Bang for your buck. It's an idiom often thrown about by potential buyers sniffing around the new car market. Typically, the "bang" refers to value and the "buck" to money.

But what if the "bang" signified peak power instead? Well, we decided to dig around South Africa's new car market and unearth the five cheapest vehicles with 200 kW or more.

The resulting list makes for interesting reading, and comprises a trio of hot hatches, an ageing pseudo-coupe and an even older off-roader (for the record, the R512 900 Dodge Journey 3,6 R/T would have also made this list, but it has effectively been discontinued in SA)…

1. Renault Mégane RS 275 Trophy: R489 900

Yes, there's a replacement in the works, what with the fourth-generation Mégane having recently been launched. But the outgoing Mégane RS is still one of the most focused front-wheel drive hot hatches on the market, scampering to 100 km/h in a 6,0 seconds thanks to its 201 kW/360 N.m 2,0-litre turbo-four (mated exclusively to a manual gearbox).

2. Volkswagen CC 3,6 V6 4Motion: R572 000

Yes, the VW CC is still on the market. And this range-topping derivative packs a naturally aspirated 3,6-litre V6 petrol mill worth 220 kW and 350 N.m. The four-door CC – with its coupe-like roofline – will see off the sprint to three figures in just 5,5 seconds, with a little help from its standard all-wheel drive system and six-speed dual-clutch transmission.

3. Volkswagen Golf R: R581 800

This list would seem a somewhat incomplete if some sort of Golf didn't make the cut, wouldn't it? In this case, it's the manual Golf R, which churns out 206 kW and 380 N.m (detuned for the local market) from its 2,0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder heart. All-wheel drive allows this derivative to hit 100 km/h in just 5,2 seconds, while the (more expensive) dual-clutch variant slices two-tenths off that time…

4. Opel Astra OPC: R582 600

Like the Golf R above, the Astra OPC features a 2,0-litre turbocharged four-pot with a peak power output of 206 kW. The Opel boasts a little more torque (at 400 N.m), but since all of this oomph is sent to the front wheels alone, it takes 6,0 seconds to complete the obligatory 0-100 km/h dash. And, like the Mégane RS above, it's manual or nothing (and based on previous generation underpinnings).

5. Jeep Wrangler 3,6L Sahara: R588 900

The Wrangler, of course, has been around for a relative age. This entry-level derivative employs a 3,6-litre V6 petrol unit, which sends 209 kW and 347 N.m to all four wheels via a five-speed automatic. With low-range as standard, this old-school SUV is highly capable off the beaten track, and can even see off the sprint to 100 km/h (on tar, of course) in a smidgen over eight seconds.

Also read: