Ahead of its Geneva debut, Mercedes-Benz previews the new 2012 C-Class Coupe. The new model takes a different approach and moves away from the compact look. Many design elements have been inherited from the C-Class sedan, similar front fascia and fenders as its four-door siblings.

To differentiate itself, the Coupe models receive a sweeping panoramic glass roof that’s nearly an inch and a half lower than the sedan. Interesting enough, the C-Class Coupe incorporates a kink in the quarter window design which somewhat reminds of the Hoffmeister Kink seen on BMWs.

The 2012 C-Class Coupe is built on the same platform as the sedan and uses the same 108.7-inch wheelbase, but it’s slightly lighter – 100 lbs. By comparison, the BMW 3 Series Coupe is nearly two centimeters shorter.

At US launch, Mercedes will offer a base model, C250 Coupe, equipped with a direct-injection, turbocharged 1.8-liter I-4, which produces 201 horsepower at 5500 rpm and 229 pound-feet of torque from 2200-4300 rpm. The four-cylinder powered C250 Coupe has a standard fuel consumption of 6.5 to 7 liters per 100 kilometers.

BMW 325i Coupe is the one that comes close to C250. The six-cylinder 218 horsepower 325i Coupe runs to 100 km/h in 7.1 seconds and has a standard consumption of 7.2 to 7.4 liters.

In Europe, Mercedes will launch the C180 Blue Efficiency powered by a four-cylinder engine. The car accelerates to 100 km/h in 9 seconds and has fuel consumption rating of 6.7 liters to 7.3 liters. Its counterpart in the BMW lineup is the 318i Coupe that has a standard consumption of 6.3 liters per 100 kilometers.

The higher-end C350 Coupes receive a direct-injection 3.5-liter V-6, which is rated at 302 horsepower at 6500 rpm, and 273 pound-feet of torque from 3500-5250 rpm. A seven-speed automatic transmission is matted to the engines which drives the rear wheels. 4Matic all-wheel drive will not be offered on the C-Class coupe. The BMW 335i Coupe runs to 100 km/h in 5.4 seconds, but it consumes 8.4 liters, more than the Mercedes, which reports 6.8 to 7.0 liters.

Inside, Mercedes continues to offer the luxury touches its customer became accustomed to, along with some cutting-edge electronic wizardry.

As always, we decided to place the two vehicles head-to-head and compare them through images from different angles.

[Photo source: BimmerToday ]