What is a Coupé?

A coupé is a type of car bodystyle that is characterised by its sleek and sporty design, typically featuring two doors, a fixed roof, and a compact size.

Modern cars come in all shapes and sizes, from towering SUVs and practical MPVs to hot hatchbacks and sporty superminis. But each vehicle boasts a unique personality, serving a different purpose, catering to varied needs, and ticking the boxes of individual drivers.

Among the many car bodystyles, coupés can be argued as one of the most attractive for sure. Their sleek lines, powerful engines, and head-turning presence has captivated car enthusiasts for years.

But what exactly defines a coupé? Is it simply a 2-door car, or is there more to it?

Find out more about the world of coupés as we delve into everything you need to know about this particular type of car.

What are the features of a coupé?

Toyota GT86 Front

Think the iconic Ford Mustang, the Toyota GT86 or a Jaguar F-Type. These cars prioritise style and performance over practicality, offering a more intimate driving experience for those onboard.

The term 'coupé' is derived from the French word for 'cut', and historically, coupés were often distinguished by a shorter and more sloping roofline compared to their saloon counterparts.

Coupés are known for their stylish and dynamic appearance, emphasising a sense of performance and swiftness. The 2-door configuration enhances the overall aerodynamics of the vehicle by giving it a lower centre of gravity, contributing to a more streamlined and sporty profile, as well as enhanced handling and agility.

While coupés traditionally accommodated only two passengers, modern versions often offer some rear seating, making them versatile options that blend style with practicality. There are also now multiple types of coupé cars available that have deviated slightly from the traditional 2-door setup that was common for coupés.

What are the different types of coupés?

Skoda Enyaq VRS Coupé

Hatchback Coupé:

The hatchback coupé represents a modern evolution of the traditional coupé concept by incorporating the practicality of a hatchback with the sleek styling of a coupé. They feature a rear door that opens upwards to provide easier access to the cargo area, appealing to those who appreciate a dynamic appearance without sacrificing versatility.

SUV Coupé:

On the other end of the spectrum, the SUV coupé introduces a unique blend of coupé aesthetics with the elevated stance and robustness of an SUV.

Typically characterised by its sloping roofline, the SUV coupé maintains a sporty appearance while catering to drivers who desire the spaciousness and off-road abilities associated with SUVs. The BMW X6 and Porsche Macan are prime examples, featuring sloping rooflines and athletic proportions while maintaining ample cargo space and seating for five.

4-Door Coupé:

The 4-door coupé combines the classic coupé profile with the convenience of four doors. This challenges the typical notion of coupés being 2-door cars, and it provides a good balance between sportiness and everyday usability. No one can argue that having four doors isn't more practical and accessible, and manufacturers have recognised this with the introduction of 4-door coupés.

Some examples of 4-door coupés could be the Mercedes-Benz CLS or the BMW 8 Series Gran Coupé. 'Gran Coupé' is the term used by BMW to describe their larger 4-door coupé vehicles.

What makes a car a coupé?

BMW 2 Series Coupé

With all these different types of coupés and variations on the traditional bodystyle, what is it exactly that makes a car a coupé? While the number of doors and rooflines are key characteristics, they aren't the only factors:

  • Sleek and sporty design: Coupés prioritise aesthetics, featuring flowing lines, sculpted curves, and a low stance.
  • Performance-oriented: Often equipped with powerful engines and responsive handling, coupés are built for driving enjoyment.
  • Limited passenger space: While some modern coupés offer 4-door practicality, the classic coupé experience focuses solely on the driver and a passenger, creating a more personal driving experience.
  • Emotional appeal: Owning a coupé is more than just transportation; it's a statement and shows a passion for driving, appreciating automotive design, and embracing a certain lifestyle.

Is a coupé a sports car?

Audi TTS Final Edition Rear

While coupés are often associated with sports car aesthetics, classifying a coupé as a sports car depends on various factors. A coupé's appearance may be sporty in nature and convey a performance-oriented vibe, but the essence of a sports car lies in its driving capabilities and engineering features.

Many coupés are designed for everyday use, emphasising comfort and practicality as well as the style and sleek design of a coupé, whilst others are specifically labelled as 'sports coupés' and may focus on the high-performance attributes instead.

Therefore, while many sports cars may take the form of a coupé, not all coupés automatically qualify as sports cars, as this completely depends on the driving experience and performance characteristics rather than the body style alone.

Advantages and disadvantages of coupés

BMW M440i Gran Coupé Side

Advantages of Coupés

  • Sleek and stylish design: Coupés are known for their aesthetically pleasing and sporty designs.
  • Agile driving experience: The 2-door configuration especially contributes to a nimble and responsive driving experience, emphasising performance and handling.
  • Lower weight: Coupés are generally lighter than their larger counterparts, potentially leading to improved fuel efficiency and enhance agility on the road, but this purely depends on other aspects of the car.

Disadvantages of Coupés:

  • Limited rear-seat space: Many coupés have limited space for rear passengers, which may be a drawback for some drivers requiring additional seating space.
  • Reduced rear visibility: The sloping roofline of coupés can sometimes impact rear visibility, potentially making manoeuvres more challenging.
  • Reduced headroom: The design of coupés, especially those with a more aggressive roofline, may result in reduced headroom for passengers in the rear seats.
  • Stiffer ride: The sporty design of coupés can lead to the sacrifice of some comfort for enhanced performance.

Is a coupé right for you?

Even this one bodystyle comes in a range of variants like the 2-door, 4-door, and even SUV coupé. While the classic 2-door coupé remains an icon, car manufacturers have introduced these different variations that not only push the boundaries, but also offer drivers alternative options that try and tick all your boxes for what you're looking for.

You can find a wide range of vehicles available at Evans Halshaw, both new and used, coupés and saloons, SUVS or hatchbacks. No matter what you're looking for, we trust that you'll find something that suits your driving needs.