Prices of the all-new Mercedes-Benz C-class will be up to15 per cent less than the existing model, offering outstanding value for money, it was announced today.

The car offers huge advances in technology with high levels of equipment, more powerful engines and even more advanced safety features than the model it replaces. Many features of the new C-class are completely new to this class of car and "intelligent" airbags for the driver and front-seat passenger are a world first on any car.

Even though £820 million and four years of intensive development work went in to producing the all-new car, there is virtually no difference in price to the out-going model, while each model has at least an extra £1,400 worth of factory equipment.

Recommended on-the-road prices start at £20,740 for the C180 Classic, which has £4,000 worth of extra specification over the outgoing model with a price increase of just £300, a value improvement of nearly 15%.

Details on the percentage value improvements are shown on attachment 1.

Six-speed manual gearboxes, which have Speedtronic cruise control, are fitted to the new car and a brand new range of engines offers up to 20 per cent more power than on the previous model.

Dermot Kelly, Director of Mercedes-Benz Cars in the UK, said: "We are really offering outstanding value for money with this new range in addition to class leading technology and safety. The new C-class has set the benchmark in its class and the reception the car has received has been incredible.

"We were getting hugely positive reactions before we made the announcement on prices today. I am certain that the only problem we may have with this car will be getting enough of them to meet demand."

More than 5,000 forward orders have already been placed for the new C-class which goes on sale in the UK on 21 September.

All new C-class models will have a much higher level of standard equipment than the outgoing model, including automatic climate control, the first two-stage "intelligent" driver and front passenger airbags in the world, an upgraded radio cassette, a multi-function steering wheel which allows the driver fingertip control of all of the electronic functions within the car and partially electric front seats.

The new C-class - model by model

Starting the new range is the C180 which has a four-cylinder 2.0-litre engine developing 129hp, an increase over the old model. The new C180 costs £20,740, the price for the outgoing model was £20,440. It will be introduced in October.

The C200K has a newly-developed 163hp 2.0-litre supercharged four-cylinder engine, with the performance of a six-cylinder engine. It costs £22,240, an identical price to the outgoing C200.

A new V6 2.6-litre engine developing 170hp powers the new C240. It costs £24,140 and replaces the outgoing C240, which with automatic transmission, cost £25,740.

More power, more torque, less price, these are the key features of the new C320 Elegance, the top of the new C-class range. Compared with the C280 it replaces, it has a V6 engine generating 218hp versus 197hp. The C320 reaches 62.5mph in 7.8 seconds, 0.7 seconds quicker than the C280. The new C320 Elegance costs just £30,250 compared with the outgoing C280 Elegance which cost £31,740; representing an outstanding package of power, performance and pricing.

The 220Cdi engine, acknowledged by the media as one of the finest diesel engines available today, complements the petrol engine line up in this all new model. Advanced technological features of this engine include: direct injection common rail diesel engine and variable turbine geometry. The benefit of all this technology for the driver is an extra 18hp and even lower emissions, qualifying this car for the lowest possible taxation band within the new company car taxation system. The new C220 CDI costs £23,250 while the outgoing model was £22,240.

Early next year there will be an addition of the powerful 2.7-litre diesel C270 CDI, prices for this model are yet to be released.

All prices quoted are recommended on-the-road retail prices for cars in Classic trim (except for the C320). The cost to upgrade to Elegance or Avantgarde package is £2,000.

Elegance models have a range of additional features including seven-hole alloy wheels, leather trimmed steering wheel and gear shift, illuminated vanity mirrors, folding mirrors, headlamp wash and a rain sensor which automatically activates the windscreen wipers.

Avantgarde models, the sportiest model, have the same specification as Elegance but with five-hole alloy 16-inch wheels, "Aluquadra" aluminium trim, and special bumpers and side skirts.

Attachment 1:-

Value improvements