Test Drive: 2012 Mercedes Benz C 350 Coupe  car test drives reviews mercedes benz luxury cars
2012 Mercedes-Benz C 350 Coupe. Click image to enlarge

Test Drive: 2012 Mercedes-Benz C-Class coupe
Test Drive: 2012 Mercedes-Benz C 250 coupe

Manufacturer’s web site
Mercedes-Benz Canada

Review and photos by Greg Wilson

Photo Gallery:
2012 Mercedes-Benz C-Class coupe

Based on the recently refreshed 2011 C-Class sedan, the all-new 2012 C-Class Coupe benefits from many of the performance, safety, and quality upgrades that went into that car. It competes with such notable coupes as the BMW 3-Series, Audi A5/S5, Infiniti G37, and Cadillac CTS, as well as the coupe-like Lexus IS and Volvo C70 convertible hardtops, so it has its work cut out for it. About 38 mm lower than the sedan, the rear-wheel-drive C-Class Coupe has a sleeker profile, sportier two-bar grille, rear lip spoiler, a black rear diffuser and dual exhausts. It’s a handsome machine, in our opinion, and particularly sporty in its Mars Red exterior paint (like our tester) a colour that suits the coupe better than it does the sedan. (Mercedes’ website refers to this colour as Fire Opal).

Test Drive: 2012 Mercedes Benz C 350 Coupe  car test drives reviews mercedes benz luxury cars
2012 Mercedes-Benz C 350 Coupe. Click image to enlarge

Like the C-Class sedan, the Coupe is offered with a 201-hp 1.8-litre turbocharged four-cylinder motor in the C 250, a 302-hp 3.5-litre V6 in the C 350, and the thundering 451-hp 6.2-litre V8 in the C 63 AMG. The coupe doesn’t offer the 228-hp 3.0-litre V6 available in the C 300 sedan. The first two motors come with a standard seven-speed 7G-tronic automatic transmission with manual shift mode, while the latter gets the heavy duty seven-speed AMG DirectShift unit. But unlike many of its competitors, the C Coupe is not available with a standard manual transmission.

That should give you a hint as to where the C 250 and C 350 stand in the marketplace relative to other luxury coupes. The C63 AMG is another story and another test drive.

We test drove a 2012 C 350 Coupe with a base price of $49,200 and $4,480 worth of options. That included the $4,000 Premium Package with an eight-inch “Comand” navigation and information system with “Linguatronic” voice control, DVD changer and SD memory slot; Harman/Kardon Logic7 surround sound system; Sirius satellite radio; and “Parktronic” front and rear parking sensors. A rear-view camera was an additional $480. The total price was $53,680 plus a hefty $1,995 freight charge.

Test Drive: 2012 Mercedes Benz C 350 Coupe  car test drives reviews mercedes benz luxury cars
Test Drive: 2012 Mercedes Benz C 350 Coupe  car test drives reviews mercedes benz luxury cars
Test Drive: 2012 Mercedes Benz C 350 Coupe  car test drives reviews mercedes benz luxury cars
2012 Mercedes-Benz C 350 Coupe. Click image to enlarge

That seems like a lot of money for a compact two-door, four-passenger luxury coupe, but everything about the C 350—from its luxurious, finely crafted interior, impeccable fit and finish, tight, rattle-free body, and silky drivetrain—gives the impression of a quality-built car. It’s obvious to us that Mercedes hasn’t taken any shortcuts with this new design.

This is particularly evident in the cabin, where the quality of materials is first rate. Even the standard Artico MB-Tex artificial leather upholstery with perforated seat inserts looks fabulous. Available MB-Tex colour choices are black, two-tone grey/black and beige/cashmere. Leather upholstery will cost you an extra $2,200 with choices of black, two-tone grey/black, beige/black, and red/black. The C 350’s well-bolstered front seats feature power adjustments for height, recline, lumbar (up/down and in/out) and are heatable with three temperature choices. The driver’s seat controls are on the traditional location on the door, but curiously, the front passenger seat controls are on the side of the seat cushion.

A great feature of these electrically operated seats is that they both automatically move forwards when the seatbacks are folded forwards, allowing rear passengers enough room to squeeze through to the two rear seats, and then automatically move back again when the seatbacks are pushed back. The deep rear buckets are separated by a centre console with storage bin and cupholders and I found enough headroom and legroom to sit in comfort although the low seat cushions and high rear windows make the occupants feel like they’re sitting in a hole.

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