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Your Guide to Buying a Coupé

Posted on January 15, 2018 – Classic Cars

There is a time in the life of car lovers when they just want something a bit different – and it’s not necessarily because of a midlife crisis! A coupé might just be the answer to their prayers with their inimitable sleek lines and their horsepower.

What is a coupé exactly?

‘Coupé’ is somewhat of a vague name. There are about 50 different models on the market at the moment, from the Kia Forte Koup at NZ$22,000 to the Ferrari LaFerrari for which you will need to save over NZ$1.5 million. In between, you can find various sizes and shapes, fuel-thirsty beasts and frugal ants.

What really defines coupés is that they have only two doors – although some car makers will include some with four doors for marketing reasons. Other than that, they differ wildly and the most meaningful way to look at them is by price range.

In the affordable category, you would find the 9th generation Honda Civic, an economical coupé that won’t be out of place in town. It is spacious, comfortable and its fuel consumption is very reasonable. For something a bit more glamourous but still less expensive, there is the Ford Mustang for example.

If you like your coupés roaring, go for the Toyota 86. On paper, it may not sound like much with ‘only’ 200 horsepower but take it for a spin on a nice countryside road and you will still have plenty of fun.

The Chevrolet Camaro delivers more power with a choice of I4, V6 or V8. Although its outward visibility isn't great, it is the most nimble incarnation of the model to date.

The next category up are the entry-level luxury coupés, almost all of them coming from Germany and the US, except the Lexus RC.

The Mercedes-Benz S550 Coupé is a fantastic grand-touring car and it is difficult to find something not to love about it. Not only is it as comfortable as a memory-foam mattress, you can also equip it with almost every safety system under the sun.

If you are looking for something sportier, the Chevrolet Corvette Grand Sport is just the one for you. It may lack the luxury feeling of mid-engine coupés like the Alfa Romeo 4C or Porsche 718 Cayman, but it offers the best balance between driving fun and track antics.

If you like turning heads, you will undoubtedly love the Jaguar F-Type or the Ford Mustand Shelby GT350R for their V8-based growling. It may not make you win neighbour of the year though!

Then you find the really as-expensive-as-a-house cars such as Ferraris, Rolls-Royces or Jaguars.

The Rolls-Royce Wraith, for example, is supremely comfortable. Yes, its doors open backwards but it still has only two so it qualifies! Otherwise, if you are able and willing to spend that amount on money on a car, you can have one customised to have everything your heart desires and, in these conditions, all luxury cars will be great.

Coupés can also be sporty or not. For example, the Jaguar F-Type and the Porsche 911 will delight thrill-seekers but may not be too practical on a daily basis with little trunk space or interior volume. For that, you will need the Rolls-Royce Wraith, with 111.5 ft3 to move around.

What to look our for in a coupé

  • Back seats

It has to be said that two-door cars are not the best for passengers when it comes to getting in or extricating yourself. If you are tall or have a few kilos to lose, even worse. Although coupés don't need a back seat, many have some, despite the fact that they are only just about big enough to fit a hobbit.

The back seat of the Subaru BRZ for example, claims to offer legroom of 75 cm. It doesn’t sound too bad, does it? The problem is that you get this number only when the front seat is set all the way forward. If the people in the front row fancy normal legroom, this number drops to … 7 cm!

So why do car makers insist on fitting back seats? Strangely, insuring a four-seat car is cheaper than insuring a two-door car. Don’t ask us why!

  • Power versus fuel economy

If you are looking for power in a coupé, only the premium and luxury models will satisfy you, such as the Audi TT, the Cadillac ATS-V, the BMW M4 with 425 horsepower and the Audi RS5. For something really feisty, check out the Ford Mustang Shelby GT350R with 526 hp.

Obvisouly, who says power says goblling fuel like it’s running out of fashion so if you are environmentally minded you will have far fewer option outside of BMW's i8 hybrid car.

  • Technology and safety

Whether you have set your sights on a low-cost coupe or a hypercar, there are all sorts of weird and wonderful technology on offer.

The Honda Civic for example, comes with LaneWatch, a side-mirror camera that projects what it sees onto your infotainment screen. It can be distracting at first but once you have gotten used to it, it is a very helpful system. If you are looking for something cooler, the Audi TT's virtual cockpit has integrated the infotainment system onto the instrument panel, along with virtual gauges.

As far as safety is concerned, the offer is a bit hit and miss. You can find adaptive cruise control, traffic-jam, parking assist and more.

Other strange features also exist such as the Mercedes-Benz S-Class equipped with a perfume atomiser connected to the climate-control system. On the Rolls-Royce Wraith, you can have a fiber-optic headliner that lights up night!

Have you recently bought a coupé abroad and need to ship it to New Zealand? Contact us on +64 9 309 1163 or request a free online quote. We have 25 years’ experience in shipping all vehicles small and big, inexpensive or luxury, and we will take the same care of them as you would.

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