The Mercedes-Benz C-Class sedan is number one in sales worldwide in its market segment. That’s newsworthy, but for the 2012 model year, the iconic German automaker has undertaken a major restyling of its popular four-door C-Class sedan that incorporates more than 2,000 new parts, including new bumpers, headlights, front grille, an aluminum hood, LED taillights along with a redesigned interior.
In addition, a new coupe version makes its debut, complete with athletic AMG styling and a panorama sunroof that comes as standard fare. The addition of the new coupe brings the C-Class offerings to seven models in two body configurations. Both the coupe and sedan will be available in three different models: the C250 which draws its power from a new direct-injection, turbocharged 1.8-liter engine that delivers 201 hp; the C350 powered by a 3.5-liter V6 with 302 horses; and the high-performance C63 AMG model that hurtles down the road courtesy of an AMG hand-built naturally aspirated 6.3-liter V8 delivering 451 hp and 443 pound feet of torque, backed by AMG’s MCT 7-speed transmission. An optionally available AMG Development Package boosts the horsepower to 481. The C-Class sedan will also be available as a C300 with standard 4MATIC all-wheel drive, powered by a proven 228 hp 3.0-liter engine.
All of the new coupe models possess sporty attributes, while the C250 and C300 sedan models may be ordered with either Sport or Luxury features and equipment. In addition to a grille-mounted star, the C-Class Sport sedans are easily identified by AMG aero-cladding, with deeper front and rear aprons and under-door rocker panels. Sport models also come with three-spoke steering wheels, rubber-studded aluminum pedals, aluminum trim accents and staggered width wheels and tires as well as a stiffer sports suspension that rides .6” lower than luxury models. All of the 2012 C-Class models feature a newly revised seven-speed automatic transmission except for the C63 AMG with its MCT gearbox.
Okay, that takes care of the mechanical nuts and bolts of the new C-Class lineup. All 2012 models also come equipped with a new 5.8” color display that includes Bluetooth interface for wireless audio streaming and hands-free phone operation, an MP3 compatible CD drive and a USB port in the center console. An optional COMAND system features a larger 7” color display, GPS navigation, rear-view camera, a ten-gigabyte music storage hard drive, an SD card slot, voice control and an in-dash CD/DVD player.
C-Class base pricing ranges from $34,800 for the Sport sedan (the luxury version costs $420 more). Add an $875 Destination charge for all models. Ironically, the pricing role is reversed in the case of the C63 AMG models – the coupe costs more than the sedan, starting at $62,305.
C-Class coupes are actually expected to account for less than ten percent of total C-Class sales, with the sedans being decidedly more popular. Despite that fact, the Coupes look so much more appealing. It’s unknown what the take rate will be for C-Class models powered by the new 1.8-liter direct injected, turbocharged four-cylinder engine. Its performance levels are much more than simply adequate and the increased fuel economy that it delivers, speaks for itself.
My driving partner and I picked a C63 AMG coupe with a Mars Red exterior to spend our time in during the national press launch program of the new C-Class based out of the luxurious Hidden Pond property in Kennebunkport, Maine. It came with a base sticker price of $61,430, which rose rapidly to $78,405 after factoring in such additional features and equipment as: carbon fiber trim, rearview camera, limited slip differential lock, KEYLESS GO, the AMG Development Package ($6,050.), COMAND 6-disc Package, Lighting Package, Destination and Delivery fee and Gas Guzzler tax. Yes indeed, that’s a lot of money for a C-Class Mercedes, but the C63 AMG is no ordinary C-Class – nor is it an ordinary automobile. Read on…
The C63 AMG Coupe displays a near perfect shape and proportions, literally oozing an artistic sexiness in an expressive, emotionally stirring design, while delivering a lofty level of performance capability, along with outstanding handling characteristics.
Acceleration is blistering, launching the car fro 0-60 mph in a mere 4.4 seconds. The C63 AMG sticks to the road like glue, remaining flat, stable and secure in the twisties. Yes, the ride quality is exceptionally firm, but not objectionably so – especially to a dyed-in-the-wool driving enthusiast or gearhead.
The car is so alluring to behold and entertaining and satisfying to drive, that both my copilot and I felt no urge to experience seat time behind the wheel of the other new models. Hey, a sedan is a sedan and a coupe is a coupe. Yes, the new four-cylinder engine is an important addition in the C-Class lineup, and yes, the sedan is expected to represent the highest sales results, but the C63 AMG is such an incredible machine, it just seemed to beg for our full attention. It is worthy of all the praise that can be heaped upon it. Let’s face it, some cars are just more impressive than others – the C63 AMG Coupe is just such a car – especially when fitted with the AMG Development Package. If it doesn’t happen to float your personal boat, there’s a very limited edition Black Series version waiting in the wings to appear soon.