What Car? Car of the Year awards 2010 - Coupe contenders

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Best buy less than £25,000
Volkswagen Scirocco 1.4 TSI
List price £20,087
Target Price £19,097

One point four litres. That doesn’t sound much, does it? Especially when you’re talking about a sporty coupé that costs the best part of £20,000.

It sounds even worse when you think that rivals (albeit more expensive ones) such as the Peugeot 407 Coupé and Volvo C30 possess engines of considerably greater capacity.

That’s to do the Scirocco something of a disservice, however, because its engine has the benefit of both turbocharging and supercharging to produce 158bhp – more than enough to make you want to get up early and go for a drive on empty roads.

The 407 can’t get even vaguely close to the quality of the Scirocco’s drive, and while the Volvo is cheaper, it doesn’t have the class of the VW, and again is left trailing on the road.So what about the Mazda RX-8?

Yes, it drives well, but could you and your bank manager really stomach an average fuel economy figure of 24.8mpg? It’ll be a lot worse than that, too, if you decide to make full use of the RX-8’s stratospheric rev limit. Oh, and don’t forget that it also likes a drink of oil.

No, the Scirocco’s got them all beaten with the way it’ll easily cope with you and three friends. It’ll also take your luggage (if you pack light), and it’ll do it cheaply and in great style.

Volkswagen Scirocco performance
0-62mph 8.0 seconds Top speed 135mph
Running costs
Economy 42.8mpg CO2 154g/km Insurance group 28

What the testers thought...
Sometimes it’s the little details that count: the Scirocco’s ribbed seats, triangular door pulls and even the seat fabric all add to its sportiness and raise it above the norm. Iain.Reid@whatcar.com


Best buy £25,000–£40,000
Audi TT 2.0 TFSI
List price £25,972
Target Price £24,429

If you've got a little bit more cash to flash, then the Audi TT can’t fail to be on your radar. There are several desirable alternatives, of course, such as the Alfa Romeo Brera or the BMW 1 Series Coupé. However, neither of these challengers is without its issues.

The Alfa Romeo, for instance, suffers from being ponderously overweight, while offering far too little space for its occupants. BMW’s 1 Series certainly has plenty of high-quality engineering and engaging rear-wheel-drive handling to entice you, but some day, sometime, you will catch a glimpse of you and your car reflected in a shop window.

This is highly unlikely to be a happy ownership moment. If you’re in an Audi TT coupé and see your image reflected in the glass as you drive past, it’s far more likely to make you grin than to grimace.

The TT has the driving side of life under control, too. It’s light, nimble and its 197bhp 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine has enough get-up-and-go to make you glad that you got up and went.

You’ve also got an option should you really need mpg more than mph. The 2.0-litre turbodiesel model looks every bit as good as our chosen TT. It’ll cruise quietly, do the decent thing around corners and all the while sip diesel at a rate of 53.3mpg.

Audi TT performance
0-62mph 6.6 seconds Top speed 129mph
Running costs
Economy 36.7mpg CO2 183g/km Insurance group 34

What the testers thought...
We were the first to pronounce that the front-wheel-drive 2.0-litre petrol TT was the best model, and that advice still holds true. It’s all the sports car you’ll ever need. Roger.Stansfield@whatcar.com


Best buy more than £40,000
Jaguar XKR Coupé
List price £73,973
Target Price £68,940

For a start, just stare at it. The Jaguar XKR has the sort of shape that makes you want to just keep looking at it, soaking up all its curves, lines and highlights.

It’s also seriously potent, packing a 5.0-litre V8 backed up by a not-inconsiderable supercharger. Well, a 5.0-litre V8 on its own simply isn’t enough, is it?

The XKR makes those long motorway trips ease past in a gentle breeze of V8 woofle,
the six-speed automatic gearbox allowing ratios to slip through unnoticed. Get to a twisty bit of road and it will get up on to its toes and the engine will start to growl in anger. Then you can enjoy the grip, faithful handling and sharp steering. Brilliant.

There are some exceedingly tasty alternatives, though. What about an Audi A5 Coupé 4.2 V8 S? It’s stylish inside and out, it’s built to withstand a nuclear blast, and with a 349bhp V8 up front it’ll certainly be one of those things that make you go ‘yee-hah!’. Yes, it’s slightly under our budget, but as soon as you stick fancier alloys or metallic paint on it,
the price will start with a four.

Then there’s the Maserati Granturismo GTS. It’s another V8-engined stunner, and it genuinely seats four people in comfort.

In the end, though, the Jag had them both covered because neither could match its blend of grace, speed and sheer class.

Jaguar XKR performance
0-62mph 4.8 seconds Top speed 155mph
Running costs
Economy 23.0mpg CO2 292g/km Insurance group 50

What the testers thought...
The XKR might be a coupé, but its performance and agility put many supercars to shame. Jaguar has managed to make it ride so well on massive wheels, too. Peter.Lawton@whatcar.com


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What Car? Car of the Year awards 2010 - Coupe winner


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