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BMW 4 Series Coupe

What is a coupe?

You may have heard a car being referred to as a ‘coupe’. But what exactly is a coupe and how is it different from other cars?

Phill Tromans Cazoo

By Phill Tromans

Published: 22 August 2023

Of all the different types of car available, the coupe is possibly the hardest to define and the least well-known. Most of us can tell an SUV from a convertible but what makes a car a coupe? Our guide explains.

What is a coupe?

A coupe is a type of car that stands out for its sleek and sometimes sporty design, and which prioritises style over practicality. A coupe is usually characterised by a sloping roofline that looks sleeker than a conventional hatchback, saloon or SUV.

Mercedes-Benz E-Class Coupe

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What makes a car a coupe?

The exact definition of what makes a car a coupe is rather fluid but most models described as coupes feature certain characteristics: a sloping, aerodynamic shape and a design that emphasises style over interior space.

The image below shows the Mercedes-Benz E-Class Coupe (top) and the Mercedes-Benz E-Class saloon – you can see that the coupe version looks much the same from the front of the car to the side door, but beyond that it has a sportier, lower look.

What is the meaning of the word coupe?

The word ‘coupe’ comes from the French word ‘couper’ meaning ‘to cut’. In the past it was used to describe a car that was ‘cut’ – lower or shorter – compared with a standard model. It’s a term that has been around almost as long as cars have existed and its meaning has evolved over time.

Audi TT Coupe

Does a coupe always have just two doors?

Traditionally, coupes tended to have only two side doors but nowadays there are lots of cars classed as coupes that have four side doors. Whether you’re after a sleek two-door car or something a bit more family-friendly, there’s likely to be a coupe that’s right for you.

Audi A5 Coupe

What’s the difference between a 2-door coupe and a 4-door coupe?

These days, you can find both two-door and four-door coupes. Two-door coupes tend to be more traditional and sporty, while four-door coupes, such as the Mercedes-Benz CLA or the BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe, combine the sleekness of a coupe with the practicality of a saloon.

Mercedes-Benz CLA

What is a hatchback coupe?

As the name suggests, a hatchback coupe blends the sleek looks of a coupe with the practicality of a hatchback. These have a sloping roofline like a traditional two-door coupe but with a top-hinged boot lid, considered to be a third door, allowing for easy access to the boot, such as the Volkswagen Scirocco. Hatchback coupes combine style with versatility, making them a great choice if you want  both sportiness and practicality. However, they’re less popular than they were a few years ago.

Volkswagen Scirocco

What is an SUV coupe?

An SUV coupe is an SUV with coupe-like styling. Examples include the Audi Q5 Sportback, BMW X6 and the Mercedes-Benz GLE coupe. These SUV coupes are almost identical to the standard SUV versions from the front doors forwards. But they’re marketed as coupes because of their more sloping, lower roofline and sleeker styling at the back. They lose a little in practicality but often feel slightly sportier to drive than the non-coupe version of the car they’re based on.

Mercedes-Benz GLE coupe

There are lots of used coupe cars to choose from at Cazoo. Simply use the search function to find one you love then buy or finance it online. You can choose to have it delivered to your door, or you can collect it from your nearest Cazoo Customer Centre.

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