5 Best Sport Coupes for 2014
In the wild-and-crazy world of the automotive enthusiast, there are all shapes, sizes and manners of ways to have fun. You can climb up a mountain at 3 mph in a modified Jeep, you can blast across the dessert at insane speeds in a Baja truck, or you can fling a small roadster like the Miata at your local autocross. Despite all of this, there is still one true “enthusiast” machine that stands above all; the sports coupe.
Two doors of sexy, fast, and exciting have long defined the term sports car. There have been many great coupes over the decades, but it seems to me that now is about the best time in our history to be a lover of the coupe.
To celebrate this pinnacle of fun and performance I have gathered together a quick list of what I think are five of the best sports coupes that exist today. As always, make sure you hit those comments when you get done reading. Let me know what I got right, what I got wrong, and what I was missing. I’d love to hear your thoughts.
Continue reading to find about the 5 Best Sports Coupes
Money’s No Object
The current world-destroying, V-12 sports coupe from Ferrari is the F12berlinetta. This stunning and low-slung machine is one of the most powerful and fastest road-going machines to ever roll out of the factory at Maranello. Its 6.3-liter engine is naturally aspirated, but thanks to what can only be magic or witchcraft, Ferrari has managed to squeeze out 730 horsepower. It will perform the 0-to-60-mph sprint in three seconds flat, can blast past the 120 mph barrier in 8.5 seconds and will continue accelerating until it hits a top speed of 225 mph.
Despite this, the F12 is more fuel efficient than the old 599 GTB it replaced, and this new engine even qualifies for California’s LEV II low-emissions vehicle certification. Of course that doesn’t mean it is that fuel efficient. The EPA estimates sit at 12 mpg city and 16 mpg highway.
All that power and performance does come at price, as well. You can spend well over $350,000 to take home your own F12. Still, if you want nothing but the greatest sports coupe that money can buy, it would be hard for you to do better than the Ferrari F12berlinetta. At least until the upgraded version comes out in a few years.
If you want more from your sports coupe than the greatest collection of horsepower and luxury available, then maybe you should look to Porsche. The 911 GT3 is not as powerful or as fast as the mighty F12, but if you want to experience the crisp precision that comes from a race car, then this is about as close as you can get.
Like all 911s, the engine in the GT3 is a flat-six that hangs out behind the rear axle. In the GT3, you are looking at a displacement of 3.8-liters with the horsepower figure coming in at 475. This is all engine as well — no turbocharging needed — and that engine will rev all the way to 8,250 rpm. That gives this particular Porsche a more recognizable howl when it blasts down a straight. Porsche claims the top speed is 195 mph and if you wanted to do the 0-to-60 blitz, you can make it happen is 3.3 seconds.
With a starting price of $130,400 you could even almost call the 911 GT3 a bargain, at least compared to the Ferrari.
If there is anything to complain about with the GT3, it the lack of a manual transmission. Unlike previous GT3s that came exclusively with three pedals, the new GT3 is only sold with Porsche’s PDK dual-clutch trans. Considering the pure speed and smoothness this transmission provides, I understand why Porsche chose this route. That doesn’t mean I think it sucks any less though.
What if you don’t need precision or insane amounts of horsepower? Perhaps you just want a machine that is quick, looks good, and lets you act like a damned hooligan any time you please. Enter the all-new Mercedes-AMG GT. With the death of the SLS, this is the new halo model for the German brand, and if it is anything like the SLS, it will willingly shred tires and smoke out entire neighborhoods every time your right foot asks.
The GT S comes powered by a new 4.0-liter V-8 from AMG that has a pair of turbochargers in a “hot V” formation. Output is 503 horsepower, which means that you get a 0-to-60-mph sprint that only lasts for 3.6 seconds and a top speed of 193 mph.
Now, Mercedes has said that the GT is designed to be more of a sports car and less of an exotic muscle car than the SLS was, but I have seen that seductive shape and I have heard that angry exhaust noise. This is a coupe that is going to do nothing but eat pavement, smoke rubber and maybe even break a few hearts.
Expect the Price of this thing to come in closer to the $150k mark though, so once again power comes with a wallet-aching price.
So, what if you want all that speed, performance and angry exhaust noise but you don’t have a small safe full of cash to spend? Well that is why the all-new 2015 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 is so amazing. It will easily keep up with every other car here on a track, but it costs half as much as the cheapest ones so far.
You can take one home for the low, low starting price of just $78,995. To put that into more perspective, you could buy four of these things, and still have money left over for the price of just one Ferrari F12.
To be honest, I can’t really figure out why it’s so cheap. With its supercharged, small-block V-8 making 650 horsepower and 650 pound feet of torque, it is the second most-powerful car here and it has the most torque. It also has an estimated top speed of 200 mph, making it faster than everything but the Ferrari. Expect a zero to 60 run that happens in the 3.2- to 3.4-second range. Fast doesn’t even begin to describe this thing. It was also developed in tandem with the new C7.R race car, so it has incredibly advanced suspension and aerodynamics. It is far faster than the old ZR1 ever hoped to be and GM charged more than $100,000 for that thing. Oh, did I mention it comes with a seven-speed manual transmission?
If you don’t mind telling people you own a Chevy when you go to the supercar country club, this may be the best car on this list.
The Budget Choice
Speaking of America, let’s take a look at a car that most anyone in the market can afford. The Mustang is all-new for 2015 and it looks to be the best Mustang ever created. With a new independent rear suspension setup, the Mustang is truly moving away from the moniker of muscle car and is evolving into a true sports car. Currently the Mustang is the lightest of the three revived pony cars, and to my eyes, it looks the best too.
This new Mustang comes with a choice of three engines, a 3.7-liter V-6 with 300 horsepower; a 2.3-liter, EcoBoost four-cylinder with 310 horsepower; or the mighty 5.0-liter Coyote V-8 with 435 horsepower. The cheapest of these is the base V-6 at $23,600, but even if you want to jump up to V-8 power, you can drive home for as little as $32,100.
You can get it with either a manual or an automatic, there are dealers to service it everywhere and it is plenty fast to let you have fun. It may not have the same level of speed or panache as something with a Porsche or Ferrari badge, but considering that almost every American searching to a buy a new car can afford one, it deserves a spot on this list.
Honorable Mentions: The Best Of The Rest
With wicked-good looks and a huge V-10 sitting under the nose, the Viper is a true sports coupe. Combined with this incredible legacy and racing heritage it is one of the best gifts America has ever given the world. Sadly, the new Corvette Z06 is better, faster, and cheaper. The Viper just couldn’t nudge past the Chevy to make the list.
The Jaguar F-Type coupe was almost my choice over the new Mercedes-AMG GT, but there is one big problem. The best Jaguar you can buy in my opinion is the roadster. All that V-8 noise is amplified and the driving experience gets pushed up a notch thanks to all that sky and wind. When your best coupe isn’t even a coupe, you just can’t make the cut.
The Cayman S is one of the best cars I have ever driven, but when I was looking at the idea of “best sports coupes” I decided to stick the more traditional idea of a coupe; two doors, long hood, squat haunches. Mid-engine cars like the Ferrari 458, Cayman and wares from Lamborghini just don’t make the cut. Yes, the 911 is a rear-engine machine, but its shape and position in the world of sports car is unquestionable.