1 seconds for the C250 and C300. It's 5.9 seconds for the C350.

Safety
As required by federal law for all 2012 models, the C-Class has standard antilock brakes, traction control and an electronic stability system. Frontal, side-impact and side curtain airbags are also standard.

Standard and optional high-tech safety features include blind spot monitoring, lane departure warning and Attention Assist, which detects erratic driving and suggests the driver take a rest.

C-Class Coupe
Unlike the prior-generation C-Class coupe, which was more of a hatchback, the new coupe is a legitimate two-door car. Sharing the same wheelbase as the sedan, the coupe has the same length and width, but its height is down 1.5 inches. In profile, its belt line rises more steeply than the sedan's, with windowsills that curl up into the C-pillars.

Inside, the coupe gets unique one-piece seats with integrated head restraints. It adopts the same dash as the sedan, complete with Mercedes' latest Comand system and three-dimensional city maps. Headroom in the two-position rear seat drops 1.4 inches versus the sedan's backseat; the drop in legroom is more substantial. Cargo volume drops slightly, to 11.7 cubic feet, versus 12.4 cubic feet in the sedan.

The coupe comes in rear-wheel-drive C250 and C350 variants — there's no all-wheel-drive C300 coupe — with a 201-hp, turbocharged four-cylinder (C250) or a 302-hp, 3.5-liter V-6 (C350). Both cars use a seven-speed automatic. (Back to top)

C63 AMG
Available as a sedan or coupe, the C63 bears more aggressive styling, complete with a wider track, glossy black bumper portions and unique 18-inch wheels. Under its hood is a 451-hp V-8 that drives the rear wheels through the new seven-speed automatic from the AMG variants of the E-Class and CLS-Class. The automatic uses a wet startup clutch and a multiclutch pack to shift once you're moving. It's not to be confused with the old C63's seven-speed auto, whose transmission used a more conventional torque converter.

The suspension and steering have been tuned for higher performance, and the C63's brake rotors measure 14.2 inches in diameter up front — nearly an inch wider than the C350's discs. An optional AMG Development Package adds lightweight drivetrain components that reduce engine friction, bumping horsepower to 481. It gets the C63 AMG to 60 mph in just 4.3 seconds, a tenth of a second quicker than cars without the package. (Back to top)

Consumer Reviews

(4.5)

Average based on 55 reviews

Write a Review

Love my car!

by JasonRazz from Payne, Ohio on November 19, 2017

This is the car I've been dreaming of owning and didn't know it. I'm 6 ft tall and this car fits me like my favorite pair of shoes. You know what I'm talking about. The lines and stance of the outside... Read Full Review

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10 Trims Available

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Wondering which configuration is right for you?
Our 2012 Mercedes-Benz C-Class trim comparison will help you decide.

2012 Mercedes-Benz C-Class Safety Ratings

Crash-Test Reports

IIHS Ratings

Based on Mercedes-Benz C-Class Base

Head Restraints and Seats
G
Moderate overlap front
G
Roof Strength
G
Side
G

IIHS Ratings

Based on Mercedes-Benz C-Class Base

G Good
A Acceptable
M Marginal
P Poor

Head Restraints and Seats

Dynamic Rating
G
Overall Rear
G
Seat Head/Restraint Geometry
G

Moderate overlap front

Chest
G
Head/Neck
G
Left Leg/Foot
G
Overall Front
G
Restraints
G
Right Leg/Foot
G
Structure/safety cage
G

Other

Roof Strength
G

Side

Driver Head Protection
G
Driver Head and Neck
G
Driver Pelvis/Leg
G
Driver Torso
G
Overall Side
G
Rear Passenger Head Protection
G
Rear Passenger Head and Neck
G
Rear Passenger Pelvis/Leg
G
Rear Passenger Torso
G
Structure/safety cage
G

Small overlap front

Small overlap front
P
Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) is a nonprofit research and communications organization funded by auto insurers. IIHS rates vehicles good, acceptable, marginal or poor based on performance in high-speed front and side crash tests. IIHS also evaluates seat/head restraints for protection against neck injuries in rear impacts.

NHTSA Ratings

Based on Mercedes-Benz C-Class Base

Overall
Overall Front
Overall Side
Overall Rollover Rating

NHTSA Ratings

Based on Mercedes-Benz C-Class Base

Overall
Overall Front
Overall Side
Overall Rollover Rating
Driver's
Passenger's
Side Barrier
Side Barrier Rating Driver
Side Barrier Rating Passenger Rear Seat
Side Pole
Side Pole Barrier combined (Front)
Side Pole Barrier combined (Rear)
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is part of the U.S. Department of Transportation. NHTSA provides vehicle safety information such as front- and side-crash ratings and rollover ratings. Vehicles are rated using a star rating system from 1-5 stars, with 5 being the highest.

Recalls

There are currently 11 recalls for this car.


Safety defects and recalls are relatively common. Stay informed and know what to do ahead of time.

Safety defects and recalls explained

Service & Repair

Estimated Service & Repair cost: $3,000 per year.

Save on maintenance costs and do your own repairs.

Warranty Coverage

Bumper-to-Bumper

48mo/50,000mi

Powertrain

48mo/50,000mi

Roadside Assistance Coverage

48mo/50,000mi

What you should get in your warranty can be confusing. Make sure you are informed.

Learn More About Warranties

Warranties Explained

Bumper-to-Bumper

Often called a basic warranty or new-vehicle warranty, a bumper-to-bumper policy covers components like air conditioning, audio systems, vehicle sensors, fuel systems and major electrical components. Most policies exclude regular maintenance like fluid top offs and oil changes, but a few brands have separate free-maintenance provisions, and those that do offer them is slowly rising. Bumper-to-bumper warranties typically expire faster than powertrain warranties.

Powertrain

Don't be misled a 10-year or 100,000-mile powertrain warranty doesn't promise a decade of free repairs for your car. It typically covers just the engine and transmission, along with any other moving parts that lead to the wheels, like the driveshaft and constant velocity joints. Some automakers also bundle seat belts and airbags into their powertrain warranties. With a few exceptions, powertrain warranties don't cover regular maintenance like engine tuneups and tire rotations.

Roadside Assistance

Some automakers include roadside assistance with their bumper-to-bumper or powertrain warranties, while others have separate policies. These programs cover anything from flat-tire changes and locksmith services to jump-starts and towing. Few reimburse incidental costs like motel rooms (if you have to wait for repairs).

Free Scheduled Maintenance

Some automakers include free scheduled maintenance for items such as oil changes, air filters and tire rotations. Some include consumables including brake pads and windshield wipers; others do not. They are typically for the first couple of years of ownership of a new car.

Other Years