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For the Last Time, a Coupe Is a Car With Two Doors

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author photo by Eric Brandt November 2017

Merriam-Webster defines a coupe as "a 2-door automobile often seating only two persons." Virtually all automotive enthusiasts share this definition, too -- especially the part about "a 2-door automobile." Apparently, there are several product people at several major automakers who need a dictionary on their desk -- or a consultation from car enthusiasts -- because what passes as a coupe these days is not even close to actually being a coupe.

Take, for instance, the Toyota C-HR, where "C-HR" stands for "Coupe - High Rider." Except ... this is a small crossover with five doors. Or consider BMW, and the current 6 Series lineup, where you've got a convertible and a Gran Coupe. Guess how many doors the Gran Coupe has. If you guessed two, your guess makes perfect sense -- but it's wrong. This thing is just a 4-door sedan. And it's the same story with the 4 Series Gran Coupe.

Next, let's swing by Mercedes-Benz, the ultimate king of the non-coupe coupe. Click on the "Coupes" section of their website and you'll find not one, but two 4-door sedans -- the CLA "Coupe" and the CLS "Coupe." But Mercedes is just getting started. Take a look at their crossovers, and you'll find the GLC Coupe and the GLE Coupe, which are similar to the oddly proportioned BMW X6. Mercedes says the GLC Coupe has "sporty coupe styling with SUV utility." Sporty coupe styling? Yeah, sure -- this egg-shaped, 5-door crossover looks just like an AMG GT.

I could go on and on with examples, but my question is ... why? Why take a vehicle that is absolutely, decidedly, by definition not a coupe and call it a coupe? Does that marketing strategy really work? Does anyone really think a BMW 6 Series Gran Coupe is just as sporty as an M4 because they're both "coupes"?

To me, the problem lies in the promise that you can have it all in one vehicle: You can have the versatility of an SUV or a sedan and the sleek style of a coupe, all wrapped into one. I'm not saying it's impossible for a practical crossover or a family-sized sedan to be a beast on the track, as there are plenty of examples where that idea is proven wrong. But when it comes to style, a coupe is a coupe, and everything else isn't. In this case, you just can't have it all.

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This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
For the Last Time, a Coupe Is a Car With Two Doors - Autotrader