According to Mercedes, the 2012 C-Class sedan wears a "more distinctive" design front and rear. The more sculpted headlights of the new model are definitely nice, although for the most part the changes in front and back are noticeable only if you have a 2011 C-Class handy for a comparison. Like a navy blue Brooks Brothers suit, the C-Class sedan's new look is conservative, but it should please traditionalists in the luxury car market.
Inside, you'll find a new dashboard that includes a high-resolution color display in the instrument cluster. Cabin trim, and the finish of the materials, should receive a slight boost to keep up with the competition -- although Mercedes' cabins are hardly lacking when it comes to luxury.To make certain each drive is a safe one, Mercedes includes five new safety features in the 2012 C-Class. These include Attention Assist drowsiness detection system (fitted as standard), along with optional Adaptive Highbeam Assist, Park Assist w/Parktronic, Lane Keeping Assist and Blind Spot Assist.
A new model is also set to enter the C-Class lineup, with the C250 positioned as the new entry-level model. Powered by a direct-injected 201-hp twin-turbocharged four-cylinder engine, the C250 will likely be available with either a 6-speed manual or 7-speed automatic transmission. Mercedes promises that the new C-Class will be more fuel efficient than before, but official EPA mpg figures have not been released. At the moment, the 2011 C-Class sedan with the standard 3.0-liter V-6 averages 18 mpg city/26 mpg highway. The C250 should improve significantly on these figures.The C300 with Mercedes 4MATIC all-wheel-drive system carries on with a 228-bhp 3.0-liter V-6 engine. However, the C350 also features a new direct-injection engine, a V-6 delivering 302 hp and 273 ft-lbs of torque. These range-topping models are likely to be only available with the 7-speed automatic transmission.
Prices for the current C-Class lineup range from approximately $34,000 to $40,000 (sans options). The 2012 C-Class, especially the new C250, could lower the entry-level price slightly, although Mercedes-Benz has not released prices. The 2012 C-Class sedan goes on sale in the summer of 2011.