2012 Mercedes C250 Coupe Review – Video

For those who value a Mercedes badge more than value itself

2012 Mercedes C250 Coupe Review – Video
Share this Article

Performance. Luxury. German. These are three of the top qualifications for anyone looking to purchase an “entry-level” luxury sports coupe. One that isn’t likely to pop up, however, is “value.”

Shoppers more interested in a brand identity than in getting the most out of each dollar will undoubtedly flock to the conventional models from Munich, Stuttgart or even Ingolstadt and pay for the privilege of driving a European machine.

FAST FACTS

1. An all-new model for 2012, the C-Class Coupe comes standard with a turbocharged 1.8-liter 4-cylinder making 201 hp and 229 lb-ft of torque.

2. Important stats include a 7.1 second 0-60 time and fuel economy of 21 mpg city and 31 mpg highway.

3. Compared to the sedan the coupe weighs 100 lbs more and loses 1.5-inches of headroom.

4. C250 Coupe pricing starts at $37,220.

Taking into account the first three qualities, the new Meredes-Benz C250 Coupe is a solid competitor. With a broader perspective and a more open mind, however, it’s hardly the wisest choice.

Powerful it can be, with an optional 3.5-liter V6 engine that now sports direct injection and makes 302 hp and 273 lb-ft of torque. Our test car, however, is the C250, which sports an all-new, turbocharged 1.8-liter 4-cylinder engine.

UNREFINED AND UNDERPOWERED 4-CYLINDER

Despite a modest 201 hp the C250 can still hit 60 mph in 7.1 seconds and when pushed feels faster thanks in part to 229 lb-ft of torque at just 2200 rpm.

It also has a nice exhaust note when revved out, though it’s considerably less appealing during the sort of normal driving most Merc buyers will do. In fact, it sounds a good bit like a diesel engine thanks in part to the direct-injection system and overall, the coarseness of the 4-cylinder is simply unacceptable for a car wearing the three-pointed star badge. That’s not to say a Mercedes shouldn’t have a 4-cylinder engine, just not this one.

Get the Flash Player to see this player.

2012 Mercedes C250 Coupe Front Left Low

Around town the mixture of a turbo and the standard seven-speed automatic transmissions (no manual is available) makes for quite a delay in power delivery. The standard Economy drive mode program is to blame here too. Push the Sport button and the C250 is decidedly more entertaining. In fact, we’d suggest you hit that Sport button every time you get behind the wheel.

Improved fuel economy is the obvious upside to this efficiency-minded engine. While the V6 gets a 19/28 mpg rating and 22 mpg combined, the C250 achieves 21/31 mpg or 25 mpg combined.

Hampering both fuel economy and performance is an odd statistic, with the coupe measuring in at 100 lbs heavier than the sedan.

LUXURY AND TYPICALLY-PRICEY GERMAN OPTIONS

2012 Mercedes C250 Coupe Center Console

Behind the wheel things get considerably less coarse, with soft leathers and the choice of wood or (preferably) aluminum trim. An all-new model for 2012, the Coupe is introduced with same cabin that is an update on the sedan.  Included in that is a 4.5-inch color display between the main gauges to show trip info and other vehicle details, while a 5.8-inch screen sits atop the dash and allows for control of numerous vehicle functions from the audio system to Bluetooth using either voice commands, the COMMAND control knob, or steering wheel mounted controls.

As a whole, the cabin is undeniably premium, though at the same time stops short of any wow factor. Plus, due to a lower roof height than the sedan, it can feel cramped. A standard full glass roof, which does pour plenty of light into the cabin, does help to make cramped headroom less apparent.

Adding to the luxurious experience in our test model is the $1,750 full leather seating package and the $1,995 Premium Package with heated front seats, an upgraded Harman Kardon audio system, SiriusXM radio and an iPod interface. Taking it an expensive step further is a $2,790 Multimedia package that adds a backup camera and Navigation in a larger 7-inch display screen. Additional extras include an $850 lane-tracking package with blind spot assist and lane keeping assist, while a keyless access system with push button ignition (two things that should be standard on every Mercedes product) will run you $650.

Delivering the max level of driving enjoyment in this model is a $1,400 Dynamic Handling Package including a stiffer steering wheel mounted paddle shifters and an upgraded suspension with adjustable damping shocks that firm up when you press the sport button.

2012 Mercedes C250 Coupe Interior

While quite the handling package, it’s a first for Mercedes and those who place priority on performance driving should also stick to stereotypes and buy BMW. What the Mercedes does best is deliver a smooth and quiet ride, though even the typically silent Mercedes interior can’t mask the unbecoming 4-cylinder. Once it’s up to speed though, the four settles in and like a true Mercedes the C250 Coupe will remain calm and relaxed on the highway, masking the fact that it thinks the speed limit sign reads 50% higher than it does.

AS HANDSOME AS LUXURY SPORT COUPES COME

Those who see it fly by will undoubtedly follow its sleek lines lustfully, much unlike the cutesy and unsuccessful C-Class SportCoupe (axed in 2005). While by all accounts identical to the sedan head-on, the low coupe profile is a handsome one and looks particularly smart in the Lunar Blue Metallic of our test car, contrasted with just enough brightwork, some appropriately sized 17-inch wheels and perhaps most importantly, that big grille and Mercedes-Benz logo.

That badge is an important one on the C250, helping cover up the rather un-Mercedes 4-cylinder while justifying the rather steep asking price.

Nicely equipped models can run up to the $45,000 mark, though the C250 Coupe starts at a more reasonable (or so it seems) $37,220.

2012 Mercedes C250 Coupe Front Left

Compared to the BMW 328i Coupe it’s not far off, and the engine certainly has its fuel economy advantages over the six-cylinder Bimmer. Still, a new 3 Series two door is on its way (reportedly badged as the 4 Series) and as it’s all but guaranteed to share its engines with the sedan, look for similar fuel economy numbers with plenty more power — around 240 hp and 260 lb-ft of torque.

Those who can put aside their brand snobbery and who can take a shine to the stylings of Infiniti will be shocked at the results. In place of performance, luxury and German is performance, luxury, value… and more performance.

As impressed as your neighbors are certain to be with the new Benz in your driveway, for an additional $580 it’s possible create a much larger feeling of satisfaction by buying an Infiniti G37 Coupe – a car that boasts 129 more horsepower (an increase of 64%).

THE VERDICT

A push by Mercedes to take on the 3 Series Coupe, the C250 is mostly well-executed from a packaging and driving dynamics standpoint. In a bid to keep up with increasingly strict fuel economy and emissions standards, however, the 4-cylinder is a dud.

2012 Mercedes C250 Coupe Rear Right

Taking a broader look at the segment (and a peak at what’s to come) reveals this luxury sport coupe is the antithesis of value and could, at least, use a solid power upgrade.

Would we recommend it to anyone looking for a luxury sports coupe? Only if their qualifications included that fact that it has to be a Mercedes.

LOVE IT
  • Great looks
  • Dynamically sound
  • Luxurious though simple cabin
LEAVE IT
  • Not enough power
  • Engine sounds and feels unrefined
  • Headroom hardly plentiful
  • Steep price

Get AutoGuide.com in your Inbox
  • JR

    You’re an idiot! Who would buy a piece of crap Japanese car over a Mercedes-Benz?

  • Eric Cantin

    Too funny that the license plate starts with BENZ!

  • http://twitter.com/CoolCarsHotGrls CoolCarsHotGirls.com

    I agree with JR – Mercedes-Benz is known for quality. Pricey, yes, but the quality is unmatchable…especially from a Japanese built auto. German engineering is top-notch. I’ve always been a fan of Benz interiors. They use quality leather, wood grain and pay attention to detail when it comes to gauges and the overall driving experience. The C250 will be a good competitor in it’s class. I’d recommend reading Consumer Reports to get another review.

  • wtdash

    Quality may not = Reliability, but I would never buy a used Merc out of warranty (or an Audi, BMW, VW…).

    CR Used cars to avoid-These 2002 to 2011 models have records of below-average reliability:
    Mercedes-Benz C-Class (AWD) ’11; E-Class (AWD) ’09-10; E-Class (RWD) ’06; GL-Class ’07-09, ’11; M-Class (V6) ’02, ’06-07, ’09; R-Class ’06; S-Class ’04, ’06-07, ’09; SL ’05

  • Mikiejo

    I bought one of these C250 Coupes in April for my wife on our 25 anniversary. She loves it.  In town she gets about 21 MPG and on a recent trip on the interstate we got close to 20 MPG.  So I can not complain about that.  When she lets me drive it I just love the way it handles.  For an “entry level” Benz I made the right choice.

  • Mikiejo

     I meant to type close to 30 MPG on the interstate.

  • Eddy

    I would buy Japan cars over Benz anytime , Ben have to many problem, Jr u r an idiot to buy Benz over imports cars…

  • Ridder64

    That Infinity is so ugly!

  • Bmr335i

    I’ve owned two BMWs and a Mini, and I just bought a C250 and love it.  I enjoy the sound of the engine while red-lining it, and I don’t feel that it is unrefined at all.  I’m not sure what this guy is talking about honestly.

  • Rock Z

    I just traded in my 2009 335i convertible for a ’12 c250 fully equipped coupe and have not regretted the choice for a moment. Granted the power is less but what it lacks in horses it more than makes up for in comfort, style, technology, and fuel economy. I use it as a commuter putting about 32 miles a day on it and I don’t miss how rough the ride was in the BMW or the 6 tires I’d replace on average a year on those run flats. Cracked rims and in service regularly for things big and small. I originally was going to purchase an E350 coupe but found the C250 to look and feel better overall. Cheers MB to win a die hard Bimmer guy this round.

  • Fen

    I have a 4 week old c250..  Put it in sports mode every time and its an awsome car to drive! 

  • keepanopenmind

    I dont know how you get those fuel efficiency numbers. I got the AMG 18 wheels which may have something to do with my numbers but in the city my avg is 16 as this car is heavy and the tiny 4 cilinder, which loves to rev, needs to do so to keep up, acceleration is solid but not fuel efficiency. On highway I get good numbers if I stick around 55 but real highway on the southeast is 65-85 mph and then the mpg drop to 27-25 or less, which is mediocre. I used to get 27-28 on the 2010 MB C300 on the way down to FL from GA at 80 with the 2013 C250 I only got 25-26 mpg, when I should have been actually getting more since it is all flat. I love the look but I recommend anyone looking at this car to get the C350 at all cost. DO NOT GET THIS CAR BASED ON FUEL SAVINGS, THAT WAS MY ERROR.

  • keepanopenmind

    I’ve on my second MB and have not had any issues so far. Mercedes are built top notch.

  • keepanopenmind

    I like it in sports mode. But do you ever get that claimed MPG? I never do get even close to MB claimed MPG. Its about the same I got with the V-6 in my 2010 C300, about 16mpg in city and 24-26 hwy tops

  • keepanopenmind

    What?! and E350 for a C250? you just did not have the money. If you said C350, then I may agree. The E350 is a real coupe

  • keepanopenmind

    Infinity style is indeed old and ugly.

  • keepanopenmind

    you can find the same for japanese. your point?

  • keepanopenmind

    I dont know how to get the Mercedes advertised fuel efficiency numbers unless I drive like a granny. I got the AMG 18 wheels which may have something to do with my numbers but in the city my avg is 16 as this car is heavy and the tiny 4 cilinder, which loves to rev, needs to do so to keep up, acceleration is solid but not fuel efficiency. On highway I get good numbers if I stick around 55 but real highway on the southeast is 65-85 mph and then the mpg drop to 27-25 or less, which is mediocre. I used to get 27-28 on the 2010 MB C300 on the way down to FL from GA at 80 with the 2013 C250 I only got 25-26 mpg, when I should have been actually getting more since it is all flat. I love the look but I recommend anyone looking at this car to get the C350 at all cost. DO NOT GET THIS CAR BASED ON FUEL SAVINGS, THAT WAS MY ERROR.

  • wtdash

    Almost year-old post reply…..
    To fix a Japanese car is going to be a lot less than any German brand…plus it’ll be in the shop less, based on historical evidence.

  • bobbyb

    As someone who considers myself a pretty car savvy guy I found myself drawn to the the new C250 for the creative and super sporty interior. I have an 2005 E55 modified out and a 2011 E350 sport sedan which I just traded in for the 2013 C250 with all the goodies. I agree with the review above and think that Merc could have done something better with the motor. For a stock mass produced car to have red seat belts and leather ‘ette’ and suede seats is just awesome. Bravo Mercedes keep up good work and for the individual who said “lets use red accents in this car” pat them on the back and give them a raise, for they will attract the BMW 3 and now 4 series sporty youthful fun and interesting person. Now with that said contact your buddies over at the AMG facility and get a 4 banger that bangs.

  • Nate Rector

    I have a 6 cylinder nitrous S Class,and when not breathing nitrous/gasoline mix,I get 29 mpg.