The new Mercedes C-Class will undercut its key rival from BMW on running costs and tax bills when it goes on sale in the spring, according to prices and specs that have been revealed today.
Mercedes has confirmed that the C200 petrol C-Class will be priced from £26,855 and the diesel C220 Bluetec will cost from £29,365. Both motors will come with a six-speed manual as standard and have a seven-speed auto available as a £1500 option.
Both BMWs are cheaper to buy than the equivalent Merc but the C-Class models will be cheaper to run, thanks to lower CO2 emissions and lower tax band ratings. On the C200 SE, company car buyers will pay tax at 17% while BMW 320i SE drivers pay 21%.
The same applies to diesel buyers; C220 Bluetec SE drivers will be taxed at 16%, while 320d SE drivers pay 19%.
Stiffer competition comes from our recently crowned Executive Car of the Year 2014, the Audi A3 Saloon. The A3 Saloon 2.0 TDI Sport matches the Merc for company car tax but is a whopping £5000 cheaper to buy, priced at £24,275.
The new 200 produces 182bhp and the manual version gets from rest to 62mph in 7.5 seconds, while the auto is a bit quicker, at 7.3 seconds. With either gearbox the petrol engine averages 53.3mpg and emits 123g/km of CO2.
The 168bhp C220 Bluetec reaches 62mph in 7.7 seconds in manual guise, and 7.4 seconds with the optional automatic. Manual versions average 70.6mpg and emit just 103g/km of CO2; auto models return 65.7mpg and emit 109 g/km.
Three trim lines are available: SE, Sport and AMG Line. The standard specification includes dual-zone air-conditioning, reversing camera, auto wipers, 16-inch alloy wheels, Artico upholstery and an infotainment system with a seven-inch colour display that's controlled by a trackpad between the front seats. Split folding rear seats are an option; you can get them as part of the £995 Executive pack, which also includes heated front seats and sat-nav.
Sport models get 17-inch alloys, sat-nav, LED headlights and lowered comfort suspension. AMG Line spec comes with 18-inch alloys, AMG body kit and sports suspension.
The C200 SE is priced from £26,855, the C200 Sport will cost £28,850 and the C200 AMG Line will set you back £30,345. The C220 Bluetec SE costs £29,365, while the Sport and AMG Line C220s cost £31,360 and £32,855 respectively.