For motorists who want a car that’s entertaining to drive and aesthetically pleasing, then a sports coupe is the place to start looking. They might sacrifice some practicality and space for performance and looks, but they more than make up for this in smiles per gallon.
With all but one of my recommendations available with diesel engines, these coupes can also be economical choices for commuting. So make the most of your journey to work and choose a car you look forward to driving on Monday morning as much as you do on the weekend.
Introduced in 1998, the iconic TT was an instant hit. Despite criticisms of its Golf derived chassis, the TT still delivered a keen driver’s car. The second generation TT introduced in 2006 (picture) is slightly larger but makes use of aluminium body panels to keep the weight down. Its handling feels more precise than the previous version but is slightly less rewarding than its rear-wheel drive rivals. My choice would be the 2.0T FSI Quattro TTS. With 268 BHP, it has the performance to match the looks.
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Take one of the finest driving saloon cars and remove 2 doors. It’s a formula that has made the 3 series coupe an easy choice. With a wide variety of engines, gearboxes, and trim choices perhaps the hardest decision can be deciding which to pick. All engines above the entry level 318i are adequate, but my recommendation is the 335d. This diesel’s performance is impressively quick and can still return over 40MPG on the motorway.
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Mercedes have adopted an efficiency ethos with their small coupe with a selection of frugal diesel and petrol engines. The performance is there when pushed, but never with a sense of urgency. The handling is markedly improved over the saloon but still comfort-focused. The best car here for eating up motorway miles, choose the C250 CDI diesel which has endless torque and can see over 50MPG.
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Peugeot’s striking RCZ certainly looks the part. Although based on the 308 hatchback, the chassis has been significantly revised to make one of the best handling front-wheel drive cars on the road. The cabin is impressively trimmed and would be at home in a car with twice the price tag. The 1.6 GT petrol with 200 BHP is the sensible one to choose. For those bereft of sense, the mighty RCZ-R achieves a staggering 266 BHP from a modified version of the same 1.6 engine.
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The GT86 is a magnificent looking car with eager handling to match those staunch lines. The boxer petrol engine has a satisfying note and is happy to be revved. Unfortunately, its humble 197 BHP power leaves it outpaced by some of the mid-range diesel coupes from BMW and Mercedes. Performance shortcomings aside, the GT86 is a blast to drive and the distinct looks get noticed, unlike some rivals which blend into obscurity. With only one engine to pick from, you’re left to decide which trim options and gearbox to have. Avoid the automatics and look for a model with leather.