2012 Mercedes-Benz C 250 coupe
2012 Mercedes-Benz C 250 coupe. Click image to enlarge

First Drive: 2012 Mercedes-Benz C-Class coupe

Manufacturer’s web site
Mercedes-Benz Canada

2012 Mercedes-Benz C-Class Owner Reviews

Review and photos by Peter Bleakney

Photo Gallery:
2012 Mercedes-Benz C-Class coupe

With auto manufacturers struggling to meet the ever-tightening fuel consumption and CO2 emission targets, small displacement turbocharged four-cylinder engines are popping up all over the place. Get used to ‘em.

Witness Ford’s 2.0-litre EcoBoost in the Edge, full-sized Explorer and ritzy Land Rover Evoque, and BMW’s 2.0-litre turbo four that bowed in the compact X1 crossover and will soon make its way to even the 5 Series. And of course we have VW/Audi’s ubiquitous direct-injection blown 2.0-litre that shows up in everything from the GTI to the Audi A5.

Now Mercedes-Benz has a four-cylinder player making its debut in the 2012 C 250, and here tested in the Coupe version carrying a base price of $39,900 – about 10 grand less than the 350 Coupe, with its 302-hp 3.5-litre naturally aspirated direct-injection V6.

2012 Mercedes-Benz C 250 coupe
2012 Mercedes-Benz C 250 coupe
2012 Mercedes-Benz C 250 coupe
2012 Mercedes-Benz C 250 coupe. Click image to enlarge

Mercedes’ four-banger displaces 1.8 litres, and with direct injection and turbocharging it makes 201 hp at 5,500 rpm and 229 lb.-ft. from 2,300 to 4,300 rpm. It is mated to the latest version of the company’s 7-speed auto dubbed 7G-Tronic Plus which is more fuel efficient, quieter and faster shifting. It uses new planetary gears, a new low-viscosity transmission fluid, lower hydraulic pressure and enhanced software to produce a smoother-shifting gearbox.

Also standard across the 2012 C-Class line-up is an adaptive damper system that Mercedes calls Agility Control. It continuously monitors road frequencies and adjusts damping to suit the current driving conditions.

The 2012 C Class Coupe wears a fairly conservative suit. Indeed, it’s all Mercedes with its big upright grill and solid stance, but it hardly inspires lustful urges like the gorgeous Audi A5 or even its E-Class Coupe sibling.

Inside, the automaker will likely silence critics of the previous C’s somewhat dowdy interior with this higher quality effort that features a more flowing design and lovely flat-bottomed multi-function steering wheel. The main gauges are deeply recessed and within the large central speedo is a readout for information relating to the trip computer, navigation (if so equipped), audio and phone, Standard in the C 250 is a panoramic sunroof, specific sport seats trimmed in convincing Artico faux hide and a 5.8-inch display in the centre stack. Redundant audio and preset buttons make switching radio stations a breeze – a safety feature sadly lacking in many premium (and not so premium) interface systems.

The 2012 C 250 Coupe’s attractive sub 40-grand price certainly opens this four-cylinder coupe up to a wider audience, but certain expected amenities require some additional outlay. The $3,000 Premium Package nets heated front seats, Harmon/Kardon surround sound, auto dimming mirrors, park-assist, exterior power folding mirrors, integrated garage door opener, compass and SIRIUS satellite radio. My tester also had the $1,900 Sport Package that added direct steering, 17-inch AMG alloys, steering wheel-mounted shift paddles and the dynamic handling package. With the latter, a sport button on the dash firms up the suspension and steering feel, gives sharper throttle response and puts the transmission in a more aggressive mode.

Connect with Autos.ca