Coupé cars represent the pinnacle of driving pleasure. Enthralling dynamics, supreme comfort, and a swooping shape are often all you need to cut a stylish dash. And while two-door cars remain very much a niche market, they’re extremely popular with automotive enthusiasts. And why not? They tend to be sleeker, lighter, have less wind resistance, and are arguably more powerful than comparable sedans.
However, a coupé isn’t necessarily the best choice if you’re going to have rear-seat passengers. But our hallmarks of a performance coupé are different. We’re searching for a low-slung ride that delivers thrills on a racetrack or even a winding road. A convertible two-seater that is exciting to drive and can be used every day. Or a roadster that is an all-rounder, but doesn’t cost a fortune either. And if that’s not enough, it should strike a fine balance between substance, style, and enough space for the odd weekend away. It may sound like a lot to ask, but each of the nine cars we’ve rounded up here easily make the grade. - Anisha
What: 2017 Fiat 124 Spider
Who: Anyone who wants it all
Why: The 2017 Fiat 124 Spider is an anomaly. Fiat has built a car that’s as refined as a luxury coupé with the power of a supercar. The Italian automobile manufacturer, which started with the iconic little 500, 500L, and the 500X, finally decided to look beyond its smallest car and in 2017 unveiled a new rendition of an old favourite – the Fiat 124 Spider. However, with an engineering partnership between Fiat and Mazda, this little Italian roadster isn’t actually Italian, but Japanese. Based on Mazda’s iconic MX-5 Miata and to be built at the same factory in Japan, the Fiat 124 is still a beautiful charming roadster.
It may not be flashy or super-fast, but the Fiat offers one of the purest driving experiences of any new car. The 1.4-litre multi air turbocharged four-cylinder engine’s 160 hp at 5,500 rpm and 184 lb-ft of torque at 2,500 rpm won’t impress many, but the engine is eager to rev and mates up to a six-speed automatic transmission that is smooth and well behaved. It also offers the MX-5 platform’s 90.9-inch wheelbase that adds extra length in the front and rear overhangs. The current generation has also added length to make it a bit more cargo-friendly.
The rest of the 124 Spider is pretty good, too. It’s small, lightweight and responds to the driver’s inputs with immediacy. The Fiat 124 Spider has dark-finish, 17-inch wheels; Bilstein dampers; a throatier exhaust system; Brembo brakes; and faux-suede seats that are so comfortable that it feels like they belong in someone’s living area.
Inside, you’ll discover a steering wheel with a thick rim wrapped in leather and a 7-inch touch screen with the latest FIAT Connect 7.0 system. The Fiat’s meagre active safety features include adaptive front headlights, rear cross-path detection, a rear backup camera, and blind-spot monitoring. In short, the 124 Spider has a cockpit that feels as if it’s been built around you.