Hot hatches may have their fans, however there are some enthusiasts who’d rather stick to the more traditional body styles found in today’s best sporty coupes. After all, anything that coupes lack in cargo space they more than make up for in terms of low-slung, often more expressive designs. Coupes aren’t necessarily the top selling entries on the market, but they are offered at more price points than hatchbacks, and offer great driving performance across the spending spectrum.
10 Best Sporty Coupes
Photo Credit: FCA Media
1) 2016 Alfa Romeo 4C
The 2016 Alfa Romeo 4C is famous for being a relatively affordable supercar, since it combines ferocious performance, exotic design and an MSRP of $55,900. That’s not cheap, but with the typical Italian supercar starting way up in the six-figure range, the 4C leads off our sporty coupes with a surprisingly high value proposition—especially after Alfa updated the car again for the 2016 model year. Current models welcome a newly standard Alpine premium audio system, while the brand also introduces a carbon-fiber appearance package and a more luxurious cabin environment. The latter has Black leather trim, Tobacco contrast stitching, and Black and Tobacco sport seats. As for the car’s high-velocity credentials, they include an electronically limited top speed of 160 mph and a 0-60 sprint time of 4.1 seconds, complemented by a new-for-2016 Akrapovic dual-mode exhaust system for an ear-catching engine note.
Photo Credit: Ford
2) 2016 Ford Mustang
The Blue Oval’s muscle cars have become some of this country’s favorite sporty coupes over the years, and its current contender, the 2016 Ford Mustang, is a case in point. Not only was it by far the best-selling muscle car of 2015, but it’s also held that lead through the beginning of the new year. Certainly helping matters are its multiple motors, all of which make more than 300 horsepower, as well as ongoing enhancements, like the new secondary turn signals that are mounted on the GT’s hood vents, recalling a classic design cue of past Ford pony cars. Mustang mavens also can start looking forward to the new model year, as the 2017 Shelby GT350 already has been revealed. Set to go on sale this summer, the Mustang’s most aggressive model adds a standard track pack to bolster its 526-horsepower V8 engine.
Photo Credit: Mazda USA
3) 2017 Mazda MX-5 Miata
What’s an iconic convertible doing among Autobytel’s top sporty coupes? Well, since the 2017 Mazda MX-5 Miata recently debuted a new top of its own—a retractable hardtop, in fact—our experts decided it was a good time to honor the “answer is always Miata” meme. (We previously honored the all-new 2016 MX-5 as both Autobytel’s sports car of the Year and our Convertible of the Year.) The 2017 Miata MX-5 RF, for “Retractable Fastback,” does show that sleek silhouette when the top is up, but a single press of a button converts the car into convertible mode for open-air driving enthusiasts. And thanks to the top’s compact folding mechanism and design, there’s just as much trunk space in the Miata RF as in standard models. There’s the same range of standard and available content, too, so owners can enjoy features like headrest-mounted audio speakers, full LED headlights, Mazda Connect infotainment and the brand’s i-ACTIVSENSE safety technology.
Photo Credit: General Motors
4) 2016 Chevrolet Camaro
The thing about sporty coupes is that it can be hard to resist the temptation to make them even sportier—even for the automakers. For example, the brand-new 2016 Chevrolet Camaro is lighter and more powerful than its predecessor right out of the box, with the current Camaro SS—backed by 455 horsepower—standing out as literally the most powerful production version ever released. Indeed, this year’s Camaro SS is faster on the race course than last year’s track-tuned edition with the 1LE performance package. The Bowtie Brand just previewed the 2017 1LE bundle, and cars kitted out with that setup will be able to lower lap times yet further. For the first time ever, Chevy engineers have developed a 1LE package specifically for V6-powered Camaros, allowing more drivers to benefit from the brand’s performance-engineering prowess.
Photo Credit: Dodge
5) 2016 Dodge Challenger
Sporty coupes often offer dramatic exterior colors and eye-grabbing graphics packages, but few are as focused on appearance upgrades as the 2016 Dodge Challenger. Dodge’s modern-day muscle car has seen a steady stream of retro-styled stripes, colors, logos and more in recent times, and that trend continues for 2016 with the return of the “Go Mango” exterior finish. Originally part of the palette for the classic 1970 Challenger, this high-impact hue provides today’s models with a taste of tropic thunder. Also adding visual flair to the 2016 Challenger lineup are Dodge’s blackout-style Blacktop packages and additional throwback colors Plum Crazy, TorRed and B5 Blue. Just remember, Dodge’s high performer is no mere poser. It packs plenty of pop, highlighted by a Hellcat version—holstering a supercharged, 707-horsepower HEMI V8—that’s the fastest, quickest, most powerful production entry in the entire muscle-car segment.
Photo Credit: Infiniti
6) 2017 Infiniti Q60
One of the most hotly anticipated sporty coupes of the year is the 2017 Infiniti Q60, which is scheduled for arrival in the second half of 2016 with a wide, powerful stance, standard rear-wheel drive, and an advanced twin-turbo V6 engine. The standard unit is a four-cylinder turbo that should be fairly brisk in its own right, but the available 3.0-liter powerplant—part of Infiniti’s new “VR” powertrain portfolio—will boost output considerably. Owners actually can choose between two differently tuned versions of the V6, one serving up 300 horsepower and 295 lb.-ft. of torque, and the other rated for 400 and 350. Also, although official EPA grades for the car have yet to be released, Infiniti indicates that highest-powered Q60 also will deliver “one of the best power-to-efficiency ratios in the premium sports coupe class.”
Photo Credit: Toyota Media
7) 2017 Toyota 86
The short story here: The same partnership that led to the launch of the Scion FR-S and Subaru BRZ in this country also produced—for the rest of the world—the Toyota 86. But now that the Scion saga has come to an end, that car will transition back to the bigger brand in the United States, too, as the 2017 Toyota 86. Taking its name from a line of iconic sporty coupes and compacts from Toyota’s past, the car also gets refreshed for the new selling season, with the reborn 86 wearing fresh details like reconfigured LED exterior lighting, a restyled front fascia with an aggressively large intake, and dramatic twisted-spoke alloy wheels. Toyota engineers retuned the car’s suspension as well, and purists who prefer the standard manual transmission get both a bump in output—to 205 horsepower and 156 lb.-ft. of torque—and gear ratios that have been revised for improved performance.
8) 2016 Kia Forte Koup
Autobytel experts like their sporty coupes to leverage at least some amount of motorsports know-how, even if we all fully realize the difference between production cars and their racing editions. And if you’re wondering what that has to do with the 2016 Kia Forte Koup, you probably didn’t realize that Koups have captured two straight Touring Car A titles in the Pirelli World Challenge series. The compact Koup carries over for 2016, but that means the SX model also carries a 1.6-liter turbocharged engine that touts 201 horsepower and 195 lb.-ft. of torque. The Koup SX further ups the ante over the standard edition with hi-po hallmarks such as a six-speed manual transmission, bigger front brakes and a sport-tuned suspension. Kia also has confirmed that there will be a 2017 Forte Koup joining the new-generation lineup in the future, with details to come.
Photo Credit: Honda
9) 2016 Honda Civic
Folks seem pretty serious about positioning the 2016 Honda Civic as one of the best sporty coupes for enthusiasts: The automaker recently announced it would enter a Civic coupe in the 2016 Red Bull Global Rallycross series, relying on Olsbergs MSE racing team—and Honda Performance Development—to create a red-hot, 600-horsepower racer capable of going from 0-60 in 1.9 seconds. The street-legal coupe won’t be quite so fast, but it will supply Civic’s first turbocharged engine, a 1.5-liter unit that can yield 174 horsepower, 162 lb.-ft. of torque, and a stellar EPA line of 31 mpg city/41 mpg highway/35 mpg combined. A driver-friendly suspension setup then ensures sharp reflexes, with a little help from Agile Handle Assist technology. The Civic coupe also offers an extensive array of infotainment and safety technologies, including Android Auto/Apple CarPlay smartphone integration and the Honda Sensing suite of driver-assistance measures.
Photo Credit: Audi
10) 2016 Audi TT
Audi has a penchant for providing its sporty coupes with award-winning technologies, showcasing, for instance, its “virtual cockpit” in the brand-new 2016 Audi TT. With that setup, the TT replaces the typical instrument panel with a widescreen, 12.3-inch thin-film transistor (TFT) display that also incorporates the car’s central MMI infotainment monitor. The system additionally enables mobile Wi-Fi capability and runs on a NVIDIA quad-core Tegra 30 processor for incredibly precise graphics. When it comes to running on the pavement, the TT can hustle from 0-60 in a hurry, doing so in 5.3 seconds; move up to the more athletic TTS, toting a 2.0-liter turbocharged engine good for 292 horsepower and 280 lb.-ft. of torque, and that time drops down to 4.6 seconds. Naturally, a new quattro all-wheel-drive system is available for the 2016 TT, as are premiums like a “magnetic ride” suspension, Bang & Olufsen audio and digital HVAC controls.