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Anthony Fongaro

Niche Time: Four-Door Coupes

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Thanks, Mercedes-Benz. You created a car that literally no one asked for. What did they do? Well, in the early 2000s, they went to their E-Class, removed the hideous body, and replaced it with a different body. The new body looked like a coupe, but it had…four doors. With this, Mercedes-Benz created the “four-door coupe.” Let’s be honest—this vehicle, called the CLS, was beautiful. AMG created powerful versions that made the CLS even more appealing. Mercedes-Benz created a segment that nobody really asked for, but it worked. Granted, it cost more than the E-Class and was less practical. Both cars have been redesigned within the last few years, but these vehicles pose a question: Is a four-door coupe worth it?


Audi, BMW, and Porsche saw that people liked the CLS and decided to create their own four-door coupes. Some of them are labeled as “coupes.” some are labeled as “fastbacks.” Once again, most of these vehicles minus Porsche’s Panamera are based on normal sedans that first turned into regular coupes and then into four-door coupes. Once again, these are less practical than the regular vehicles off which they are based. Except for BMW, manufacturers Audi, Porsche, and Mercedes-Benz all have or will have wagon versions in the United States that are more practical and cost less. Some come standard or have optional two seats in the rear compared to three. But other than for less space, why buy them? It’s all about style!


Audi’s A7 lineup started in 2010. It was a beautiful and sleek alternative to the A6. At the time, there weren’t any high-performance version of an A6 wagon, but there was the RS7. Fantastic car! It had the interior and build quality of Audi along with a great-looking body. The A7 lineup has been redesigned and the interior is completely different than the rest of Audi’s vehicles. No wait, it’s exactly the same interior of the A6. As of right now, the brand new RS7 has arrived to compete with the Germans. It is more of a “fastback” with a large opening in the trunk, and the rear seats do have some compromise with the sloping rear end but that is a flaw that all of these vehicles have. Would I have the RS7 over the RS6 wagon when it comes out? Hard to tell but for now, the RS7 is a fantastic car.

BMW used to have something called the 6 Series Gran Coupe. This was based on the 6 Series coupe, which was based on the 5 Series sedan. Seeing a trend? As with Audi, the interior was the same as the 6-series coupe and the 5-series sedan. At the time, the 6 Series Gran Coupe was also a great-looking vehicle. Did it have its compromises? Absolutely. There was an M6 Gran Coupe that competed with Audi and Porsche and could be a grand touring vehicle. The 6 Series is gone, and we have the 8 Series. Soon, there will be the 8 Series Gran Coupe and I suspect it will be a bigger version of the 6 Series Gran Coupe. 

Porsche’s Panamera is the only vehicle here that isn’t based on a humdrum sedan. The first-generation Panamera was…ugly. My goodness was it ugly. Did it have good tech and fantastic engines and semi-act like a Porsche? Yes. Did others buy it mainly for the badge and ignore it for how it looked? Yes. The second generation rectified the styling of the Panamera and Porsche created a high-performance version plug-in hybrid with over 650 HP. The interior is like the Cayenne SUV and Porsche’s own wagon, the Sport Turismo. It’s become one of the best-selling Porsches behind the SUVs, which isn’t surprising. 

What has Mercedes-Benz been up to? Oh, they now have two four-door coupes. One is an updated CLS, and the other is a fire-breathing vehicle called the Mercedes-AMG GT 4-door Coupe. Mercedes didn’t want people to get confused about what that AMG GT 4-door is. At first, you ask “why have two when they’re about the same size and do share one engine?” The CLS is more of a lower and less performance-oriented version of the AMG GT 4-door Coupe. It has less powerful engines and is less expensive. Its sister car is all about performance and is seen as the four-door version of the regular AMG GT vehicles, although it isn’t just a stretched AMG GT. There is one engine that both cars have and they have the “Mercedes-AMG 53” designation with a 3.0-liter turbocharged incline-6 producing 429 HP. Between the two, I would save the $20,000 and get myself the $79,000 CLS. Or, spend $159,000 for the 4.0L V8 Biturbo, which has 630 HP.

My thoughts on these vehicles: I love most of them. There are 4-door coupes such as the Volkswagen Arteon, which was the CC, but I haven’t driven one so I can’t give too much information. Out of all the vehicles I listed, my favorite ones are the Audi A7/RS7 and the Mercedes-AMG too long of a name or the AMG 4-door Coupe. Both have incredible style, technology, and performance. As I said, I like four-door coupes. That said, there is a niche within a niche that I must talk about. SUV-coupes. 

What do you think? Do you like, own, or are interested in four-door coupes? Do you think they spoil the name “coupe” and are not real coupes? Comment below and make sure to follow us on social media. 
 


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Glad car lovers have the option, but right now the death of cars is I believe due to the gentrification of the cars. Coupe everything, blah jelly bean style, just a piss poor focus on building anything of desire in the car segment IMHO.

I know some really loved the CLS, but to me MB style of the coupe had never been anything more than Blah style and it seems to have taken the whole car segment down this path of ugly blah uninteresting design.

I hope the Coupe thing mostly goes away and we get back to having different style looks of our 4 door sedans.

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I get the term was coined with the introduction of the CLS but the four door coupe started in the 90's and it started in the U.S.

 

Aside from that fact, the whole sedan market has been homogenized for about 50 years now, give or take. 

 

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I am holding out for the Honda Odyssey 4-door coupe with a fastback roofline.  4-door could all things!

I would be tempted by a Gen 2 CLS, the gen 3 is ugly.  E53 all day over the current CLS.  But I don’t need a car, so we’ll see in a few years.

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I love the profile for the first gen CLS, but prefer the front end of the 2nd gen.   I like the interiors of both generations also. 

Another dimension to 'coupes' is coupe CUVs/SUVs...

With the rise of coupe CUVs and SUVs (VW is sort-of getting in that game now w/ an Atlas variant), I'm hoping Jeep does one....maybe the next gen GC will be offered in a coupe version with a sleek roofline ala the GLE.   I'd buy that. 

Edited by Robert Hall

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1 hour ago, smk4565 said:

I am holding out for the Honda Odyssey 4-door coupe with a fastback roofline.  4-door could all things! 

Well, Renault did do a 2dr coupe hardtop minivan years ago with the uber-cool Avantime. The minivan coupe is a niche that definitely needs explored.

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9 hours ago, surreal1272 said:

I get the term was coined with the introduction of the CLS but the four door coupe started in the 90's and it started in the U.S.

 

Aside from that fact, the whole sedan market has been homogenized for about 50 years now, give or take. 

 

5857790001_large.jpg

85380291.jpg

50 years?  I can accept 30 years or so, but sedans were easier to differentiate in the 70s than the 80s and easier in the 80s than the 90s and so on and so on.

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I would like to see a 6 door coupe with rear suicide doors.  

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CLS roofline is too low like the VW CC was, just awkward looking. 

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14 hours ago, riviera74 said:

50 years?  I can accept 30 years or so, but sedans were easier to differentiate in the 70s than the 80s and easier in the 80s than the 90s and so on and so on.

They really weren’t though if you start lining some of them up side by side. The last truly distinctive lineups died in the 60s IMO. 

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On 10/15/2019 at 9:47 AM, smk4565 said:

I am holding out for the Honda Odyssey 4-door coupe with a fastback roofline.  4-door could all things!

I would be tempted by a Gen 2 CLS, the gen 3 is ugly.  E53 all day over the current CLS.  But I don’t need a car, so we’ll see in a few years.

Mercedes already covered the coupe van market more than a decade ago. Couldn’t even get the van doors right though. 

 

2A52BA2A-3D3C-4F97-BA61-52285968AA92.jpeg

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12 hours ago, regfootball said:

 

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Congrats to BMW on their upcoming German Kia Forte.

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^ Yeah, that looks like crap. 

To think this will be priced similarly to the CT4 and more people will buy that than the CT4... 

cosmo kramer mind blown GIF

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37 minutes ago, ccap41 said:

^ Yeah, that looks like crap. 

To think this will be priced similarly to the CT4 and more people will buy that than the CT4... 

cosmo kramer mind blown GIF

God it will be so cramped. The 340i I just drove was about as snug as I like it. 

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25 minutes ago, Drew Dowdell said:

God it will be so cramped. The 340i I just drove was about as snug as I like it. 

It wouldn't surprise me if the 2 Gran Coupe has more rear seat room than the 3 series, though since it's a FWD/transverse platform.  Generic layouts usually have more cabin space than RWD.

Edited by Robert Hall

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15 minutes ago, ccap41 said:

In Mercedes defense, they're not the ones writing articles saying they created the first 4-door coupe. 

They do make the claim themselves though. 

https://www.mercedes-benz.ca/en/vehicles/class/cls/coupe

"When the first CLS debuted, its "four-door coupe" shape sparked a sleek new era in car design."

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