Coupes and convertibles

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What Car? Staff
30 December 2009

Coupes and convertibles

Mini Coup/Roadster
Price from 17,500 (est)
On sale 2011
What is it? Sharp, focused coup and roadster for added Mini thrills

We think the Mini Coup and Roadster models are two of the most striking and exciting cars to have appeared in 2009.
Theyre both already confirmed for production and will be built in the UKs Cowley plant, although youll 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. Theyre the same length and width as the existing hatch, but are lower and have more steeply raked windscreens for a more purposeful appearance.

It isnt just about the looks, either, because the cars will be lighter than any Mini on sale. The company promises that the Coup will be the most dynamic and agile Mini yet built.

What car? says
Coups need to be cool, and the collection weve got here really hits that button. They look like they mean business, so we cant wait to give them all a go.
Will Nightingale
Consumer reporter

Weight-saving features such as an aluminium roof on the Coup and simple, manual roof operation on the Roadster will help shave weight. Getting rid of the near-useless rear seats will also shed kilos and createa slightly larger, 250-litre boot that you can access from the cabin.

The Coup 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.

Honda CR-Z
Price from 16,000 (est)
On sale Mid 2010
What is it? Hondas petrol-electric hybrid system wrapped in a stunning coup 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 shouldnt 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 isnt able to run on battery power alone.

Mercedes-Benz E-Class Cabriolet (artists impression)
Price from 35,000 (est)
On sale Late spring/summer
What is it? Mercs answer to roof-down driving with seating for four
It doesnt take an awful lot of imagination to look at the E-Class Coup and picture the Cabriolet, but heres an artists impression of it anyway.
Using the same petrol and diesel engines as the Coup, 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 shouldnt feel claustrophobic.
The E-Class Coup 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.

Peugeot RCZ
Price from 19,900
On sale April
What is it? Peugeots Audi TT-rivalling coup
Production cars can often be a pale imitation of the concept models theyre based on but not the RCZ.
The striking roof rails, which draw immediate comparison with the first-generation Audi TTs, remain and so does the sculpted bubble roof.
Youll 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, theres 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.

Also on the way...
What and cars coming your way in 2010
Kia Coup 2010 (pictured)
BMW 3 Series Coup face-lift
Hyundai Veloster
Infiniti G37 diesel
Toyota FT-86 2011