It's easy to design a big sedan that looks hot. Think Ford Falcon GTHO and dozens of bruisers since.
But how many small sedans, Alfas aside, make you go "wow"? Often they have looked, you know, just a bit awkward.
I'm talking the drop-dead- desirable CLA sedan, whose curves Mercedes-Benz sculpted over the underpinnings of its groovy A-Class hatch.
But the spin-offs don't stop there.
Next year, the A-Class platform will also spawn a compact SUV, called the GLA, which could start under $45,000, drive-away.
The CLA sedan is such a looker you could be smitten at first sight.
Though to create this $50,000 ball of desire, I suspect the German car maker did something quite simple.
It took out from a dusty drawer a sketch of its big, head-turning fastback sedan, the CLS, then set the photocopier to 70 per cent.
And out came the CLA, though added were some sharper creases to give it additional edge.
This week, in the hills and dales of Victoria's Yarra Valley, I tested two of the four "baby CLS" versions headed our way.
These were the current releases, the entry CLA 200 ($49,900) and smoking CLA 45 AMG ($86,900).
Then post-yuletide comes the $50,400 diesel and, in autumn, the $63,400 CLA 250 Sport.
The genius of this four-door "coupe" range is that even the entry variant is as fun to drive as it looks.
Sureness and agility are bywords for the CLA 200, which is urged by a lively 115kW 1.6-litre turbo-petrol four-cylinder engine matched to a seven-speed dual- clutch auto.
It uses 5.7L/100km, typical of the sipping fuel figures across the range.
These are due partly to extraordinary aerodynamics, the drag co-efficient being the lowest of any car on sale in Australia.
The delicious AMG version, whose 2.0-litre turbo-petrol engine is the world's most powerful production four-cylinder, is lively with a capital L, though still very livable as a daily drive.
Assisted by all-wheel-drive, the 265kW hero model is capable of spurting to 100km/h in 4.6sec.
With such credentials, a hard-nosed racetrack suspension is made available as an option for club enthusiasts.
But if you bought the basic CLA, the 200, I think your passengers would still say wow.
That's because base-model prestige-brand cars are far from basic these days. Providing exterior bling in the starter car are 18-inch alloys while, inside, the infotainment system has a 15cm colour screen, sat-nav, six speakers and audio streaming.
The safety equipment is also far from basic in a car that seems hell-bent on keeping you free of bingles. It has run-flat tyres, which prevent sudden blowouts, and bi-xenon headlights, which are great for spotting roos. The myriad magic electronic tricks include blind-spot monitoring and an alarm that sounds if driver drowsiness is detected.
At speeds between 7-200km/h, the car can identify if a collision is imminent, warn the driver and even initiate automated braking to avoid or lessen the impact. If an accident does occur, there are nine airbags aboard to soften the blow.
That's three more than most cars, with the CLA's extra balloons providing side-torso protection for rear passengers (often kids) and the lower legs of the driver.
Even the bonnet is socially responsible, being designed to limit injuries in a collision with a pedestrian.
An audiophile's package is one of an array of bundled options that are priced to entice.
This $2490 showbag includes a bigger screen, a 12-speaker Harman Kardon Logic 7 surround-sound system, a hard-drive sat-nav and music register, voice-control operation, internet connectivity and a digital radio.
This edgy new Merc would be a highly emotive "I just want one" style of purchase.
Yet it's also reasonably practical, having four doors and a capacious 470-litre boot.
But there's always a price to pay for sexy, swooping rooflines.
If giving a lift home to a Wildcat, they'd have to sit up front.
Benz is hot to trot in its small- car division, taking its excellent A-Class hatch and turning it into a completely different - and delectable - sedan. Watch out for the SUV version.
- MERCEDES-BENZ CLA*
Price: $49,900 (plus on-roads)
Engine: 1.6-litre turbo-petrol
Transmission: Seven-speed dual-clutch auto
Model: CLA 45 AMG
Engine: 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo petrol
Transmission: Seven-speed dual-clutch auto
0-100km/h: 4.6 seconds