2012 Mercedes-Benz C Class vs. Its Competition

2012 Mercedes-Benz C Class
Bengt Halvorson Bengt Halvorson Deputy Editor

With the introduction of a base four-cylinder engine in the C250, the 2012 Mercedes-Benz C-Class is now a more direct rival to the likes of the Audi A4--as well as the BMW 3-Series, which also gets a new four.

Compared to the A4, the C-Class is priced and equipped much the same, though the A4 offers quattro all-wheel drive though more of the lineup and its interior design is arguably still a step ahead.

The C-Class, on the other hand, offers a stronger luxury image.

BMW's 3-Series continues to stand out as the handling and steering champ, although its interior is also quite cramped.

The Lexus IS models remain competitive but lack the luxury sheen and desirability of most of this group, yet their prices are nearly the same.

Finally, Acura's TSX is a recommendation if don't mind giving up some image and want to save a few thousand dollars while getting an enjoyable, even slightly roomier compact sedan.

2012 Mercedes-Benz C Class2012 Mercedes-Benz C ClassBrowse Used Listings2012 Acura TSX 5dr Sport Wagon I4 Auto Tech Pkg Angular Front Exterior View2012 Acura TSXBrowse Used Listings2012 Audi A4 4-door Avant Wagon Auto quattro 2.0T Premium Angular Front Exterior View2012 Audi A4Browse Used Listings2012 BMW 3-Series2012 BMW 3-SeriesBrowse Used Listings2011 Infiniti G37 Sedan 4-door Journey RWD Angular Front Exterior View2012 INFINITI G37 SedanBrowse Used Listings2011 Lexus IS 250 4-door Sport Sedan Auto AWD Angular Front Exterior View2012 Lexus IS 350Browse Used Listings
Quick Specs
With a new base four-cylinder engine, the 2012 Mercedes-Benz C-Class makes even more sense for value-conscious (yet image-conscious) luxury shoppers.
With attractive designs and a light, efficient driving feel, the 2012 Acura TSX lineup strikes an ideal balance for a front-wheel-drive sport sedan or sport wagon.
The 2012 Audi A4 provides an engaging driving experience, impressive in-cabin technology, and surprisingly great fuel efficiency—making it a good everyday driver among premium sedans.
The 2012 BMW 3-Series delivers the class-leading sport-sedan performance and handling enthusiasts have come to expect, yet it makes substantial improvements in fuel-efficiency, active safety, and connectivity.
Forget that the 2012 Infiniti G Sedans are somewhat practical four-door designs; they can provide all the sensory thrills and dynamic satisfaction of full-fledged sports cars.
The 2012 Lexus IS 350 and IS 350 aren't as focused and fun to drive as sport sedans from BMW or Infiniti, though especially in F Sport guise they still look great.
MSRP From     
Gas Mileage     
15 MPG City / 31 MPG Hwy19 MPG City / 31 MPG Hwy21 MPG City / 31 MPG Hwy17 MPG City / 34 MPG Hwy17 MPG City / 27 MPG Hwy18 MPG City / 27 MPG Hwy
Turbocharged Gas I4Gas I4Turbocharged Gas I4Turbocharged Gas I4Gas V6Gas V6
EPA Class     
CompactCompactCompact CarsCompact CarsMidsize CarsSub-Compact
Style Name     
4-Door Sedan C 250 Sport RWD4-Door Sedan I4 Automatic4-Door Sedan CVT FrontTrak 2.0T Premium4-Door Sedan 328i RWD SULEV4-Door Journey RWD350 4-Door Sedan RWD
Rear Wheel DriveFront-Wheel DriveFront Wheel DriveRear Wheel DriveRear-Wheel DriveRear Wheel Drive
Passenger Capacity     
Passenger Doors     
Body Style     
4 Door Sedan4 Door SedanSedanSedan4 Door SedanSedan
AutomaticAutomaticContinuously Variable RatioAutomatic w/Manual ShiftAutomatic w/ODAutomatic w/manual shift
Detailed Spec Comparison
 2012 Mercedes-Benz C Class vs. 2012 Acura TSX2012 Mercedes-Benz C Class vs. 2012 Audi A42012 Mercedes-Benz C Class vs. 2012 BMW 3-Series2012 Mercedes-Benz C Class vs. 2012 INFINITI G37 Sedan2012 Mercedes-Benz C Class vs. 2012 Lexus IS 350