Mercedes-Benz is launching a new two-door C-Class coupe for the 2012 model year, complete with bold AMG styling and a standard panorama sunroof. At the same time, the popular four-door C-Class sedan has been redesigned with new bumpers, front grille, headlights, an aluminum hood, LED daytime running lights and taillights. Its totally redesigned interior includes a color instrument cluster display and a new-generation telematics system. Under the hood, customers have a choice of two new direct-injection engines mated to a more fuel-efficient 7-speed automatic transmission.
In addition to new convenience and performance features, the 2012 C-Class line also features numerous new Mercedes-Benz safety systems such as standard ATTENTION ASSIST and ADAPTIVE BRAKE technology. Advanced optional technologies such as the ultrasonic-based Blind Spot Assist as well as camera-based Lane Keeping Assist and Adaptive Highbeam Assist bring new levels of safety to the segment.
Both the C-Class coupe and sedan are available in three different versions: the C250 Sport, powered by a new direct-injection, turbocharged 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine (201 horsepower, 229 lb.-ft. of torque); the C350 Sport, with a new direct-injection 3.5-liter V6 (302 hp, 273 lb.-ft.) and standard rear trunk spoiler; and the high-performance C63 AMG with a normally aspirated 6.3-liter V8 (451 hp, 443 lb.-ft.) and AMG's 7-speed SPEEDSHIFT MCT multi-clutch transmission. With an optional AMG Development Package, the C63 AMG jumps to 481 hp. - more -In addition, a C300 4MATIC Sport Sedan is available, with standard all-wheel drive and a port-injected 3.0-liter V6 engine (228 hp, 221 lb.-ft.). Lastly, the C250 and C300 sedans are also available in Luxury trim. Sport models feature staggered-width, five-spoke 17-inch wheels; sport shocks; springs and stabilizer bars that provide a crisper ride and more than a half-inch lower ride height as well as standard AMG styling, including deeper front and rear aprons as well as sculpted rocker panels. The Mercedes-Benz 3-pointed star emblem is housed in the front grille as opposed to mounted on the hood for Luxury models.
From the side, the new coupe captivates the onlooker with its compact proportions, low silhouette (1.5 inches flatter than the sedan) with powerful shoulders and a narrow C-pillar in a classic three-box design. Typical coupe features include the short front overhang, long hood, steeply raked windshield and long, sloping roof. The greenhouse extends far beyond the rear axle to an aggressive short rear end. In addition to a standard panorama roof, the new two-door C-Class is distinguished by standard AMG styling.
While the wedge-shaped, sloping beltline provides a link to the C-Class sedan, the strong upsweep into the C-pillar is an entirely distinctive element. This sharp upward angle not only adds an aggressive touch to the side windows but also enhances the powerful shoulders.
Inside, the C-Class Coupe features standard race-inspired sport seats with integrated headrests, more prominent bolsters as well as memory functions for the driver, steering wheel-mounted shift paddles, and split-folding rear seats.
Both the C-Class sedan and coupe receive an extensively redesigned interior with many high-tech enhancements found on larger Mercedes-Benz models. The driver immediately notices an aggressive 3-spoke, 12-button multifunction steering wheel finished in aluminum with a flat bottom and perforated leather hand grips. Deeply recessed tubular gauges in the instrument cluster feature a 4.5-inch color display in the center of the speedometer, which can call-up numerous screens and functions related to audio, telephone, navigation and vehicle settings.
A fixed 5.8-inch central display screen is surrounded by a stepped hood that flows across from the instrument cluster and continues into the passenger side by a subtle character line. The trapezoidal air vents in the center and the circular outer vents are accentuated with metallic trim.
Central to the design of the new dashboard is a prominent trim panel which stretches from the center air vents along the passenger side dashboard, adding visual width to the interior. The new-generation center console is distinguished by its rectangular silver keys and emphasizes the premium nature of the interior in combination with matte keys, high-gloss surfaces and a new knurled control knob.
All C-Class models for 2012 are equipped with a new 5.8-inch color display that's located at the top of the console. The new head unit includes a Bluetooth interface for wireless audio streaming and hands-free phone operation, an FM phase-diversity twin tuner, MP3compatible CD drive, HD/AM/weatherband and a USB port in the center console.
An optional COMAND system comes with a larger 7-inch color display, hard-drive-based GPS navigation, a ten-gigabyte music storage hard drive, an SD card slot, voice control and a six-disc CD/DVD changer. The powerful navigation system offers many new features, including a 3D city-map display, a compass overlay and the ability to show alternate routes before choosing as well as to record routes while driving. An optional Sirius-XM feature can provide real-time traffic and weather information on the navigation map.
All 2012 C-Class models (except the C63 AMG with its MCT transmission) feature a new seven-speed automatic transmission with a more advanced torque converter lock-up clutch that provides even better fuel mileage, more responsive driving, quieter operation and increased durability. The new transmission is also designed to work best with a new type of low-viscosity ATF transmission fluid - colored blue instead of the usual red. Together with new planetary gears, bearings and internal seals, the "FE-ATF" fluid provides less friction and improved fuel mileage. Lower hydraulic pressure and enhanced electronic software helps provide even smoother shifting.
For 2012, the C250 sedan and coupe are powered by a new in-line 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine (201 horsepower, 229 lb.-ft. of torque) that's designed with direct fuel injection and a turbocharger. The new turbo four also has two internal balance shafts to ensure it's as smooth as a six-cylinder.
With 302 horsepower and 273 lb.-ft. of torque, the 3.5-liter V6 engine in the C350 has 13 percent more power than last year. Assembled in an entirely new block with 60-degree cylinder angles, the latest V6 doesn't need a balance shaft for smooth operation. Like its predecessor, the new engine has aluminum cylinder heads, pistons and cylinder block (with cast-in Silitec cylinders), as well as a crankshaft, connecting roads and valves made of special forged steel.
The C63 AMG is powered by the first engine developed entirely by AMG. Its 6.3-liter V8 produces 451 horsepower and 443 lb.-ft. of torque, for breathtaking acceleration times of 4.3 seconds from zero to 60 mph. Built almost completely from a high-strength silicon-aluminum alloy, the AMG engine block was designed with cylinder bores sprayed with a twin-wire-arc (TWAS) coating, an innovative process that results in impressively low friction and running surfaces that are twice as hard as conventional cast-iron cylinders.
The 6.3-liter AMG V8 features four valves per cylinder, variable valve timing, bucket tappets (rather than rocker arms) and a variable intake manifold. Forming a straight line through the engine, high-flow intake and exhaust ports help the AMG engine rev freely to over 7,000 rpm, yet the highly flexible V8 still produces nearly 90 percent of its peak torque at only 2,000 rpm.
The high-performance C63 AMG also features a cutting-edge AMG transmission. With a startup clutch that replaces the torque converter, the new seven-speed MCT sports transmission provides the direct feedback of a manual transmission with the total convenience of an automatic, offering impressive versatility and even faster shift times. Thanks to its low rotational mass, the start-up clutch helps the transmission respond instantaneously and dynamically, with no slip.
For C63 AMG owners who are serious about competing on the race track, an optional AMG Development Package features lightweight forged pistons, connecting rods and crankshaft with modified engine management that together provide an extra 30 horsepower, for a total of 481 hp. The AMG Development Package also includes an even stiffer sport suspension, limited slip differential, red brake calipers, carbon-fiber rear spoiler and a higher speed limiter of 174 mph.
Both the C250 four-cylinder and the C350 V6 engines make use of industry-leading electronics technology first used on Mercedes-Benz diesels - electronic fuel injectors that spray gasoline directly into the combustion chambers rather than indirect port fuel injection most gasoline engines used in the past. Featuring a piezo-ceramic crystalline element that changes shape instantly when electrical current is applied, blazingly fast piezo injectors make it possible to design very sensitive and precise injection systems, including the ability to program several small injections with each piston stroke.
The first injection is sprayed into the combustion chamber as the piston is descending on the intake stroke. Depending on speed, load and temperature conditions, another injection or two takes place during the compression up-stroke before ignition, forming a stratified mixture. A fourth injection can stabilize combustion if it's needed.
On the new V6, a rapid multi-spark ignition system begins combustion with the first spark, but has the capability to recharge and deliver up to three more sparks within a single millisecond. Working with direct fuel injection, the multi-spark system can create a gas plasma with more expansion than conventional ignition, which translates to more power. The time lapse between sparks is adjustable, so combustion duration can actually be controlled, resulting in two percent better fuel economy, and a total of four percent improvement in combination with direct fuel injection.
Mounted on the ends of the V6 intake and exhaust camshafts, the hydraulic camshaft adjusters that vary valve timing are now 35 percent faster, and with a wider range of 40 crankshaft degrees. Despite their improved performance, they're also more than a half inch smaller in height and width. Smaller valve timing adjusters are made possible by a new cam chain drive system, in which the crankshaft drives an intermediate shaft above the crank. In turn, the intermediate shaft drives two short chains - one for each cylinder bank - that loop around the intake and exhaust camshaft drive sprockets. The new chain drive results in less tension and lower chain dynamics, for even lower friction and less noise.
A fourth chain drives a new variable vane-type oil pump in the bottom of the engine. At low engine speed and load, the oil pump only generates about 28 psi (or two bar) of oil pressure, and nozzles that spray cooling oil on the pistons are inactive. As engine speed and load increases, oil pressure goes up, and the oil spray nozzles are turned on. In this way, less energy is used when less cooling and lubrication is needed.
Even the cooling system is significantly refined in the new V6 engine, beginning with a two-stage flow circuit through the cylinder head. This improved coolant flow results in better heat dissipation, despite lower coolant pressure, so that the water pump uses less engine power. A three-phase cooling system helps the engine warm up very quickly. When the engine is first started, no coolant circulates. Then, as the engine warms up, coolant begins to circulate within the engine, but not through the radiator. Only when the coolant temperature reaches 221 degrees Fahrenheit (or 189 degrees F. under high load), coolant also circulates through the radiator. Coolant circulation through the heating system for the car's interior is controlled separately.
Among the many standard life-saving features on the C-Class is the innovative ATTENTION ASSIST system that can alert the driver to the first signs of drowsiness, a factor that causes more than 100,000 accidents a year in the U.S.
A steering sensor is coupled to smart software that uses 70 parameters to establish a unique driver profile during the first 20 minutes of driving. Between 50 and 112 mph, the system identifies the erratic steering corrections drivers make as they begin to get drowsy and triggers an audible warning, and a "Time for a Rest?" message with a coffee cup icon appears in the instrument cluster.
Other examples of trailblazing Mercedes-Benz innovations include: Lane Keeping Assist, which alerts the driver by simulating rumble strip vibration in the steering wheel if the car drifts from its lane without the turn signals on. Part of the optional Lane Tracking Package, it operates at speeds above 37 mph via a system that recognizes lane markings, thanks to a small camera in the windshield and a computer that analyzes the video images.
The Lane Tracking Package also includes Blind Spot Assist, which monitors both blind spots behind and to the side of the vehicle. Whenever a turn signal is activated with a vehicle in the blind spot, the driver gets visual and audible warnings.
Adaptive Highbeam Assist uses a small video camera to sense both headlights and taillights, then softly and automatically transitions between high and low beam operation to avoid dazzling other drivers. With this system, the range of the headlights can be varied infinitely from their current 220 feet to up to 1,000 feet.
The standard ADAPTIVE BRAKE system includes several helpful features:
All C-Class models boast Agility Control, which provides the benefits of both soft and stiff shock absorbers. Each twin-tube shock absorber is fitted with a hydraulic by-pass piston that acts like a very soft shock absorber to effectively dampen road noise and tire vibration. However, over bumpy or uneven roads, the by-pass piston is out of the picture, which preserves the outstanding steering and handling response of a stiffer shock absorber.
The latest version of the Mercedes-Benz 4MATIC all-wheel-drive system is optionally available on the C300 Sport and the C300 Luxury models. The 4MATIC system features a full-time all-wheel-drive system that's cleanly integrated into the seven-speed automatic transmission and fits right into the standard body, utilizing the existing front suspension. The extra gears and shafts that drive the front wheels weigh only 145 pounds more than the rear-wheel-drive model. Fuel efficiency has been improved, due to a number of innovative measures that minimize the energy needed to turn the extra hardware.
The 2012 C-Class comes with all the safety features expected from Mercedes-Benz - from four-wheel disc brakes and ABS anti-lock brakes to traction control and ESP stability control. The C-Class Sedan boasts nine supplemental restraints including two-stage front air bags, a knee air bag for the driver, and pelvic air bags which work together with curtain and side air bags to provide extra protection for front occupants in dangerous side-impact collisions. The C-Class Coupe also features standard rear side airbags, bringing its total to 11 supplemental restraints.