What is a coupe?

Last updated October 28, 2022

A coupe is usually defined as a 2-door passenger car with a closed, sloping roof and a three-box body for the engine and the passenger compartment. Other features might include sportier looks, with a body built closer to the ground - and smooth lines from the roof to the rear of the car. Coupes are most popular with motorists who are looking for a stylish drive.

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What is a sedan?

A sedan is a standard 4-door car with a boot that’s separate from the passenger area. There is a three-box body for the engine, the boot and the passenger compartment. Unlike a coupe, sedans are defined further as a vehicle with 33 cubic feet of interior space or more. They have longer wheelbases and three seats in the back, providing a roomier and more comfortable ride for passengers.

What is the difference between a coupe and a sedan?

Apart from just size, there are a variety of differences between coupes and sedans. Coupes typically feature elongated windows and doors, emphasising design, whereas sedans are longer overall, providing more space for passengers.

The sedan also has a more spacious boot than a coupe. However, when it comes to performance, the coupe comes out on top, especially if you’re looking for a fun, sporty drive. Price is a difficult thing to compare, as they are very different cars.

Although coupes are usually priced higher, certain sedans may cost more than some coupes on the market when you factor in the various trim levels and add-ons available.

Types of coupe

Whilst most coupes share a common set of features, there are some models that deviate somewhat from traditional coupe design, incorporating stylistic and performance elements from other car types.

  • Hatchback coupe

    Hatchback coupes have an almost vertical boot-lid in the back, opening up the rear of the car. Many manufacturers try to badge three-door hatchbacks as coupes, but these don’t have the traditional coupe outline.

  • Four (and five) door coupes

    Four (or five) door coupes are slightly larger than conventional models. The Mercedes CLS was one of the first popular coupes in this configuration. The CLS has a more curved design than the brand’s saloon cars and is more agile in terms of driving.

    Many other brands followed suit, creating bigger coupes, such as Audi with the A7 and BMW with the 8 Series Gran Coupe.

  • SUV coupes

    This is quite an unlikely blend of vehicles, with the sporty driving feel and curved styling of a coupe combined with the rugged build of an off-road and the high driving position of an SUV. They’ve proved exceedingly popular since BMW’s X6 (considered the first SUV coupe) appeared.

What are the advantages of coupes?

Coupes are built for style, offering sleeker designs than most other cars. They typically provide sporty handling, can comfortably accommodate an additional passenger - and are economical to run, due to their smaller size.

What are the disadvantages of coupes?

Due to their compact design, rear passengers in coupes might find themselves somewhat cramped. As such, coupes are rarely well-suited to family use.

Other drawbacks include a lack of storage space and a restricted view whilst driving. Coupes are also expensive compared to their saloon counterparts, making them a less economical choice at the time of purchase.

If you’re concerned about the cost and upkeep of your coupe, you have the option of selling your car through a car buying service such as webuyanycar and making the switch to a more affordable model.

Frequently Asked Questions

Generally speaking, most coupes are two-door vehicles, however they can come in four or five door options.

A coupe usually has either two seats or four seats placed in a 2+2 configuration.

Due to their sportier nature, coupes tend to be more expensive to purchase than equivalent four-door sedans.

Coupes usually have longer doors due to their sportier styling. Both the doors and rear windows on coupes are typically longer than those on sedans.

Neither type of car is objectively better than the other; it’s all down to personal preference. However, sedans are the better option for families or shoppers who need a lot of space, whilst coupes are more popular among drivers who want exciting handling and sporty looks.

There isn’t a correlation between the safety of a vehicle and whether it’s a sedan or coupe.

As most coupes have just two doors, the body’s styling and curvature are usually a bit freer and less boxy. Some drivers prefer this sportier, more aggressive styling to the more restrained designs of saloons and other family-orientated cars.