Luxury automaker Mercedes-Benz has just released the first official photos of the restyled 2012 C-Class, due in showrooms in summer 2011. While the design isn’t dramatically different, it is subtly more aesthetically pleasing. The changes are more than just skin-deep design changes, and include new, more powerful and more fuel-efficient engines.
In the vein of constant refinement and improvement, Mercedes-Benz certainly has a winner in the C-Class. Since the current iteration bowed in March 2007, more than one million C-Class models have been sold, making the C-Class the automaker’s highest-volume model range – and popular with many families seeking an upscale sedan. The restyled 2012 should see that sales volume continue to ratchet upward.
New front and rear end design
At first glance, the eye is drawn to the new front and rear end of the 2012 C-Class five-passenger sedan. Mercedes-Benz says the revised front adopts the brand’s new design language. The central element, of course, is the grille, which is further enhanced by the new bumper design.
There’s also a new aluminum hood, which contributes to both weight reduction and improved fuel efficiency.
Modified clear glass headlamps add to the dynamic look and, coupled with the hood, grille, and bumper, add to the “arrow visual” of the C-Class front end.
In the rear, styling revisions are mostly character lines and shutlines – the automaker’s way of saying the changes add “emphasis to the vehicle’s rear stance.”
One particularly interesting point about the aerodynamics of the new exterior design is that, at a coefficient of drag figure of 0.26, the C-Class is best-in-class.
For 2012, the C-Class boasts a redesigned dashboard to create a more sporty, powerful, and premium look and feel. Central to the new dashboard is a prominent trim panel. There’s also a next-generation center console and new-generation telematics.
The steering wheel doesn’t go unnoticed, either. Available as standard in the 2012 C-Class, the new-generation leather steering wheel (introduced in the all-new CLS) features a chrome-plated center spoke.
Brushed aluminum trim is standard on the new C250 Sport and C300 4MATIC Sport models, while black ash trim is standard on C350 Sport. Burled walnut trim is standard on luxury versions.
Performance and fuel efficiency gains
For 2012, the C-Class receives performance boosts and improved fuel economy. The in-line four-cylinder engine (new to the U.S.) in the C250 features direct injection and turbocharging, makes 201 horsepower and is estimated to achieve 24 mpg highway fuel economy.
But the bigger news is the introduction of the new V-6 gasoline engine in the C350 Sport sedan. With its innovative and highly-efficient BlueDIRECT process, this new engine generates 302 horsepower and 273 pound-feet of torque (compared with the previous numbers of 268 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque), while still achieving an estimated 21 mpg highway fuel economy. That’s a five-percent improvement over the outgoing C350.
All models come with the redesigned seven-speed automatic transmission, with gear ratios optimized for fuel efficiency.
Five new driver assistance systems
Always at the forefront in safety advances, Mercedes-Benz adds a total of five new driver assistance systems to the 2010 C-Class. The new systems are based on radar that’s state-of-the-art, camera, and sensor technology and are set up to react to the most frequent causes of accidents: darkness, fatigue, and proximity to the vehicle in front.
The five systems include:
Adaptive Highbeam Assist
Park Assist (including PARKTRONIC)
Lane Keeping Assist
Blind Spot Assist
As always, when there’s more information and the 2012 Mercedes-Benz C-Class is closer to production, Family Car Guide will bring you the latest details.