Best coupe cars 2023
The best coupes offer stylish looks, strong performance and fun handling at affordable prices - here are our favourite models
Those after a sporty-looking car who don’t mind too much about losing some practicality should consider going for a coupe. The best coupes combine sharp looks with an enjoyable driving experience, and many are fantastic driver’s cars that are also usable every day.
A coupe is traditionally a car with two doors, a sloping rear roofline and a hard top roof, but in modern times car makers have started to refer to sleek four- and five-door models as coupes as well. Some examples include the BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe and Audi A5 Sportback, which are excellent cars but are really in between a hatchback and a coupe. What tends to be the main factor in a coupe today is the sloping roof.
Some carmakers call the three-door version of a family hatchback a coupe, too. Three-door hatchbacks such as the previous-generation Renault Megane RS can be sublime to drive and very stylish, but we’ve not included any here as most drivers will consider them to be hot hatchbacks rather than coupes.
Many coupes are part of a car range that also includes a convertible - an example is the Audi TT, which is solely available in coupe and convertible forms. Of course, it’s the coupe versions we’re interested in for this article, and we’ve picked out some of the best coupes around.
Many of our choices aren’t your traditional two-seater sports car, as we’ve tried to include coupes that have four and five seats, too. Even if the rear seats are quite small and not all that useful for carrying adults, having an extra set of seats is sometimes handy.
We’ve stuck to more affordable models, because while you can buy a wonderful Aston Martin coupe for around £100,000, that’s not exactly good value for money - or affordable for 99% of drivers. Many of the coupes we’ve picked are just as smart-looking and even more fun to drive than expensive coupes from prestige car makers.
Best coupe cars
1. Audi TT
Best coupe for using all year round
The Audi TT is based on the same technology as the Volkswagen Golf, which means that despite it looking so special, it’s really usable every day. There are even versions with four-wheel drive, which make short work of wet and snowy roads (with the right tyres fitted for safely dealing with snow, of course).
It’s also available with a wide range of engines, which means that if you want an economical car, you could choose a lower-powered petrol or even a diesel version. However, if you want incredible performance, there are also the TT S and TT RS models with lots of horsepower and a fun driving experience.
The TT is one of the most elegant-looking small coupes around, and that goes for the interior as well. The cabin is high quality and looks very modern thanks to the excellent digital dials (rather than traditional clocks, there’s a screen behind the wheel). It’s also comfortable, easy to drive and quiet inside.
Best coupe for upmarket value
If you want a premium coupe but some of the pricier options such as the BMW 4 Series are just a bit out of reach, then the BMW 2 Series is a great alternative. It’s the smallest coupe in the manufacturer’s range and as a result, it’s also the most enjoyable to drive - the M2 high-performance version in particular is one of the most fun coupes around.
Yet the lesser versions of the 2 Series are nearly as good to drive while also being very affordable to purchase, reasonable to run and practical enough as well. The rear seats are a bit too tight for anyone but kids or shorter adults, but if you don’t think you’ll need to carry passengers too often then they’re useful enough and can be folded down to increase the boot space.
There's a new 2 Series Gran Coupe which shifted from rear-wheel drive to front-wheel drive, which means you'll want to stick with the rear-wheel-drive 2 Series Coupe if you want a traditional sports car feel from behind the wheel or you can consider the Gran Coupe if you'd rather the feel of a high-performance hatchback. Older models are the best value at the moment, too, so we’d go for one of the final rear-driven ones.
The powerful M240i model is a highlight, thanks to its wonderful six-cylinder engine, which makes a musical sound when worked hard and offers impressive performance along with surprisingly good fuel economy. If you'd like a coupe with a sporty feel, charismatic engine and reasonable practicality and fuel economy, this is a top choice.
Best coupe for affordable fun
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The Toyota GT86 (and Subaru BRZ, which is almost the same car underneath the skin) is a brilliant coupe for those who want something that’s fun to drive above all else. It’s one of the most entertaining cars on a twisty road that you can get, thanks to its light weight, brilliantly precise steering, slick gear shift and petrol engine that needs working hard to extract maximum performance.
Okay, it’s not the easiest car to drive quickly, as you have to work the engine hard often, but it’s worth it for keen drivers. It’s also sharp-looking and comfortable on bumpy sections of road, plus there’s a decent boot and some rear seats for occasional use.
On the other hand, the GT86 isn’t for those who want a quiet, smooth coupe to commute in, as the interior looks and feels a bit cheap, it’s quite noisy inside, and although there is an automatic gearbox option, this version isn’t nearly as good as the manual. Choose a GT86 if you love taking your car on twisty mountain roads, but not if you want something relaxed to drive on the motorway every day.
Best coupe for performance
The Ford Mustang is a coupe icon that dates all the way back to the 1960s and the modern version is very close to the ethos of the brilliant original. It’s a stylish coupe that brings incredible amounts of performance for very reasonable money. The 5.0-litre V8 model is the most common, and it’s the one we’d go for as well.
The V8 engine is fantastic, with a deep, rumbling soundtrack and excellent performance whether you cruise around in a high gear and use its pulling power from low engine speeds to build up the pace or work it harder to access its impressive 410hp power tally (450hp in later versions). It’s a lot of fun - but even the four-cylinder EcoBoost model, which offers much better fuel economy, is enjoyable to drive.
The Mustang’s not the cheapest car here but it offers great value for money because there’s not much that can beat it when it comes to performance per pound. It’s also enjoyable to drive around corners, comfortable enough, good at cruising on the motorway and comes with a decent amount of technology in the cabin.
Best coupe for drivers
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The Porsche Cayman is one of the more expensive coupes on this list, but considering the performance, handling and quality it offers, we reckon it’s still a fantastic choice. It’s one of the finest-handling cars around, with excellent steering, strong performance and it’s very composed on all kinds of road.
It’s powered by an engine mounted behind the front seats, so it’s not as practical as some of the other coupes here. Yet the engines are a huge part of its appeal, whether you go for the turbocharged four-cylinder versions or the sought-after 4.0-litre six-cylinder models, which produce a more musical engine note. The latter are available in modern form as the 4.0 GTS and GT4, but previous-generation Caymans all had six-cylinder motors and share the distinctive musical engine sound.
As a result, even older models are sought after by driving enthusiasts, so they hold their value extremely well. This means that while used versions aren't the cheapest, you can be confident that you'll get a decent amount back when you come to sell, while PCP finance monthly payments prove lower than you might expect, too. Not that you’d be worried about these once you got to a twisty section of road, where the Porsche’s brilliant handling would have you convinced.
Best coupe for style
The Jaguar F-Type Coupe is another more upmarket choice next to some of the options here, especially in high-spec R form (which includes a large V8 engine that sounds brilliant and delivers astonishing performance). Yet it’s also stunning to look at and brilliant to drive.
There are also four-cylinder and V6 models, all petrol, and these are just as good to drive, though the four-cylinder 2.0-litre model is not as aurally pleasing as the V6 and V8 versions. There’s a decent amount of boot space in the F-Type but the slightly cramped cabin means it’s not the most practical choice.
There’s actually plenty of technology included on most versions you’ll find for sale, although the early models’ media systems will seem rather dated at this point, so we’d try to find a later car with the upgraded sat-nav setup. There are manuals around, but the vast majority of F-Types sold used an automatic gearbox, which suits the car well.
Best coupe for economy
Here’s an interesting option if you want a coupe that looks good but won’t cost a lot to run. The Lexus RC is available as a hybrid in 300h form, using a petrol engine combined with a small electric motor. It’s really economical, especially if you do a lot of driving around town.
The electric motor also means that it’s great for dealing with traffic jams and commuting since it’s easy to drive, really quiet inside and the 'CVT' automatic gearbox is super-smooth. The RC is also comfortable, has a high-quality interior and should be as reliable as they come.
It has a few drawbacks next to some of the other cars here, namely that it’s not very exciting to drive, the engine sounds strained when you work it hard and performance isn’t that strong. Yet the RC 300h offers something that most don’t, in appealing to those who simply want a good looking car that gets them comfortably from A to B. There's also a high-power 463hp RC F version with a whopping 5.0-litre V8 engine, but this is expensive to buy, and even more expensive to run.
Best coupe for luxury
Another option for those looking for a comfortable, luxurious and smart-looking coupe that isn’t necessarily brilliant to drive could be the Mercedes C-Class Coupe. Its stylish looks extend to the interior, where it’s well built, full of tech and looks really modern.
The C-Class Coupe is available with a range of engines, from small petrol and diesel engines right up to the fire-breathing Mercedes-AMG C63 high-performance model, which has a 4.0-litre turbocharged V8 engine with more than 500bhp. This version will appeal to car enthusiasts as it’s also tweaked to be better around corners, but all versions of this Mercedes coupe are good to drive.
There’s all the tech you need inside, plus a comfortable set of seats including in the rear - although adults won’t want to spend a lot of time sitting there, as leg and headroom is a bit limited. High-quality materials are used throughout the cabin, and the media system is easy to use, looks very modern and is packed with features.
*Representative PCP finance - Ford Fiesta:
48 monthly payments of £192
Mileage limit: 8,000 per year
Optional final payment to buy car: £2,923
Total amount payable to buy car: £11,926
Total cost of credit: £2,426
Amount borrowed: £9,500
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