Prestige brand Mercedes-Benz is promising to take the low-CO2 battle to its BMW 3-series and Audi A4 premium badge rivals, which will both offer a car in the sub-121g/km 13% benefit-in-kind tax bracket by the end of the year.

New engines for more powerful versions of the C-class mean the new 170PS and 127g/km C220 CDI is now the cleanest model in the range at despite there being a less powerful version available, the 136PS and 149g/km C200 CDI.

“We will see further CO2 reduction on C-class next year, the model changes do leave a space below them,” said Mercedes-Benz Cars managing director Dermot Kelly. “We can match the competition, we do with C-class at the moment. It’s not going to be an issue, it was an issue in the last few years but new E-class has proved we can do it.”

“In the past we didn’t maintain our CO2 figures but now we’re back there and intend to stay there this time around.”