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First Look: 2012 Mercedes-Benz C-Class

“Most extensive facelift ever,” says maker.

by on Jan.10, 2011

Parked alongside a replica of the original Benz car, Mercedes lifts the covers on the 2012 C-Class sedan.

What’s the difference between a facelift and a complete redesign?  Apparently not much, at least not in the case of the 2012 Mercedes-Benz C-Class, which has undergone a dramatic transformation touching on 2,000 separate parts, from sheet metal to the smallest nuts and bolts.

“It is the most in-depth facelift we have ever done,” Dieter Zetsche, CEO of Mercedes’ parent, Daimler AG, told TheDetroitBureau.com.

The changes are distinct and instantly apparent, starting with a more curvaceous shape that calls to mind the latest-generation Mercedes CLS, its coupe-like sedan.  The new 3-bar chrome grille is not only sleeker in appearance but more aerodynamic, the entire sedan rated at a 0.26 coefficient of drag – engineering speak for a design as windswept as many sports cars.

That, the maker says, is one reason why the various versions of what was once called the “Baby Benz” gets as much as 31% better fuel economy than the model it replaces, depending on the choice of powertrain.