A baby and a pair of boomers
ABARTH 595, $27,500
The Scorpion-badged offshoot of the Fiat range now has a model to occupy the middle ground between the $18,000 Fiat 500 and performance Abarth Turismo models from $34,000.
The 595 is powered by a turbocharged 1.4-litre engine good for 104kW/206Nm. The coupe is $27,500 and the convertible with standard fivespeed manual gearbox is $31,500. Auto adds $2000 to each.
The money buys a two-door baby car with sprightly acceleration and the 16-inch rims give it a more purposeful look than the 15-inch wheels on the 500s.
Standard gear includes a seven-inch infotainment touchscreen and rear parking sensors. Future Abarths include a range-topping 135kW variant.
MERCEDES-BENZ C-CLASS COUPE FROM $65,900
You pay for looks when it comes to sheet metal, which is why the entry C200 coupe is $5000 more than the equivalent four-door sedan. Beyond the styling the coupe adds sports suspension and steering, AMG body style pack and LED headlamps.
Moving up to the diesel C250d costs $74,900 and the headline act on the regular range is (for now) the C300 at $83,400. That price almost doubles for those wanting the go and show found in the Mercedes-AMG C63 S coupe.
The $162,400 hot rod adds a TV tuner, panoramic sunroof and quality leather upholstery but most will be bragging about the bigger wheels, upgraded suspension and brakes, bi-modal exhaust, electronic limited-slip diff and active engine mounts that contribute to a 3.9-second sprint from rest to 100km/h.
Now (C63 in June)
BMW 330E $71,900
The second plug-in hybrid for the local BMW range is about $2000 dearer than a regular 330i. The hybrid concedes a fraction in performance and 110L of boot space to the conventional sedan but offsets that with an official combined fuel use of just 2.1L/100km.
BMW says the 330e can travel up to 37km on the electricity stored in the 7.6kWh lithium-ion battery pack. A 2.0litre four-cylinder turbo fires up when the battery is depleted and, depending on the mode selected, can recharge the battery to about 80 per cent capacity, boost the electric motor to improve performance or operate by itself to save battery charge for city driving.
The turbo brings 135kW/ 290Nm and the motor 65kW/ 250Nm for a combined output of 185kW/420Nm, to propel the compact sedan to 100km/h in just 6.1 seconds.
Abarth 595, main; Mercedes C-Class Coupe, below left; BMW 330e