A coupe is a car that is known to have two doors, so how can there be a four-door coupe? Well, to put it simply, there can't. Our favorite German marques, on the other hand, disagree. Now essentially its own segment, the four-door coupe was introduced by Mercedes back in 2004 (2006 in the U.S.) with the CLS, a sedan that was adorned with sleek accent lines, a rakish profile, and a sporting powerplant. Amid the success of the CLS came a bit of jealousy from its aggressively competitive brethren, BMW & Audi, which lands us here to compare the “four-door coupe” offerings from each of them. So, will two-ton curb weights hold these sedans back from the coupe aspirations? Let's take a look.
First up is Audi the S7, a high-powered menace with a strong Audi “S” bloodline. Aesthetically the S7 is arguably the sportiest. The aggressive Audi grille we've (and other automakers) have come to love is coupled with an aggressive pair of headlamps. In our Facebook post a few weeks back we asked how “angry” you like your sports cars to look, the S7 is an example of an angry looking car. But, this anger helps its case as a coupe. Overall the body follows a clean, low=profile aestetic that tapers off to a sloping rear (with a sweet little spoiler). Inside the Audi benefits from sexy quilted seats and expectedly high-quality materials, despite the fairly tacky carbon fiber pieces slapped on.
In terms of power, the S7 takes the trophy in this group; this is one beastly sedan. Its 4.0 liter twin-turbo V8 launches her to 60 in an impressive 3.9 seconds; that's R8 fast. In fact, word has it that the Audi's power ratings of 420 hp and 406 lb.ft. of torque are dramatically underrated, which seems quite understandable given its impressive figures. Due to its proportions and engineering, the S7 seems to take the cake in all areas of performance, though steering can be a bit numb.
Moving onto the BMW GranCoupe. Now this is where we start to see the legitimacy of the “four door coupe” term become a bit less legit. Mentioning that here is not completely discrediting the BMW's styling and performance by any means, but at 4600 pounds, and with the presence of rear dear handles, its argument for being a coupe decreases. In terms of looks the BMW is a very handsome car. Elegant and modern could be used to describe any of these cars to a certain degree but the Bimmer really encompasses the duo of adjectives. BMW interiors often turn some away, and the GranCoupe is no different, but this time it does so with a bold move that includes twisting and turning stithicng that adorns the dash and seats in an exciting way (this says sports coupe perhaps more than anything else).
Mecahnically the BMW is a strong competitor but not quite as tight as the S7's coupe-like reflexes. And it is really until you aggressively approach a turn that its heavy weight and length show themselves as an inhibiting factor. Powered by a 4.4 liter twin-turbo V8 good for 445 hp and 480 lb.ft. of torque means 60 in a scant 4.2 seconds. Though not the S7's sub-4 second sprint to 60, this is still impressive.
Lastly we have the original “four-door coupe,” the Mercedes CLS550. Despite its “OG” status in the segment, the new CLS is the most sedan-like of the competitors, and shows its age inside. This generation forgoes complete sleekness for more chiseled accent lines that are attractive, but reduce its coupe argument. Inside, the Benz keeps it tasteful and luxurious, but maybe to a fault when it comes to garnering sporty coupe accolades. Word has it that though the exterior will stay the same, the interior will soon be getting an overhaul.
Under hood lies another twin-turbo V8, though with a larger displacement than the others at 4.6 liters. With 402 hp and 443 lb.ft. of torque, the lightest of the bunch is also the slowest, with a 0-60 time of 4.4 seconds. Other driving mannerisms are also a bit softer than the others as well.
All in all, there is still a little ways to go before we can fully buy into the “four door coupe” argument, though the German makes are making a valiant effort that are succeeding. In the end, can there ever be a coupe with four doors? Sound off on the Club Sportiva Facebook page or shoot us a tweet at @ClubSportiva.
– Evan W.