In recent years automakers have expanded the use of the term coupe to include sedans and crossovers with cut-down rooflines. As the number of offerings in those niche markets expands it is refreshing to see Audi remain faithful to the classic two door coupe and convertible market with the A5 and S5. While Audi took the wraps off the coupes several months ago, their convertible (cabriolet in Audi-speak) companions were unveiled at NAIAS. These coupes and convertibles have always been a favorite of enthusiasts and the updated cars follow so close to the formula of the original that it has us asking “what’s new?” The four cylinder in the A5 provides a respectable 252 horsepower while the V6 in the S5 adds a significant 102 horsepower to that figure. The A5 briskly hits 60 mph in 6.0 seconds while the S5 achieves that same speed in a blink-and-you’ll-it 4.8 seconds. Alas, no manual transmission is available. A 7-speed auto is offered with the A5 while the S5 features an extra gear. Audi’s signature Quattro all-wheel drive is standard on all variants and handling has been improved with both a wider track and wheelbase. In case the classic coupe formula limits your lifestyle too much, the A5 and S5 are also offered in 5-door coupe format, which in Audi terminology is designated “Sportback.” This essentially means that you get an extra set of doors and useful hatch to access the expandable cargo hold. Whether you like the flair and independence of the two door or the versatility of the 5-door, the A5 and S5 offers performance to match the good looks.
Lexus has a long history of coupes, starting with the balloon shape SC 300 and 400 back in 1992 and followed by the bathtub shaped hardtop retractable SC 430. Let’s not forget the IS 350C convertible or the wild LFA. We recently enjoyed a bright orange RC 350 coupe so we shouldn’t be surprised that Lexus previewed an upcoming coupe with the LC 500 at this year’s North American International Auto Show. The LC bucks the trend towards forced induction and features a 467 horsepower 5.0L V8. Lexus is targeting to transfer that power through a 10 speed automatic to the rear wheels in just 4.5 seconds to achieve 60 mph. The lines are certainly exotic and continues Lexus design language of tortured sheet metal trailing behind the massive spindle grille. The interior looks to feature plush and luxurious materials draped over a very horizontally styled dash design. A 2+2 coupe, the LC 500 is claimed to be one of the brand’s flagship products. This is a far cry from the staid LS 400 and ES 250 that launched the Lexus brand back in 1989, and we like the general direction this LC points the brand.
Buick followed up last year’s well-received Avenir concept sedan with an even prettier concept coupe called the Avista that was the talk of the show. Once you’ve seen the car in person it’s easy to see why. Handsome from every angle and coated in the prettiest dark blue to ever come out of the paint shop, the Avista is a 2+2 luxury sport coupe that makes good use of the Camaro’s platform. Officials said that it was rear-wheel drive, powered by a twin-turbo V6 with 400 hp and an 8-speed automatic was doing the shifting duties. Sounds like a winning package to us. Hey Buick, build it.
The Audi S5 has been a success since debuting way back in 2007, and Audi has done nothing but polish the edges each year since, so it’s no surprise that any contender in the large Sports Coupe segment will have to dethrone the S5 first. Considering the design is holding up so well even eight years on, we’re not sure anybody can beat the slinky two-door on looks. Read more…
Volkswagen seems determined to convince America that the brand can provide precision German engineering while appeasing America’s desire for larger, more powerful vehicles. The Cross Coupe GTE concept is VW’s interpretation of just such a combination. Intended to preview the brand’s upcoming 7-seat crossover the Cross Coupe differs from that production model by hacking down the wagon portion of the green-house into something far less practical. To our eyes it still doesn’t look like a coupe but it seems that our friends in Wolfsburg are eager to associate themselves with such spectacularly low volume hardware as the Acura ZDX and BMW X6. Even if buyer’s aren’t willing to give the abbreviated crossover bodystyle another chance, we can expect the full-fledged 7-passenger version to wear the same square jawed face of the GTE concept. Production for the 7-seater begins in Chattanooga, TN by the end of 2016. The GTE is powered by a plug-in hybrid drivetrain which produces 276 horsepower by means of a 3.6L VR6 and two electric motors (54 and 114 hp). It is capable of traveling 20 miles on electrified propulsion alone and is estimated to achieve a fuel economy rating of 70 MPGe. While it remains to be seen whether the production 7-passenger crossover will employ the GTE concept’s powertrain we can expect that Volkwagen will finally have a legitimate 3-row crossover to offer stateside coming late 2016.
Mercedes isn’t content to let one automaker suck up all the consumers clamoring for a crossover utility that thinks it’s a four-door coupe (we’re looking at you BMW X6 ). So today they took the wraps off a new addition to their rapidly expanding lineup of utilities with the GLE Coupe. Available in regular GLE 450 guise with a twin-turbo 3-liter V6 at its heart or 577-hp extra speedy GLE 63 AMG strength, the new high-style crossover will get down the highway just fine. Both models utilize standard 4Matic all-wheel drive and 7-speed automatic. We didn’t think there was much of a market for crossovers with limited people and cargo hauling abilities (RIP Acura ZDX) but Mercedes has produced a solid looker with massive 22″ wheels pushed out to all four corners and a full range of interior luxuries to help convince people to part with their money.
Infiniti is bringing the pretty with its Q60 Concept and it’s backing it up with twin-turbo power. Half the time Infiniti shows off wild concept cars that won’t be a tenth as dramatic when they reach production, but we’re glad to say that the Q60 Concept seems 80% of the way to the showroom. With a beautiful interior in place let’s hope Infiniti doesn’t waste any time getting this one to showrooms.
Cadillac may have taken the wraps off the ATS-V sport sedan and coupe several weeks ago, but the significance of the car has not diminished. Gleaming under the lights at Cobo Hall during the North American International Auto Show, Cadillac is giving potential buyers and up close look at the brands most agile performance model. The ATS-V is powered by a twin-turbocharged 3.6-liter V6 that produces V8-like power output. Horsepower is rated at 455 and torque at 445 ft.-lbs. A six speed manual appeases the traditional enthusiast crowd while an eight speed paddle shift automatic caters to those who don’t mind a little bit of technology assisting in their sprint to 60. Cornering is enhanced by magnetic ride control while braking is accomplished with 14.5″ diameter front rotors with staggered six-piston calipers. That speed is accomplished in a mere 3.9 seconds and terminal velocity is achieved at 185 mph. It will be easy to distinguish an ATS-V from its standard coupe and sedan brethren by means of a mesh grille, vented hood, and deck lid spoiler. The ATS-V should eliminate any doubt that Cadillac is capable of playing in the premium sport sedan league.
The Cadillac ATS coupe may not seem like big news in the design world. After all, we have had a full model year to admire the ATS sedan on the roads. After witnessing the dramatic styling of the original CTS coupe with that car’s sedan counterpart, one could be forgiven into thinking that the new ATS coupe is nothing but the ATS sedan with few doors. To draw such a conclusion, however, would be to overlook the incredible attention to detail the Cadillac designers exhibited in creating the latest two-door Cadillac. The end result is a coupe that is readily recognizable as an ATS, and yet is simultaneously more expressive in design and more emotional to view. Certainly this is the type of design that once made coupes unquestionably more desirable than the sedans on which they were based. To help understand just why the ATS coupe is such an attractive design we can compare and contrast with the already handsome ATS sedan. Read more…
The personal luxury coupe is a bit of an endangered species these days so we were excited to see Lexus offer one in the form of the RC 350. The nicely sized two-door features an intricately detailed version of Lexus’ giant front grille but here it works with the overall design that is also highlighted by beautiful wheels, stunning greenhouse and tidy rear end. The interior remains our biggest concern where, like all Lexus models of late, a design theme inspired by the late ’80s seems to be in place. The RC 350 uses the corporate 3.5-liter V6 tuned to 314 hp to move it’s rear-wheel drive chassis through the corners but we’re even more excited for another NAIAS debut we’ve heard about where this car receives the full-monty F package and the delicious V8 that goes with it. Now that is the kind of personal luxury coupe we all want to see more of.