Future Cars

First Look: 2012 Mercedes-Benz C-Class Coupe

Mercedes-Benz has already rolled out sedan, wagon, and high-performance, and variants of the new 2012 C-Class, but the automaker just unwrapped the 2012 C-Class Coupe ahead of its official debut at the 2011 Geneva Motor Show.

The new model isn’t Benz’s first attempt at crafting a C-Coupe, but it is a remarkably different approach. Unlike the C-Class Sportcoupe hatchback, sold here from 2002 to 2007, the new two-door C-Class isn’t a basic, entry-level luxury compact. Instead of competing against Audi A3s, this C is gunning directly at BMW’s 3-Series Coupe.

Exterior styling is certainly handsome, if not predictable. The new C-Class Coupe is almost the splitting image of the C-Class sedan, and even uses the same front fascia and fenders as its four-door siblings. Coupe models do receive a sweeping panoramic glass roof that’s nearly an inch and a half lower than the sedan, and incorporates a very BMW-like kick in the quarter window design.

Despite shedding a pair of doors, the coupe still rides on the same 108.7-inch wheelbase as the sedan, and is only a half-inch shorter and 100 pounds lighter. Mercedes continues to use a strut-type suspension in front and a five-link independent setup for the rear axle. Sport-tuned dampers are standard, although electrically adjustable units are available as a special-order option.

An AMG-tuned model is already under development, but for the time being, North American customers can chose from two engine options. C250 Coupe models are equipped with a direct-injection, turbocharged 1.8-liter I-4, which produces 201 horsepower at 5500 rpm and 229 pound-feet of torque from 2200-4300 rpm. C350 Coupes receive a direct-injection 3.5-liter V-6, which is rated at 302 horsepower at 6500 rpm, and 273 pound-feet of torque from 3500-5250 rpm. Both engine choices are paired with a seven-speed automatic transmission.

Standard equipment on both models includes 14-way power front seats, dual-zone automatic climate controls, Bluetooth phone connectivity and audio streaming, a 5.8-inch information display screen, HD radio, nine airbags, and Mercedes’ driver awareness detection system. C350 models also receive heated front seats, a 12-speaker Harman/Kardon surround sound system, an iPod interface, and walnut interior trim at no extra charge. Navigation, xenon headlamps, keyless ignition, and larger 18-inch rims are optional on both models.

Mercedes has yet to announce pricing for either model, although it’s widely expected the C-Class Coupe will slot in between base prices for comparable C-Class Sedans and the E-Class Coupe. Further details will likely emerge in September, when C250 and C350 Coupes are slated to roll into showrooms nationwide.

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0-60 MPH:

7.2 SECS

EPA MPG:

21 City / 31 Hwy

Horse Power:

201 @ 5500