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Mercedes-Benz CLA to be around $50,000

Prestige cars will continue to cost us less than ever with a Mercedes-Benz sedan that's priced at less than a Subaru Liberty going on sale in December.

With a price tag to be a little over $50,000 the CLA is the least expensive Mercedes of its type ever sold in Australia. It will be some $2000 more than the top priced Mazda6, less by  the same sum than an upper bracket Subaru and almost $10,000 below the popular Mercedes-Benz C-Class.

Unlike the C-Class, the country's best-selling mid-size imported car, the CLA enters showrooms well under the luxury car tax threshold, which takes effects from $58,000.

The traditionally premium cost German luxury brands are fighting a price war that has already seen Mercedes, BMW and Audi market family-sized hatchbacks for as low as $34,900. Last month Mercedes released the A-Class hatch at $36,000, less than a basic Commodore.

Mercedes-Benz spokesman Jerry Stamoulis said the CLA was another move toward broader acceptance. The world's oldest carmaker has the world's oldest buyers with an average age of 55, among the highest of any auto brand.

"People who buy the CLA will very likely never have even considered a Mercedes-Benz," he said. "We want to get into people's lives earlier. We think they'll continue to buy Mercedes."

Billed as a "four door coupe", the CLA is closely related to the A-Class, which has become the best selling car of its type with demand threatening to outstrip supply.

The unprecedented plunge into affordability by the prestige brands is placing pressure on Japanese brands and Volkswagen, whose new Golf is released next month.

WHAT $50k BUYS YOU - the sedans being squeezed from above

Honda Accord Euro - $43,140
Mazda6 Atenza diesel - $49,690
Subaru Liberty Premium - $52,990
Toyota Aurion Presara - $49,990
Volkswagen CC - $54,990