The best coupes for 2020

  • Stylish looks and being fun to drive are coupe hallmarks
  • Practicality sacrificed on these statement makers
  • Two- and three-door coupes to suit a variety of budgets

It’s time to start shopping for a new car, but this time around you really want to make a four-wheeled statement. You want something that shouts ‘you’. You don't have kids – or perhaps you have and they’ve flown the nest, so practicality’s not very important.

It doesn’t even have to have back seats, but it must have a proper roof so that you feel luxuriously cocooned inside. And you want something that not only looks the business, but makes you feel it when you drive it. You want a coupe.

What is a coupe?

The word ‘coupe’ is derived from the French verb ‘to cut’ and was first applied to horse-drawn carriages with smaller passenger compartments than the norm. When self-propelled cars took over from equine-based methods of transportation, many of the terms previously applied to carriages were adopted by the automotive industry, coupe being used ever since.

Essentially, it meant a version of a car with a lower – cut-down – roof, compared with the donor model. Many had just two or three doors, but in more recent times it’s become more common for them to have four or five, and even be applied to high-rise SUV models. Typically, they are sportier than the cars they are based upon, with more athletic bodywork that sacrifices spaciousness for style.

Not that long ago, virtually every car manufacturer built a two- or three-door coupe version of one of its regular models, but these days they’re less plentiful in number. What it does mean is that the ones that remain are among some of the most desirable cars on sale – to save you the legwork, we’ve rounded-up the best of the best.

Use the links below to jump straight to the models you’re interested in, or click the model names to go straight to our expert full reviews.

Best coupes 2020

Audi TT Coupe 

Yellow Audi TT Coupe side elevation driving

It’s more than 20 years since Audi unleashed its first TT upon the world, but the one we’re concentrating on here is the sharply styled Mk3. Instantly recognisable as a TT, and available with a range of turbocharged petrol engines, topped by the potent TT RS with its five-cylinder 2.5-litre engine producing 400hp.

Since the early-1980s high performance Audis have been synonymous with the Quattro four-wheel drive system and the TT is no exception, with the technology available right across the range.

Its slinky silhouette envelopes an inviting interior, but the rear seats are tiny – be aware of that if you intend to occasionally ferry adults about in it. On the plus side, there’s a tailgate giving you a small dose of hatchback practicality.

Price new: from £31,240
Lease this car: from £389 per month
Search for a used Audi TT Coupe on Parkers

BMW 2 Series Coupe 

White BMW M2 Competition Coupe side elevation driving

BMW’s history with coupes goes back almost as long as it’s been making cars – so much so that although the 2 Series Coupe is its smallest two-door currently on sale, others in its back catalogue, such as the 700 Coupe, are dinkier still.

In most instances, the upmarket German big three of Audi, BMW and Mercedes compete directly in the same segments, but neither of its rivals offers a genuine competitor to the 2 Series.

Most examples are rear-wheel drive, which will delight keener drivers, but xDrive all-wheel drive is also available. Similarly, petrol and diesel engines are offered, all offering strong performance, but the range’s highlight is the muscular M2 Competition. Its highlights are a 410hp six-cylinder engine, a 4.2-second 0-62mph time and all the fun behind the wheel you could possibly crave.

Not only that, but all 2 Series Coupes are surprisingly spacious inside, with ample room for four adults, although its conventional bootlid limits the practicality on offer somewhat.

Price new: from £26,690
Lease this car: from £380 per month
Search for a used BMW 2 Series Coupe on Parkers

Jaguar F-Type Coupe 

Blue Jaguar F-Type Coupe front three-quarter driving

Builder of iconic, British sports saloons, Jaguar also has an impressive lineage when it comes to sports cars and coupes, hence the F-Type is a spiritual successor to the legendary E-type.

Not that its styling is a slavish pastiche of past glories – sure, there are occasional cues, such as the broad, slender tail lights, but overall the F-Type is ultra-modern, pert and aggressive. And even more so thanks to the new front end of the facelifted models from December 2019.

Sadly, the facelifted models heralded the end of the glorious sound of the V6 engines, but you’re still spoiled by what remains. Even the entry-level 2.0-litre model wrings out 300hp, but the 5.0-litre V8s are where the serious grunt – and big-engined rumbles – are. Most F-Types are rear-wheel drive, but all-wheel drive is available on the faster models to help get all of that power down.

Climb inside the F-Type and, while sat very low, you don’t feel cramped. This is primarily because Jaguar decided not to bother with rear seats, so the two ‘up front’ have plenty of room. Round the back, there’s a useful tailgate, but the space underneath is long but shallow.

Price new: from £54,510
Lease this car: from per month
Search for a used Jaguar F-Type Coupe on Parkers

Mercedes-Benz E-Class Coupe 

Grey 2020 Mercedes-AMG E 53 Coupe front three-quarter driving

Think ‘Mercedes’ and invariably your mind will conjure-up notions of comfort, luxury and the imperiousness long-associated with the three-pointed star logo. All of those qualities, and more, are present in the E-Class Coupe, a model that's just received a subtle, but effective facelift.

Of the two-door hard-tops in Mercedes’ range, the E-Class is the middle-sized one, nestled between the more affordable C-Class and the opulent S-Class. Not that the E-Class doesn’t feel special, particularly inside.

There’s ample room for four in plush surroundings, with an intriguing array of colours in its LED-lit interior and a large dual-screen dashboard that operates as slickly as it looks.

Outside, the styling is svelte and elegant, with gracefully tapering lines at the nose and tail that disguise its size very well. Don’t be deceived – it’s not a small car.

Punchy yet economical petrol and diesel engines are available, as is 4Matic four-wheel drive on a couple of variants. These days there are no V8-engined versions, but the E 450 still packs a 367hp punch from its 3.0-litre engine.

For the most performance in the E-Class Coupe body, go for the AMG E 53 – again, it’s a 3.0-litre petrol, but together with a boost of electrical energy, it produces 457hp. It’s no slouch regardless of how cosseting it is.

Price new: from £44,600
Lease this car: from £527 per month
Search for a used Mercedes-Benz E-Class Coupe on Parkers

Toyota GT86 

Blue Toyota GT86 Coupe front three-quarter driving

When Toyota launched the GT86 back in 2012, it was a positive sign that the Japanese giant was rediscovering its mojo. Yes, the bread and butter cars were – and remain – important for profits, but Toyota had a long history of producing sporty coupes that drove as excitingly as they looked, such as multiple generations of Celica, Supra and the fabled Corolla GT Coupe, often known to enthusiasts simply as AE86, its internal designation number.

That Toyota came back with the GT86, therefore, isn’t a surprise – what is eye-opening is that it chose to do so in partnership with Subaru, which sells a very similar looking version called BRZ.

In fact, the partnership is so deep that all GT86s and BRZs are fitted with a Subaru-designed and built Boxer engine where the two banks of pistons push away from each other. Imagine a V-configuration engine with a 180-degree arc between the cylinder banks and you’re there.

With the GT86, the emphasis is purely on fun and driving enjoyment, although some bemoan it ‘only’ having 200hp, the lack of a turbocharger means it develops its performance in a very linear, easy to manipulate manner.

Its handling is set up in order to maximise the fun you can have while driving, with all of its power sent exclusively to the rear wheels, which are enveloped in tyres that aren’t the grippiest available. The result? Playful, adjustable excitement.

Arguably the GT86’s biggest downfall is its rather ordinary interior and a dismal lack of space in the rear seats, but spend a few minutes behind the wheel on a winding B-road and you’ll forgive it everything.

Price new: from £27,855
>> Lease this car: from £348 per month
Search for a used Toyota GT86 on Parkers

Nissan 370Z 

Red and white 2020 Nissan 370Z front three-quarter

Nissan's big, rear-wheel drive 370Z - the latest in a long line of 'Zed Cars' feels like a sports coupe from another age, and not just because it was launched in the UK way back in 2009.

That long bonnet, relatively short-looking two-seater cockpit and bulging rear wheel arches to reinforce that those are the wheels transmit the 3.7-litre engine's 328hp to the road, not the front.

The engine itself is something of a throwback: at a time when most manufacturers have long-since opted for smaller, turbocharged engines, often mated to smooth-shifting automatic gearboxes, not so with the Nissan. That lack of a turbo means that, like the Toyota above, power delivery with the 370Z is easily modulated with your right foot, albeit in a more brutal package.

Yes, it lacks the finesse of every other car on this list, but if you hanker after that hairy chested, 1970s appeal then the Nissan is the go-to coupe rather than anything too modern and sanitised.

Of course, you can go even faster with the 370Z Nismo that looks like it's scorched to its 5.2-second 0-62mph benchmark time as it escaped from the set of a Fast and Furious movie.

As much as it feels out of place today, my word we'll miss it when it's gone.

Price new: from £30,035
Lease this car: from £475 per month
Search for a used Nissan 370Z on Parkers

Ford Mustang Fastback 

Green and black 2018 Ford Mustang Fastback front three-quarter driving

Who would have believed that the bestselling coupe across the whole of Europe would have been the icons of automotive Americana, the Ford Mustang.

It's a popular sight in the UK, not only because it's seriously good fun to drive and looks great, but also because it's one of the few remaining cars on sale with a thumping V8 engine, in this case a 5.0-litre job. On the downside, you can't hear much of its sonorous burble from inside the car, but it nevertheless has more character than the 2.3-litre four-cylinder alternative.

Inside, it's well-equipped and there's decent space for four compared with some of the other coupes in this article, but if we're nit-picking some of the interior features struggle to straddle that fine line between cool and kitsch.

No, it's not as poised as many a performane saloon, let alone other sports coupes, but it's easy to make the rear end step out of line with the liberal application of the throttle pedal and with wholly unnecessary features such as Line Lock to enable you to easily create a cloud of tyre smoke, the Mustang's blessed with the kind of irreverence you won't find elsewhere. It's a hoot.

Price new: from £39,420
Lease this car: from £567 per month
Search for a used Ford Mustang Fastback on Parkers

Porsche 718 Cayman 

Turquoise 2020 Porsche 718 Cayman front three-quarter driving

Few cars at any price handle as sublimely as Porsche's 718 Cayman - it truly is a consummate sports car. Its engine sits immediately behind the passenger compartment in the middle of the car, sending all of its power to the rear wheels. 

Two seats only, but it's practical nonetheless, with a shallow boot under the tailgate and another one up front - perfect for luggage for a weekend away.

Performance is extraordinary: even in its most basic form it packs 300hp of urgency and will dash from 0-62mph in 4.9 seconds. Porsche fans bemoan that the junior models in the range feature four-cylinder engines that lack the aural charisma of the sixes, but it doesn't dent the thrills you can have behind the wheel.

Plus, if you really must have a six-cylinder engine in your Cayman, the GTS and GT4 are available further up the range.

High quality, superb engineering, surprisingly frugal to run and styling you can drink in all day.

Price new: from £46,790
Lease this car: from per month
Search for a used Porsche 718 Cayman on Parkers

Further reading

>> Thinking of switching to an electric SUV? Here’re the pick of the crop
>> Looking for a seven-seater SUV? These are the best ones around
>> Find out how much your car is worth with a Parkers valuation