During the 1950s, the term drop-head coupe was at times used to define some models of convertibles. From the 1960s onwards, the term coupe has been used to define two-door, fixed roof sports models exclusively. However, over the years a number of models have been introduced that while technically considered to be coupes, have a third rear door. This is typically known as a hatchback. There have also been several four-door models introduced as coupes over the years. However this is frequently nothing more than a marketing term meant to depict the car as being sportier.
Interestingly, the Society of Automotive Engineers defines a coupe not by how many doors it has, but by how much interior space it houses. Therefore even some vehicles with two doors may be regarded as two-door sedans rather than coupes. Conversely, there are some four-door models that could be technically regarded as coupes due to their compact interiors.
Over the years automobile manufacturers have largely defined coupes as belonging to one of five varieties:
Coupes with larger rear seats that could possibly also be regarded as two-door sedans are known as club coupes.
Business coupes are those with no rear seat or a rear seat that can be removed. These types of coupes were designed for traveling vendors or others who regularly carry their supplies for work with them.
An opera coupe is a high-roofed passenger car that is larger than a standard coupe. These types of cars were popular in the 1970s and 1980s and were generally outfitted with opera windows, which were small and circular; allowing passengers to see out without themselves being seen.
Fastbacks are usually sporty-looking coupes with roofs that slope gradually in the rear. Many of today’s models come equipped with a rear hatchback door.
Four-door coupes are essentially sedans with the interior proportions of coupes. Models of this kind typically have seats for four passengers despite the fact that they may lack the necessary head and legroom. In many instances, the term four-door coupe is an attempt to brand a sedan or saloon model as being sportier.
Popular Coupe Styles
Coupe cars are widely popular today not just for the style and performance they offer, but also because many of them are surprisingly economical as well. Currently there is a vast array of coupes on the market. These range from zippy economical compacts powered by four-cylinder engines to high performance sports cars powered by massive V-12 engines.
Some of the most popular economy coupes include the Honda Accord, the Honda Civic, the Nissan Altima, and the Hyundai Elantra.
Examples of popular sportier, more muscular coupes include the Chevrolet Camaro, the Dodge Challenger, and the Ford Mustang Coupe.
Luxury sports coupes are also very popular with drivers these days. Some of the most commonly seen models are the Audi A5, the BMW 6-Series, the Infiniti G37, and the Mercedes-Benz C-Class.
When it comes to all out performance some of the more recognizable coupes include the Aston Martin DB9, the Audi R8, the Jaguar XK, the Porsche 911, and the Nissan 370Z.
Who Are Coupes Best Suited For?
Coupes are available in a wide range of models, sizes, and types. This means a coupe can be the perfect car for almost any driver. Economy coupes like the Honda Civic are great cars for teenagers or college students. They get great mileage, are cheap to maintain, have sporty lines, and perform well.
If you want to impress, there’s nothing like a good luxury sport coupe to inspire your daily commute. Models like the Audi A5 or the Infiniti G37 are perfect for on-the-go professionals both male and female.
Of course if you want to enjoy luxury and high performance, a high-end sport coupe like the Jaguar XK or the Porsche 911 may be the right car for you.
It is worth noting though that by definition, coupes lack interior space. This means that driving a coupe can be less than ideal for anyone who regularly has to pick up and drop off the kids at school, or needs to transport large items.