Ironically, one of the most graceful forms of the automobile is typically one of the most difficult for manufacturers to master—the two-door coupe. Given the impracticality imposed by its very nature (four doors are easier to live with than two), a coupe must make up for its practicality deficit with generous helpings of both style and performance.
The German manufacturers Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz get this, and those company’s two-door offerings routinely do well in the marketplace as a result. Plus, in addition to style and performance, those models convey a sense of elegance and exclusivity.
After all, two-door models routinely cost more than their sedan counterparts as well—particularly when a folding roof accompanies those two doors. Priced as they are, these cars say about their owners; “Yes, they could afford the sedan, but they are obviously way too cool, youthful, and self-absorbed for four doors—thank-you-very-much.”
Lately, Japanese manufacturers have adopted the Germans’ formula by offering more performance in expensive and exclusive coupes. While the Infiniti G37 and Lexus IS Coupe have made inroads in the luxury realm, Honda’s Accord Coupe also enjoys a relatively strong following in the mainstream marketplace. Interestingly though, Toyota’s Solara coupe and convertible—while certainly nice cars in every sense of the phrase—struggled and were ultimately killed.
A number of reasons have been proffered for this; chief among them coupes are expected to be more performance-oriented than the sedans on which they’re based. In this regard the Solara was really little more than a re-bodied Camry with two less doors. So, while it had all of the virtues of smoothness and reliability the Camry was known for, it also had half the practicality and no performance reputation to fall back on.
Toyota officials say there is a possibility the model will return one day, but as of this writing (February, 2012), the only way to get a Toyota Solara is on the used car market.
Toyota produced two generations of the car, starting in 1999.