Price from £17,500 (est)
On sale 2011
What is it? Sharp, focused coupé and roadster for added Mini thrills
We think the Mini Coupé and Roadster models are two of the most striking and exciting cars to have appeared in 2009.
They’re both already confirmed for production and will be built in the UK’s Cowley plant, although you’ll probably have to wait until 2011 to see them on the road.
Each design is a two-seater, which will put even more of an emphasis on the Mini driving experience. They’re the same length and width as the existing hatch, but are lower and have more steeply raked windscreens for a more purposeful appearance.
It isn’t just about the looks, either, because the cars will be lighter than any Mini on sale. The company promises that the Coupé will be ‘the most dynamic and agile Mini yet built’.
‘Coupés need to be cool, and the collection we’ve got here really hits that button. They look like they mean business, so we can’t wait to give them all a go.’
The Coupé concept car features the 208bhp 1.6-litre turbo engine, while the Roadster has the 175bhp variant. If the company uses these versions in production, it could mean fairly steep asking prices – but they will almost certainly be worth it.
Price from £16,000 (est)
On sale Mid 2010
What is it? Honda’s petrol-electric hybrid system wrapped in a stunning coupé body
This new coupe draws on designs from previous Hondas, but uses the latest petrol-electric hybrid technology.
Honda reckons hybrids will play a vital role over the next 20 years, and is keen to tell us we shouldn’t groan about that because they can be fun to drive and planet-friendly.
The CR-Z will be fitted with a similar IMA hybrid system as the Insight and Civic Hybrid, but with a 1.5-litre petrol engine instead of a 1.3-litre for some added zip. Like the other IMA cars, the CR-Z is a mild hybrid – which means it isn’t able to run on battery power alone.
Price from £35,000 (est)
On sale Late spring/summer
What is it? Merc’s answer to roof-down driving with seating for four
It doesn’t take an awful lot of imagination to look at the E-Class Coupé and picture the Cabriolet, but here’s an artist’s impression of it anyway.
Using the same petrol and diesel engines as the Coupé, the CLK replacement will have a fabric roof and not a folding metal hard top. That will keep weight down, provide a better handling balance for the car and retain more boot space.
There will be reasonable legroom in the back and, at least with the roof down, it shouldn’t feel claustrophobic.
The E-Class Coupé is good to drive – we prefer the SE trim over the Sport – but cutting the roof off a car invariably robs it of stiffness that has to be reintroduced elsewhere.
Just how good a job Mercedes has made of this remains to be seen.
Price from £19,900
On sale April
What is it? Peugeot’s Audi TT-rivalling coupé
Production cars can often be a pale imitation of the concept models they’re based on – but not the RCZ.
The striking roof rails, which draw immediate comparison with the first-generation Audi TT’s, remain and so does the sculpted bubble roof.
You’ll be able to personalise your car with a range of options, including carbonfibre roof panels and gloss black-painted brake calipers.
Engines include a 156bhp petrol and 163bhp diesel, but if you want some extra performance, there’s a 200bhp petrol that can take the RCZ from 0-62mph in 7.6sec.
A diesel hybrid is also on the way, which will give more than 75mpg on average and emit only 95g/km of CO2.