The Three Most Affordable Mercedes of 2012

Written by a Guest Blogger

Mercedes-Benz has long been renowned for their luxury and longevity, but when investing in a luxury car you want to make sure you’re getting the best for your money. Comparing sticker prices is a good place to start, but this basic comparison doesn’t give you a true idea of what you’ll pay to own and maintain the vehicle. For that, we need to look at cost of ownership data.

Here are the 3 most affordable Mercedes-Benz based on the total cash price and the five year cost of ownership.

What is the 5 Year Cost of Ownership?

True cost of ownership is made of six costs you won’t see listed in the sticker price: depreciation, fuel, financing, insurance, maintenance/repairs and tax.

According to Kelley Blue Book, depreciation makes up about 48% of the five year cost of ownership for the average vehicle in 2012, making it one of the most important factors in determining a specific vehicle’s true cost of ownership.

After depreciation, the next most important cost to consider is fuel. Assuming 15,000 miles traveled per year, fuel costs represent about 24% of the total 5 year ownership cost.

Finally, interest fees (11%), insurance costs (10%), maintenance/repairs (8%) and taxes  (also 8%) account for the remainder of the total cost of ownership over 5 years.

Using Kelly Blue Book’s five year ownership data, here are the three least costly Mercedes-Benz models of 2012:

1. 2012 Mercedes C250 Sport Sedan — Price + 5 Year Cost of Ownership: $86,166
The meticulously engineered and constructed 2012 Mercedes C250 Sport offers a refined ride and holds the status as one of the best luxury sedans. The base model starts at $34,800, but we’re assuming you can drive home for about $33,400.

According to, the estimated five-year total cost of ownership for the 2012 C250 Sport is $52,742, the bulk of which is depreciation (about $22k).

2. 2012 Mercedes C250 Luxury Sedan — Price + 5 Year Cost of Ownership: $86,535
While the differences between the C250 Sport and Luxury models may seem cosmetic, the true difference is in the ride. Luxury models prioritize ride comfort with shocks designed to allow free suspension movement over smoother surfaces and firm up on rougher roads. We’re assuming a cash price of $33,800 plus an estimated $52,725 ownership cost to arrive at the total.

3. 2012 Mercedes-Benz GLK350 — Price + 5 Year Cost of Ownership: $87,343
Mercedes compact crossover GLK350 provides impressive ride and handling with robust structure, impressively crafted cabin, and layers of technology. Assuming a total cash price of $32,495 (that’s the standard rear-wheel drive model), you’ll be close to the number given above.

Interestingly enough, the GLK shines with a low depreciation cost (just $21k) but suffers from a high fuel cost. The GLK’s 18PMG combined EPA rating means you’ll likely spend $16,000+ in fuel over five-years. If this vehicle got just 1 more MPG, it would be the least expensive Mercedes-Benz model available.

Other relatively affordable Mercedes-Benz models (based on total five year cost to own):

•    The rest of the C-class (excluding the C63 sedan or coupe) runs from $90-$100k
•    The 4Matic GLK350 at $92k
•    The E350 sedans run from $112k to $115k, while the wagon E350 hits $124k

While these numbers might not make you feel great, keep in mind that they’re based on a series of assumptions. If you a) minimize your fuel costs, b) pay cash, and c) keep your vehicle for 10-12 years, the relative cost of a new Mercedes-Benz is much more comparable to non-premium car.

Additionally, remember that vehicles lose the most value to depreciation within the first year. You can save a lot of money buying a late model version of your favorite Mercedes-Benz.

Author Elizabeth Bailey writes about all things cars for, Melbourne, Australia’s finest Mercedes-Benz dealership.


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Michael Gray

Mike has roots in the automotive service industry. He began diagnosing and fixing cars at a young age in his family’s service station. He has worked in automotive parts supply stores, towing companies, and service facilities. After graduating from St. Cloud State University (MN) with a Bachelor’s degree, he implemented and taught a basic car care program at the high school level. During work on his Master’s degree at Illinois State University (IL), he was a curriculum specialist on a National Science Foundation project where he co-authored ten integrated mathematics, science, and technology books designed for team teaching. Mike has also supervised teachers in Career and Technology Education as a school system administrator.

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