2012 Mercedes-Benz C250 Review

2012 Mercedes-Benz C250 Sport Sedan

1.8L turbo inline-4, 201 hp, 229 lb-ft, rear-wheel drive, 7-speed auto, MB-Tex vinyl, 21/31 mpg

The C-Class appeals to a wide range of budgets, from this base C250 with a turbo four, up to the 6.3L V8 C63 AMG, which can approach $80k if you are not careful. At $35k, this C250 is the least expensive way into a new Mercedes. The only option on this is a $300 spoiler, as noted on the window sticker, so this is as cheap as it gets.

2012 brought some subtle exterior updates, but the majority of the W204 facelift becomes evident when you get behind the wheel. New engines with direct-injection and a new 7-speed automatic improve economy, and the interior gets a nice makeover. The cabin definitely has a premium feel, but in standard trim, it seemed to be missing some premium features that required pricey additions. Heated seats require the $2,500 Premium 1 Package, or they can be had a la carte for $750. If you want navigation, add another couple thousand. Real leather is an additional $1,750, but the MB-Tex was decent for vinyl. The only problem was the light color seemed to show dirt quickly, and the driver seat was due for a good cleaning after only 10k miles.

The revised front fascia includes reworked headlamp assemblies and a new aluminum hood that saves 20 pounds. Unfortunately they kept halogen lights as standard equipment, but bi-xenons are available if you spring for the $1,290 Lighting Package. LED DRLs are all the rage these days, and these are bright and serve their purpose well.

There are two new engines for 2012, and they both feature direct-injection. The C350 gets a V6 which puts out 302 hp, a significant jump over this 1.8L turbo four and its measly 201. Considering this is a German sport sedan, a 0-60 time of 7.1 seconds is unimpressive. While it is likely adequate for most situations, more is always better, and the lack power becomes evident when you start to push it. Turbo lag was not terrible, but there was a slight delay when trying to put the power down. The exhaust note was uninspired at everyday RPMs.

For most buyers looking for entry-level luxury, however, it should be sufficient. It just seems weak when AMG breathes on it and shows its full potential in the C63. Of course, power ratings of the C63 are doubled, as well as the price, so that one is expected to be over the top.

Not sure how the engine got so dirty, it must have done some rallying in a previous life. At least the hood opens wide for plenty of access when you want to get in there for cleaning or servicing. There was also huge amounts of brake dust on the front wheels. Combined with the dirty seats, it is probably safe to say this one has never been treated to a thorough cleaning.

The Sport model comes standard with staggered 17-inch wheels, 225/45 R17 up front, and 245/40 R17 out back. It also comes equipped with all-season tires. Although there was no snow around, it is probably safe to say this car would not handle winter conditions very well. If you are planning on year-round use, a better idea would be to get separate dedicated summer and winter tires, providing more summer fun and winter safety.

It is easy to go on about small things – cruise control operation is confusing and too close to the turn signal, the key looks like garbage after only one year, but despite the nitpicking, it is still a competent German luxury sedan. It offers a luxury package at a decent price, at least for this stripped car, and it is a good effort by Mercedes to get people hooked on the brand from a younger age. It is solidly-built and handles the road like a sport sedan should without being race car harsh. Those seeking more thrilling performance can always opt for the V6 or the C63 V8 monster.

MB’s website mbusa.com/mercedes/vehicles/family/class-C



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