2012 Mercedes-Benz C-Class Review | Edmunds.com

2012 Mercedes-Benz C-Class

Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) is a category of used car. Often late-model vehicles, they have been inspected, refurbished, if necessary, and are under warranty by the manufacturer.
Mercedes-Benz C-Class Features and Specs

Features & Specs

  • Engine 1.8 L Inline 4-cylinder
  • Drivetrain Rear Wheel Drive
  • Transmission 7-speed Automatic
  • Horse Power 201 hp @ 5500 rpm
  • Fuel Economy 21/31 mpg
  • Bluetooth Yes
  • Navigation No
  • Heated Seats Yes

Review of the 2012 Mercedes-Benz C-Class

  • With several key changes for 2012, the Mercedes-Benz C-Class reaffirms its status as one of the best luxury sport sedans while chiseling out a similar position with its new coupe model.

  • Safety
  • Pros

    Diverse engine and model lineup; meticulously engineered and constructed; refined ride and handling; excellent brakes; good fuel economy; rip-roaring C63 AMG model.

  • Cons

    Smaller and pricier than some competitors; all-wheel drive only available with one engine.

  • What's New for 2012

    Many changes are in evidence with the 2012 Mercedes-Benz C-Class. For the first time ever, a new coupe model debuts and is offered in the same configurations as the sedan. The C-Class is also more powerful and fuel-efficient this year, as the C350's V6 gets a big bump in horsepower, while a new turbocharged four-cylinder model debuts in a new trim, the C250. The C300's engine remains the same, but is now only available with all-wheel drive. The seven-speed automatic transmission has been altered for improved fuel efficiency, while the C63 gets the automated manual found in most other AMG models. Other changes include additional standard equipment, new front-end styling and a revised interior that does away with the old pop-up LCD infotainment screen.

Full 2012 Mercedes-Benz C-Class Review

What's New for 2012

Many changes are in evidence with the 2012 Mercedes-Benz C-Class. For the first time ever, a new coupe model debuts and is offered in the same configurations as the sedan. The C-Class is also more powerful and fuel-efficient this year, as the C350's V6 gets a big bump in horsepower, while a new turbocharged four-cylinder model debuts in a new trim, the C250. The C300's engine remains the same, but is now only available with all-wheel drive. The seven-speed automatic transmission has been altered for improved fuel efficiency, while the C63 gets the automated manual found in most other AMG models. Other changes include additional standard equipment, new front-end styling and a revised interior that does away with the old pop-up LCD infotainment screen.


While other luxury sedans chase down the BMW 3 Series with talk of increased sportiness and improved lap times around some racetrack in a German forest, the 2012 Mercedes-Benz C-Class is very much its own car. Oh, it can still be plenty sporty, but not at the expense of ride comfort or the general dynamic qualities indicative of its brand.

The most obvious addition for 2012 is the new C-Class coupe, which gives Mercedes a more affordable entry in the two-door segment than the old CLK. Shared between both coupe and sedan is revised styling, with more curvaceous headlamps and better integrated LED running lights. The interior also has been reworked with higher-quality materials, a more visually interesting design and a fixed display screen in lieu of the old pop-up unit.

The engine lineup has been diversified for 2012. Is fuel economy a priority? The new C250 model has an efficient yet reasonably punchy turbocharged four-cylinder. Live in a frosty clime? The C300 4Matic comes standard with all-wheel drive. Should you want class-competitive power, the C350 now provides it with 302 horsepower (last year's C350 made 268 hp). And finally, there's the C63 AMG, which is essentially a German muscle car cranking out 451 tire-smoking horses.

In total, the 2012 Mercedes-Benz C-Class now offers more choice while adding to its already impressive array of talents. Of course, it still resides in a segment with quality picks such as the Audi A4, BMW 3 Series, Infiniti G and Volvo S60. We recommend them all, but there's only one car in the class that provides the honest, unapologetic and meticulously engineered goodness of a genuine Mercedes-Benz.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

The 2012 Mercedes-Benz C-Class is available in sedan and coupe body styles, both of which are available in C250, C350 and C63 AMG trim levels. The sedan is furthermore available as a C300 4Matic, while the coupe gets a C350 4Matic and a C63 AMG Black Series.

The C250 and C300 trims all come standard with 17-inch wheels, automatic headlights, LED running lights, automatic wipers, a sunroof, cruise control, dual-zone automatic climate control, eight-way power front seats (with adjustable lumbar), MB-Tex vinyl upholstery, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, auto-dimming interior and driver-side mirrors, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, and a sound system with a CD player, auxiliary audio jack, a USB audio jack and HD radio. The C300 4Matic adds all-wheel drive and a V6 engine.

In sedan form, the C250 and C300 are further differentiated into Luxury and Sport sub-trims. These differ in wheel design, suspension tuning, styling details, steering wheel design and interior trim type. When equipped with 4Matic all-wheel drive, the Luxury also includes a comfort-tuned suspension. The Premium 1 package adds on four-way adjustable lumbar support for the front seats, heated front seats, driver memory functions, a power-adjustable steering wheel, split-folding rear seats and a Harman Kardon surround-sound audio system with satellite radio and an iPod interface (optional separately as well).

In coupe form, the C250 gets a panoramic sunroof, split-folding rear seats, additional driver seat adjustments, driver memory functions and a power tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel. The coupe's Premium 1 package adds the heated seats and the Harman Kardon system with satellite radio and an iPod interface.

The C350 sedan comes only in Sport guise, with a bigger V6 engine and the Premium 1 package standard; the C350 coupe adds a panoramic sunroof. The C63 AMG is equipped similarly in terms of comfort and convenience features, but gets 18-inch wheels, high-performance tires, an adaptive sport-tuned suspension, upgraded brakes, sport seats, more aggressive styling and different interior trim.

There are a multitude of options available for the 2012 C-Class. The COMAND package adds a larger central infotainment screen, a navigation system, real-time traffic, voice controls, digital music storage and a single-CD player. A six-CD changer can also be added. The Lighting package adds adaptive bi-xenon headlights with washers and automatic high beams. The Lane Tracking package adds a blind-spot warning system and a lane-departure warning system. Stand-alone options include a rearview camera, Mercedes-Benz mbrace emergency telematics, a panoramic sunroof (on the sedan), a power rear sunshade, keyless ignition/entry and the Parktronic advanced parking sensor system.

All but the C63 can be equipped with the Full Leather Seating package, which includes extended leather trim, additional passenger seat adjustments and passenger seat memory functions.

The C63 can be equipped with the AMG Development package, which adds 30 extra horsepower, a higher top speed, red brake calipers and a carbon-fiber trunk lid spoiler. A limited-slip differential is offered.

Available only as a coupe, the C63 AMG Black Series brings even more performance. It gets more power, an adjustable coil-over sport suspension, high-performance composite brakes, extra engine cooling, a rear axle differential lock, a wider track, aerodynamic body modifications, special 19-inch wheels, a rear diffuser, a two-seat interior, sport seats, microfiber upholstery and steering wheel trim, and special interior design elements. The AMG Track package adds ultra-high-performance tires and an active cooling unit for the rear axle. The AMG Aerodynamics package includes added exterior winglets and an adjustable carbon-fiber rear spoiler.

Powertrains and Performance

The 2012 Mercedes-Benz C250 is powered by a turbocharged 1.8-liter four-cylinder that produces 201 hp and 229 pound-feet of torque. Rear-wheel drive and a seven-speed automatic are standard. In Edmunds performance testing, a C250 Sport sedan went from zero to 60 mph in 7.4 seconds -- about a second slower than the four-cylinder-powered Audi A4. EPA-estimated fuel economy is 21 mpg city/31 mpg highway and 25 mpg combined, which is very good for the segment.

The all-wheel-drive Mercedes-Benz C300 4Matic is powered by a 3.0-liter V6 that produces 228 hp and 221 lb-ft of torque. According to Mercedes, it should match the acceleration of the lighter C250. Fuel economy stands at 18/25/20.

Under the hood of the Mercedes-Benz C350 is a 3.5-liter V6 good for 302 hp and 273 lb-ft of torque. Rear-wheel drive is standard, and all-wheel drive comes with the C350 4Matic coupe. In Edmunds testing, it went from zero to 60 in 5.6 seconds -- a number on par with the quicker members of its class. Fuel economy is an excellent 20/29/23.

With the Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG, you get a 6.2-liter V8 that cranks out 451 hp and 443 lb-ft of torque; add the AMG Development package and horsepower gets bumped up to 481. A seven-speed automated manual transmission is standard. In Edmunds performance testing, a C63 Coupe with the AMG Development package went from zero to 60 mph in an incredible 4.2 seconds. Fuel economy is 13/19/15.

The C63 AMG Black Series gets a more powerful version of the 6.2-liter V8 good for 510 hp and 457 lb-ft of torque. That should obviously make it quicker than the regular model.


Every 2012 Mercedes-Benz C-Class comes standard with stability and traction control, antilock brakes, a driver knee airbag, front side thorax airbags, front side pelvic airbags and full-length curtain airbags. Also standard is Mercedes Attention Assist, which monitors the driver for signs of drowsiness and inattention. Rear side thorax airbags are standard on the coupe and optional on the sedan. Other safety-oriented options include the Lane Tracking package -- which adds a blind-spot warning system and a lane-departure warning system -- and Mercedes-Benz mbrace emergency telematics.

In Edmunds brake testing, a C350 Sport came to a stop from 60 mph in 108 feet. The C250 Sport and C63 came within 5 feet of matching that outstanding distance.

In government crash testing, the C-Class sedan received an overall crash rating of four out of five stars, with three stars overall in a frontal crash and five stars overall in a side crash. In testing done by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, the C-Class sedan received top marks, including a "Good" rating for frontal-offset, side impact and roof-strength tests.

Interior Design and Special Features

Just tugging on the C-Class' door handle makes you feel as if you've cracked open an impenetrable vault. This model's interior was always well crafted, but it gets even better for 2012, with upgraded switchgear and a more eye-pleasing design. The controls are straightforward for this class of car, and Mercedes' optional COMAND electronics interface is fairly easy to use; the iPod interface is particularly user-friendly and quick to respond. The COMAND screen no longer pops out of the dash like before, and it seems like a good change to us, as it's a cleaner look and one less thing to go wrong.

Though the sedan is bigger than previous C-Class editions, it's hardly the best choice for growing families. Some might find a child seat difficult to install in the narrow, bucketlike backseat positions, and the 12.4-cubic-foot trunk is on the small side.

As for the coupe, it shouldn't come as a surprise that its backseat is quite cramped. Legroom is about par for the segment (squished), while headroom is non-existent for those taller than about 5-foot-8. In total, the C-Class coupe is less accommodating than the 3 Series coupe, no worse than an A5 and better than a Cadillac CTS Coupe. Its trunk of 11.7 cubic feet is average-sized for the small luxury coupe class.

Driving Impressions

Regardless of whether you opt for the 2012 C250, C300 or C350, Mercedes' entry-level luxury car boasts precise steering and handling, as well as overall driving dynamics that are comparable to other sedans and coupes in the segment. Despite their more sporting character, the Sport variants offer a firm but perfectly damped ride and the ability to tackle long road trips with ease. The Luxury variants ride a little softer and have a quieter exhaust system, resulting in a more serene driving environment.

Though the C250's four-cylinder isn't as potent as the turbocharged four-cylinder in the Audi A4/A5, it's far quieter, more refined and gets slightly better fuel economy. There's absolutely no shame in opting for the base model C-Class. The C300 4Matic offers slightly more power, but is really only necessary for those who need all-weather traction. The C350 is easily the enthusiast's choice, as its V6 has a sharp, responsive character, and increased horsepower for 2012 makes a big difference.

Then there's the C63 AMG. Packing a ferocious V8 that matches the mighty Cadillac CTS-V in a straight line, the C63 is the German equivalent of a muscle car. While not quite as engaging or agile as the BMW M3, the C63 responds to driver inputs with added sharpness and a degree of communication few Mercedes-Benz models have ever offered. The new transmission for 2012 increases driver involvement, but it isn't quite as responsive to inputs as BMW's automated manual. On the other hand, it's far smoother around town. The C63 AMG Black Series is essentially a racecar that you can drive on the road so it's an incredible performance machine, but likely too hard-core for casual driving.

What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews

2012 mercedes c300 sport 4matic

by on
Vehicle: 2012 Mercedes-Benz C-Class C300 Sport 4MATIC 4dr Sedan AWD (3.0L 6cyl 7A)

I recently purchased a 2012 CPO C300 Sport 4 matic from Holloway MB. The build quality is evident from the exterior finish to the interior quality. The 2012 had a lot of refinements. The 3.0 liter engine has excellent pick up. Its very smooth when accelerating. The C300 is pretty much bullet proof. Gas milage is 24-27 mpg with high test. Interior quality is second to none. The controls are quirky and take some time to get accustom to. Especially the heat controls and cruise control. The 4 matic is excellent giving you sure traction in all weather conditions. The radio and navi are all controlled by a center knob. I would prefer a touch screen.The c300 is a perfect commuter car.

Excellent car

by on
Vehicle: 2012 Mercedes-Benz C-Class C250 Sport 4dr Sedan (1.8L 4cyl Turbo 7A)

I bought a CPO C250 black sport sedan with 9000 miles a year ago. This is an excellent car. Fun to drive and the 1.8 turbo charge engine has lots of power. I've done an extensive researched before I decided to buy this car. I'm impressed with all the options I got, Navigation that has directions you can read on your speedometer, Harmon Kardon speakers the best on the class, Bi-Xenon - lighting package, back up camera and 18" AMG wheels. This is a beauty inside/out.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

2012 c350 coupe

by on
Vehicle: 2012 Mercedes-Benz C-Class C350 2dr Coupe (3.5L 6cyl 7A)

My GMC 4WD Envoy was approaching 10 years and 125,000 miles and it was time for something different, much different! After months of research, a visit to the annual auto show, and many test drives later, I purchased this beauty! I was looking for the same thrill when getting behind the wheel that I experienced years ago with my 1999 RX-7. This car comes close - given that it's an automatic. It fits me like a glove, looks great, and drives like it's on a rail! Excellent build quality (except for a few rattles from the rear shelf deck) and a blast to drive, I'm always disappointed when I reach my destination! Would I buy it again after having driven it for 9,000 miles? You bet I would!

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

Terrific ride, but no excuse

by on
Vehicle: 2012 Mercedes-Benz C-Class C300 Sport 4MATIC 4dr Sedan AWD (3.0L 6cyl 7A)

The performance, comfort and style of this vehicle are delightful, and my friends are jealous. I love the responsiveness of the accelerator, the way the transmission holds the car back going down a steep hill, and the traction and stability on curves. Best yet, long drives are not a problem with the C-class. It's a joy to be behind the wheel of this thing.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Used to love the car,

by on
Vehicle: 2012 Mercedes-Benz C-Class C300 Sport 4MATIC 4dr Sedan AWD (3.0L 6cyl 7A)

I used to love my car, but not anymore. It is the perfect small size for me, and easy to navigate. However, I clearly got a defected car with a bad ignition system. In this April, all the sudden I was not able to turn on the engine on the street parking, and MB Roadside Assistance told me that the key didn’t recognize my car. I had to wait for 3 hours to get my car towed, and it took 2 weeks for MB to replace the ignition. The first day I drove after the repair, again the key didn’t recognize my car, and I spent another 3 hours to get it towed. The car is at MB for repair now, but I am so afraid of driving it anymore. I am very surprised that MB manufactures such an unreliable car.

'12 c250 unidentified groan

by on
Vehicle: 2012 Mercedes-Benz C-Class C250 Luxury 4dr Sedan (1.8L 4cyl Turbo 7A)

Hello: I have a '12 C250 luxury sedan with 12K miles. I occasionally hear a groaning sound that occurs intermittently. It's usually noticeable when the car is downshifting to a lower gear. I've taken it to the dealer twice. Though they've reproduced the sound, and not been able to positively identify it, they say that the car is operating "normally." I'm doubtful. Has anyone else experienced this. If so, what was it and how was it corrected. Thanks.

Talk About The 2012 C-Class

Gas Mileage


  • 21
  • cty
  • 31
  • highway
Calculate Yearly Fuel Costs

Identifix Reliability Ratings

Rating unavailable for this vehicle

      (No data available)
See All Ratings
Have a question? We're here to help!
Chat online with us
Email us at help@edmunds.com
*Available daily 8AM-5PM Pacific
Call us at 855-782-4711
Text us at ED411