The 2012 Mercedes C300 Sedan is an entry-level offering from Mercedes-Benz. However, unlike most Mercedes cars, the C300 has undergone a face lift. The C300 is part of the W204 generation of C-Class cars, with this generation being launched in January 18, 2007. It is an introduction to the prestigious Mercedes brand without emptying your wallet. For the 2012 model year, the C300 is available as a sport and a luxury sedan, both with four-wheel drive. This review is largely based on the C300 Sport Sedan with the Mercedes star set in the grille, in contrast to the C300 Luxury Sedan with a Mercedes hood ornament.
The 3.0 liter engine, mated to a 7-speed automatic overdrive transmission, generates 228 horsepower at 6000RPM and 221 foot-pounds of torque at 2700 RPM, providing it with decent acceleration and passing power. Zero-to-60mph arrives in 6.8 seconds and although the car is governed at 130mph, it can easily exceed the governed top speed. Of course, given the traffic in Southern California, including driving on Interstate 405, it is simply not possible to test the top speed of the car. However, if you drive it flat out, you will exceed 100mph before you know it. Expect to get 18 miles per gallon in city driving and 25 miles per gallon in highway driving, which in my opinion is low for a car with that type of engine and power. For those who need more speed, they can instead defer to the C350 with 302 horsepower and 273 foot-pounds of torque, or even better, the C63 AMG with 451 horsepower and 443 foot-pounds of torque.
Unlike previous Mercedes cars, it feels a bit rough at speed, but that may be due to the state of Southern California roads and highways, which are chronically congested. This especially applies to Interstate 10 and 405 in the Los Angeles area. Also, the C300 is fairly roomy, seating five people in relative comfort, although it is relatively cramped compared to the E-Class for obvious reasons. In addition, the trunk can hold 3 suitcases or 4 in a pinch. Also, the sound system and climate control are driver-friendly. The C300’s ability to negotiate Southern California’s busy and congested roads make it very maneuverable and appropriate for both city and highway driving, with the ability to stop at short notice.
As for safety, the C300 Sport Sedan bears the safety features expected of a Mercedes-Benz, like child safety door locks, power door locks, an anti-theft system, ABS, traction and stability control, a trunk anti-trap device, and driver and passenger airbags. An electronic parking aid does not come standard but is offered as an option.
The C300 Sport Sedan carries a Suggested Retail Price of approximately $38,000 in the United States, excluding tax, destination charge, and registration. Expect to pay slightly more for leather seating and a navigation system, although the ubiquity of navigation software on modern smartphones makes the optional navigation system a waste of money.
Overall verdict: Fair for a starter Mercedes, but underpowered relative to fuel economy.
Mercedes safety without breaking the bank.
High resale value.
Fuel economy is low for a six-cylinder engine.
Underpowered, considering the sticker price and fuel economy. For about $3,000 more, you can get the C350 with substantially more power.