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2012 Mercedes C-Class: Something To C Here.

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On: Sat, Apr 30, 2011 at 1:14PM | By: Lou Ruggieri

2012 Mercedes C-Class:  Something To C Here.

Although on paper, the C-Class Mercedes should have been competition for the benchmarked 3-Series BMW, anyone that has driven the two cars can attest that other than size, there wasn't much to compare between the two. The BMW simply walked away from the C-Class in every competitive category; that is... Until now. Although it's technically not a new model, there are enough improvements to the 2012 C-Class to garner a second (or third) look. 

Little upgrades are noticeable and appreciated all around the new C-Class, beginning out front with a bigger grille and three-pointed star for the Sport version of the car. The hood is crafted out of aluminum to save 20 pounds off the nose, while the more dramatically slanted front end, combined with new bumpers and headlights all help the car achieve a very sleek 0.26 coefficient of drag. To put that number in perspective, a C6 Corvette sports a 0.28 Cd.

Thanks to some less than pleasant feedback from owners grading the C-Class interior close to a D or an F, Mercedes heeded their advice and gave the C's insides the once over. The dash gets a BMW-esq, laterally expansive layout, along with a small HD screen mounted front and center on the gauge cluster. The steering wheel gets a redesign and, although we don't know for sure, hopefully a heated-steering wheel option will come along with these changes. Mercedes had been offering that little luxury option only on more expensive models up to this point.

The big news, however, is in the performance department. The suspension of the C-Class was never terrible, but let's just put it this way: Before 2012, no Mercedes salesman would ever tell you to take an off-ramp at 40 mph without using the brakes. However, it seems Mercedes engineers were tired of being embarrassed by their Bavarian competitors and revamped the spring and damping rates, and added bigger anti-roll bars.

A Sport Package is offered as an option that lowers the car while adjusting the spring rates to provide a ride that its package name suggests. Also available is a Dynamic Suspension package that allows the dampers to tighten up at the push of a button. Obviously, all of these little tweaks add up to a much more nimble base Mercedes that can hold its own against Bimmer's best-selling sedan.

Changes continue under the hood for the C-Class. Three engine choices are available. The C250 offers a 1.8-liter turbo four-cylinder engine that produces a peppy 201-horsepower and 229 pound-feet of torque. The all-wheel drive C300 4matic retains its 3.0-liter V6 producing 228 hp and 221 lb-ft of torque, and the C350 offers a 3.5-liter V6 making a substantial 302 hp and 273 lb-ft of torque. No matter the engine choice, you will get a seven-speed automatic, like it or not. The only curious decision is not to upgrade the power of the heavier C300 4matic. Although 228 hp isn't insignificant, when it's being routed through all four wheels in a heavier sedan, one would think Mercedes would take a cue from the new Acura TL and bump up the power to compensate for the parasitic drag and added heft, but then some of us are just lowly writers...

Performance for the new C-Class ranges from 5.9-7.1 seconds 0-60 mph depending on which model you choose. As does fuel consumption ranging from 17/20 city-26/.30 highway miles per gallon, again depending on which model suits your needs and desires. Starting price for a new C250 is going to be in the low 30,000 range, while a C350 will start closer to 40 grand, which is not that far off from a certain other German carmaker's price range for a certain popular sedan. So, before you drive on by that Mercedes dealership to get to the blue-and-white propeller badge, you might just want to stop and check out the new(er) C-Class. You might just like what you... See.

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