Luxury or Marketing: So Different Coupe Cars

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The coupe car body is surrounded by a luxury halo, sporting ambitions, and individualism. Most often, it is the choice of wealthy people who enjoy driving but care about their comfort and safety. It is not surprising that it has a lot of imitators – this is how manufacturers try to make their products more attractive. How do real coupes differ from imitations, what are they, and what are their main features?


The coupe is a two-door version of a sedan in which the rear row of seats is simplified or completely absent. 

The assortment of coupes on the US market is rather diversified. The Indy Auto Man used car dealership experts explain why people buy these cars and what models are the most popular in Indianapolis in their blog

Like a sedan, a coupe has a tree-box body with separate passenger and luggage compartments. But there is only one door on each side. There can be two or four seats. In most models, the rear seats are simplified. They are more suitable for children, and adults are better off limiting themselves to short trips. The trunk lid of a real coupe lifts separately from the rear window. 

Cars with this name can be divided into four classes:

  • Imitators. Cars that have nothing to do with real coupes but look very alike. They can be hatchbacks and sedans, differing from other models in design and equipment. 
  • Budget coupes. Exactly match the definition. They are based on family cars designed for the mass market. Such coupes have engines of modest power and simple trim, and the suspension is designed more for a comfortable than a dynamic ride. A good example of a budget coupe is the Kia Koup.
  • Sports coupes. These cars are equipped with powerful motors and transmissions designed for high loads. Low center of gravity, high body rigidity, and special suspension settings help them to remain stable during high-speed maneuvering. Sports coupe examples are Ford Mustang GT and Chevrolet Camaro 2SS.
  • Luxury coupes. Massive cars with spacious interiors, which differ from sedans only in a simplified rear row of seats. They offer luxurious equipment suitable for representative purposes. Luxury coupes are comfortable at any speed but slightly inferior to sports models in terms of dynamics and controllability. Examples are Bentley Continental GT and BMW 8-Series Coupe.

Numerous imitators

Coupes have a long history. Back in the 1970s in the US, powerful and cramped muscle cars began to give way to more affordable, economical, and practical pony cars. Similar to sports cars, they featured modest engines and simple interior trim. But they were spacious and offered large trunks. In pursuit of profit from sales in the United States, the Japanese introduced their counterparts – Toyota Celica and Mitsubishi Celeste. Outwardly similar to a coupe, they were hatchbacks with a separate luggage compartment imitation. Today, such machines are called liftbacks. They differ from real coupes with their trunk lid raised with the rear window.

In the late 1980s, marketers chose a different tactic. Hatchbacks began to carry the name coupe. It went only to three-door modifications. By naming practical five doors like that, advertisers risked destroying the reputation of real coupes. Famous examples are the Audi Coupe and the later Renault Megane Coupe. Three-door hatchbacks no longer tried to look like a coupe – they were limited to light sport styling.

In the mid-1990s, coupe convertibles with a folding metal roofs became popular. They were inferior to their competitors in body rigidity, which caused handling problems. Comfort was also not ideal – over time, the tightness of the connections was broken, and cold air currents and drops of water appeared in the cabin. But these models owe their popularity to low reliability – the folding mechanism quickly failed, requiring an expensive replacement.

In the early 2000s, the era of marketing ploys began again. This time, the classic four-door sedans received the title of coupes. They differed from conventional models only in their lowered roofline, cramped rear seats, and some design nuances. There were many examples – Volkswagen Passat CC, Mercedes-Benz CLS, BMW 6-series, and others. These cars are often called four-door coupes to emphasize belonging to two classes at the same time.

Another category is called two-door sedans. They are very close to the coupe, but their design is simplified for reasons of economy, not to improve handling. Ford Taunus, FIAT 128, and BMW 2002 belong to this class.

Coupe Advantages and Disadvantages

A coupe is more rigid due to the smaller total width of the doorways. Simplified compared to the sedan design allows a car to lose some weight. The manufacturers equip such cars with more powerful engines and sports suspensions to separate them from other models. In addition, most coupes have improved interior trim. This gives you the following benefits:

  • Acceleration is faster, and the maximum speed is higher than that of sedans. 
  • Fuel consumption is lower than that of vehicles with the same power. 
  • A more rigid body increases the level of safety, preventing the car from collapsing in an accident. 
  • Wide doors facilitate the landing of the driver and passenger. 
  • Better handling, the car remains stable at high speed. 
  • The equipment is usually better than that of sedans and hatchbacks on the same platform. 
  • The car looks stylish and eye-catching.

But for some drivers, the cons of the coupe outweigh the pros. Most often, they complain about such shortcomings as:

  • The back row of seats is very cramped or absent – you won’t be able to go on vacation in a big company. 
  • Landing back is difficult – you have to recline the front seat, which eventually becomes loose and starts to creak. 
  • The car is more expensive. Some manufacturers raise the price of repairs and maintenance for image reasons. 
  • Selling a coupe is more difficult in the secondary market because of its sporty image. 

A coupe is often the second or third car in a family. It is suitable for comfortable trips alone or in the company of a loved one. A strong body, a powerful engine, and rigid suspension allow you to get the most out of driving pleasure. Coupes are also bought for regular trips to sports tracks, where they reveal their full potential. 

But such a vehicle has limitations. It has little space for passengers and cargo and requires expensive maintenance. In all the rest, the coupe is a pleasure car that makes a good impression on others.

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