The best coupes for 2021

  • Stylish looks, reduced practicality
  • Coupe cars are often fun to drive
  • We’ve got something to suit every budget

Not too long ago a coupe really was the ultimate statement car. And even today, they punch above their weight as far as status goes.

A coupe car is the perfect garage addition if you don’t have kids (or maybe they’ve flown the nest) and don’t need practicality. You might not even need back seats, but you definitely want a proper roof so that you feel properly cocooned inside.

More importantly, you want something that looks the business, and makes you feel a million dollars when you drive it. Sure, that’s a niche that’s more typically being occupied by high-end SUVs these days – but a coupe is, we think, the classier way to do things.

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.

Top 10 best coupes

1. Porsche 718 Cayman

2. BMW 2 Series Coupe

3. Mercedes-Benz E-Class Coupe

4. Jaguar F-Type Coupe

5. Ford Mustang Fastback

6. Bentley Continental GT

7. BMW 4 Series

8. Lexus LC

9. Audi TT

10. Alpine A110

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.

Nowadays, the word coupe enjoys quite a wide-ranging definition within the car world, and one that’s just as much a descriptor as it is a marketing buzzword. In definitive terms, it refers to a two-door car with a low (or cut-down) roofline. Coupes may or may not have back seats, but their sporty bodywork will typically prioritise style over practicality.

That bodywork is often – though not always – backed up with firmer suspension, sharper handling and tighter body control, making the best sports coupes an absolute joy to drive.

Coupes always have fixed roofs, but often enjoy very closely related convertible models. If getting the wind in your hair is a priority, check out our list of the best convertibles on sale.

What is a four-door coupe?

Technically, there’s no such thing, but four-door coupes have penetrated the market thanks to clever advertising. The majority of these solve a problem that they themselves created – buyers are drawn to the style of a coupe, but despite needing rear seats and back doors are unwilling to opt for anything as boring as a saloon or estate car.

They’re often very good cars in their own right, but they stretch the definition of ‘coupe’ too far for us.

You’ll also find ‘coupe’ descriptors applied to growing numbers of so-called coupe-SUVs, which typically have a slinkier back end and sharply sloping roofline compared to the regular SUVs they’re based on.

Top 10 best coupes

1. Porsche 718 Cayman 

Porsche’s been building coupes for decades – this is one of its best

✅ Sublime handling
✅ Remarkably practical

❌ Pricy options list
❌ Four-cylinder engine lacks character

Porsche 718 Cayman

Of course, Porsche’s flagship is the 911 – but for less money, you can have almost as much excitement in the form of the Cayman. This is a mid-engined car, rather than rear-engined – the powerplant sits behind the passenger compartment but in front of the rear axle, giving it near-perfect weight distribution and almost telepathically responsive handling.

The interior is a highly comfortable place to spend time and with plenty of room for tall drivers, two boots and even palatable fuel consumption this is a remarkably practical car that you really could use every day. And you’d be lucky to do so.

Price new: From £45,285
Lease this car: From per month
Find a used Porsche 718 Cayman for sale here

2. BMW 2 Series Coupe 

A spectacularly good small coupe

✅ Fantastic engine range
✅ Well-priced

❌ Getting old now – and the cabin feels it

BMW 2 Series

BMW has a strong history of making small coupes, going back almost as long as its been making cars. The 2 Series is its smallest two-door on sale, but we still think it’s one of its best – and it’s a market segment that neither Mercedes or Audi, BMW’s top competition, make a rival for.

Most 2 Series models feature petrol engines and rear-wheel drive, to the delight of keen drivers, but diesels and four-wheel drive are also available if you want economy or all-weather security. The pinnacle of the range is the sublime M2 Competition, though – with a 410hp six-cylinder engine, 0-62mph in just 4.2 seconds and all the fun behind the wheel you could possibly crave.

Price new: From £26,565
Lease this car: From per month
Find a used BMW 2 Series for sale here

3. Mercedes-Benz E-Class Coupe 

The golf club car park won’t know what hit it

✅ Classy, tech-filled interior
✅ Svelte and elegant styling

❌ Rather large
❌ Expensive to buy

Mercedes-Benz E-Class Coupe

The E-Class Coupe is just another string on Mercedes bow in a model lineup that also includes Convertible, Saloon, Estate and All-Terrain alternatives. Though the Coupe offers the fewest tangible benefits – reduced practicality without a convertible roof and no greater choice or performance – its gorgeous, slinky styling makes it desirable regardless.

And many benefits of the E-Class platform remain. Sumptuous comfort, a high-tech and classy interior and fantastic lineup of smooth, powerful and efficient engines are all marks in the E-Class’s favour.

Price new: From £44,980
Lease this car: From £529 per month
Find a used Mercedes-Benz E-Class Coupe for sale here

4. Jaguar F-Type Coupe 

British bruiser is handsome and fantastic to drive

✅ Sensational styling
✅ Exciting handling

❌ Bigger engines are very thirsty
❌ Patchy interior quality

Jaguar F-Type Coupe

The most famous Jaguar Coupe of all time has to be the E-Type – and the F-Type is its spiritual successor. A recent refresh has kept it looking its best, and with its dramatic proportions and sturdy stance it does really make an impression on the road.

There’s a choice of cost-effective four-cylinder engines or screaming supercharged V8, and the entry-level models effectively compete on cost with cars like the Porsche Cayman or Alpine A110.

Price new: From £53,205
Lease this car: From £802 per month
Find a used Jaguar F-Type for sale here

5. Ford Mustang Fastback 

V8 muscle for a bargain price

✅ Fabulous engine
✅ Looks the business

❌ Thirsty
❌ Low-rent interior

Ford Mustang Fastback

Few vehicle names are as evocative as ‘Mustang’. The definitive muscle car, the Mustang is still surprisingly usable even if you don’t live in the land of the free and the home of the brave.

A 2.3-litre four-cylinder is available, but really you’re cheating yourself if you don’t opt for the V8. You’ll find it thirsty around town, but worth every penny for its noise and character. The rest of the car has polished up particularly well for this latest generation – it looks fantastic, handles surprisingly well and has a big enough boot to make weekend getaways a pleasure. Only a few areas of the interior let the side down somewhat, with cheap components borrowed from elsewhere in Ford’s range.

Price new: From £42,010
Lease this car: From £568 per month
Find a used Ford Mustang for sale here

6. Bentley Continental GT 

Simply a fabulous luxury cruiser – capable of crossing continents in a heartbeat

✅ Superb interior tech, fit, and finish
✅ Easy to drive for such a large car

❌ All that luxury doesn’t come cheap

Bentley Continental GT

For its high price tag, you’d hope that the Bentley Continental GT would be sufficiently powerful, luxurious and prestigious to warrant it. Thankfully, it really is – personal luxury doesn’t come much better than this.

From the moment you step in, sink down into the sumptuously upholstered front seats and fire up the V8 or W12 engine, the Conti feels special. Of course, you can make yours completely bespoke – with a limitless array of paint and fabric choices as well as myriad other options for customisation. It drives well, has unbeatable road presence and makes you feel like a millionaire – which, if you can afford it, you probably are.

Price new: From £157,955
Find a used Bentley Continental for sale here

7. BMW 4 Series 

Get past the nose, and there’s a damn good coupe in there

✅ Fantastic handling and balance
✅ Wide engine range

❌ Looks only a mother could love

BMW 4 Series Coupe

The 4 Series’ toothy front grille may be initially offputting, but remember – you don’t need to look at it while you’re driving. And once you get past it, you’ll find BMW’s mid-sized coupe a joy to drive thanks to adaptive sports suspension, perfectly balanced weight distribution and a wide variety of engines that are smooth, powerful and efficient.

There’s even a firebreathing M4 variant that delivers more than 500hp and will crack 0-62mph in less than four seconds. All while offering a big boot, human-sized rear seats and all of BMW’s latest safety and entertainment tech.

Price new: From £40,245
Lease this car: From £547 per month
Find a used BMW 4 Series for sale here

8. Lexus LC 

Striking flagship comes as a hybrid or V8

✅ Looks like nothing else on the road
✅ Legendary Lexus quality and service

❌ Boot is tiny
❌ Hybrid not particularly fun to drive

Lexus LC Coupe

The LC is a grand tourer, but that doesn’t mean it’s anything like its European rivals. Lexus offers it with a pair of engines – a hybrid, or a naturally-aspirated V8, both with their own strengths. For our money, it’s the fantastic V8 we’d opt for as it sounds amazing and offers great performance.

The interior’s a very comfortable place to spend time, too, with big, comfortable front seats and exceptional build quality throughout. You may need to use the back seats to carry some of your luggage, though, as the boot’s pretty tiny.

Price new: From £77,925
Lease this car: From £1,151 per month
Find a used Lexus LC for sale here

9. Audi TT 

Stylish coupe bristles with Teutonic sensibility

✅ High-quality inside and out
✅ Drives just like a family hatchback

❌ Drives just like a family hatchback

Audi TT

It’s more than 20 years since the first Audi TT launched, but the sharply-styled Mk3 model remains instantly recognisable and very goodlooking into the bargain.

It’s available with a wide range of petrol and diesel engines as well as quattro four-wheel drive, and the range-topping TT RS produces 400hp and offers supercar-rivalling performance. With its virtual cockpit and turbine-style air vents, even the cabin has that special feeling – it’s just a shame lesser versions drive rather a lot like an A3.

Price new: From £32,665
Lease this car: From £465 per month
Find a used Audi TT for sale here

10. Alpine A110 

French sports coupe is a left-field choice

✅ Drives beautifully
✅ You won’t see many others on the road

❌ Infotainment software poor
❌ A manual gearbox would be amazing

Alpine A110 S

Taking to Renault’s performance arm for your sporty coupe might seem like a mad idea when Porsche exists, but the Alpine A110 carves a niche all of its own. Focusing on handling, light weight and evocative memories of sports cars past, it’s captivating to drive – so much so that we awarded it the Thrill-Seekers Car of the Year back in 2020.

The Alpine only has two seats and a small boot but it’s comfortable for the tallest of drivers, and without a vast amount of power you don’t need to be an F1 champ to make the most of its glorious chassis. The main criticisms come in the form of its Renault-sourced infotainment system and dual-clutch gearbox, both of which could be slightly better.

Price new: From £48,450
Find a used Alpine A110 for sale here

Further reading:

>> The best convertible cars to buy

>> Parkers Thrill-Seekers Car of the Year

>> Best family cars