People often get the impression that convertibles are the sportiest cars on the road, and they're certainly going to perform with greater spirit and vitality than your average sedan or SUV. However, whether you're shopping used or buying new, drivers who place priority on performance should instead opt for a coupe.
Coupes look a little like a cross between a sedan and a convertible. Like the sedan, they have a fixed roof, but, like the convertible, they aren't as long and sit a little closer to the ground. They also tend to offer performance beyond either body style, including the convertible, and here are just four reasons why.
1. Coupes Offer Added Rigidity
If you've been looking at performance vehicles for a while, you may have noticed that they tend to talk about torsional rigidity a lot. In general, a more rigid vehicle will drive better. This is one of the main problems with a convertible; because they don't have a fixed roof, they suffer from reduced torsional rigidity. In contrast, a coupe's fixed roof will deliver finer handling and responsiveness, especially at high speeds or through hard corners.
2. Coupes Offer Reduced Weight
It's a common misconception that convertibles are lighter than coupes. In fact, even soft-top models are heavier because that soft-top will need to contain heavy reinforcement and insulation materials – also, the mechanism for opening and closing the roof will add quite a few pounds itself. A coupe's hardtop, and its lack of such a mechanism, means that it's much lighter.
3. Coupes Offer Improved Aerodynamics
If you're more focused on feeling the wind in your hair than enjoying a high-performance ride, go for a convertible. That wind is actually a problem from a performance point of view. With their tops down, convertibles are far less aerodynamic than other models. A coupe is different. Its fixed roof forms a long, flowing line from grille through to rear bumper, so airflow is smoothed out and aerodynamic drag is decreased.
4. Coupes Offer Sportier Suspension
One final problem with the convertible's retractable roof is that the extra weight it adds to the body means that relatively stiff suspension needs to be used to deliver a comfortable ride. Again, that's not much of a problem if you're not particularly focused on performance. But if performance is the main factor, you're probably going to enjoy the sportier suspension that can be fitted with a coupe.