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Classy coupes

Classy coupes Published: 16th Apr 2014 - 0 Comments - Be the first, contribute now!

Classy coupes Alfa Romeo Gtv
Classy coupes Audi Coupé
Classy coupes Bmw 3 Series (e36)
Classy coupes Ford Cougar
Classy coupes
Classy coupes Mazda MX-6
Classy coupes Peugeot 406 Coupé
Classy coupes Vauxhall Calibra
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No matter what the badge, every other car maker wanted to jump on the (fast) back of the success of the Ford Capri. But if you want something different, and more modern, here’s some other classy coupe candidates

Audi Coupé

Teutonic temptress
Status symbol 6/10

The Quattro kicked it off for Audi but we’re looking at the normal coupé range here that evolved around that all-wheel drive supercar. The Series 2 generation, which arrived in the late 1980s, offers a wide choice of versions, from mild tune models to virtually full Quattro spec, including all-wheel drive, although the wooden, rather dead feeling steering and nose-heavy handling that affl icted all Audis of that period ensures that they never drive as well as they look.

Ford Cougar

Cool for cats?
Status symbol 4/10

The original Mondeo was a great car – so a coupé spin-off has to go one better, yes? Well, no actually. Based on the larger estate platform, the Cougar was subsequently ill proportioned, although it drove as well as a normal Mondeo and, in top 2.5 V6 guise, remains seriously quick. Like the Probe, the image was lacking. If you can fi nd a good one, this is a Ford that’s well worth mothballing albeit because of its rarity more than anything else.

This was Ford’s first stab at making a ‘new Capri’, largely based upon a shared Mazda platform and made in the United States, hence the extrovert styling. Thankfully it didn’t drive like an American car and the front-wheel drive Probe gave a good account of itself 20 years ago, especially the creamy smooth and swift 2.5-litre 24V V6 but the lower rung 2-litre ‘four’ wasn’t bad either. Apart from a glitzy cockpit which had no rear legroom space whatsoever, the Probe gained a favourable press when new and remains a pretty good car. Apart from corroding alloy wheels and seizing rear brake callipers it is also generally durable. But against a classier Vauxhall Calibra or VW Corrado the Probe always comes off second best.

Vauxhall Calibra

A vauxhall with calibre
Status symbol 8/10

This is the car that took over where the Capri left off with style to spare, even though it was based upon nothing more grand than the second generation Cavalier. Much lauded when new, and with a growing following now, the best models are the Astra GTE-powered 2.0 16V and the delightful 2.5V6, which can be likened to Vauxhall’s ‘own’ 2.8i Capri! There is a scorching 200bhp Turbo 4x4 as well, but apart from turbo wear, the all-wheel drive system can be unreliable (as well as being very expensive to repair), where something as innocent as mis-matched tyres can ruin it.

Peugeot 406 Coupé

Fake ferrari?
Status symbol 8/10

It’s not that diffi cult to mistake this working class Peugeot 406 Coupe for a Ferrari – after all, they were both penned by Pinninfarina! Understandably, the Frenchie doesn’t possess quite the same thrills and speed but there’s nothing shabby about how this stylish take of the extremely pleasing 406 saloon performs; again a V6 option really makes it something to savour although an easier owning 2.2-litre range offers ample performance and much better economy. The 406 ran right up to ‘54’ reg, so you can still find them on the forecourts and £2000 is plenty for a good one.

Mazda Mx-6

AMAZED by this mazda?
Status symbol 5/10

It’s not a misprint, there was an MX-6 and this kissing cousin to the Ford Probe – that was built on the same American production lines – is greatly underrated. It’s classier than the Ford and with far nicer Capri-esque looks which means more rear seat space if needed. The MX-6 was only available in vivid V6 form in the UK. A much underrated car – BUT you try finding one now.

Bmw 3 Series (e36)

Ultimate driving machine?
Status symbol 7/10

Couldn’t leave out BMW now could we – and for the typical classic car enthusiast who appreciates straight six engines and a rear wheel drive chassis, it’s the best pick out of this motley bumch. There’s a massive choice of models, from the base 316i up to the 328i and all share the same qualities. Very cheap buys in the main but their sheer popularity means no exclusivity at all…

Alfa Romeo Gtv

Worthy of the badge
Status symbol 7/10

Like all Alfas of this era, the famously-named GTV is a dressed up Fiat – but in this case a good one and that trusty Twin Spark 2-litre engine even traces its roots back to the 1960’s classic. Typically Alfa in spirit, and sprightly enough but you really should go one better with the magnifi cent 3.0 V6 engine option that wouldn’t disgrace itself in a Ferrari! The GTV is front-wheel drive, but this Alfa handles well enough and is much better than the softer Spyder convertible. Boot space is miserable but the cockpit has some nice Alfa touches – go for the Lusso versions, if possible. Unlike many of the other cars featured here, the Alfa at least has some real classic spirit about it and all for under £1000 if you hunt hard enough

Vw Scirocco

Second wind
Status symbol 6/10

Once the Corrado was launched the Scirocco was put out to graze, but if truth be told, the Mk2 was never as good as the original sharp-styled Capri-beater, although it did benefi t from the option of the 136bhp Golf GTi engine – there was also a base 90bhp 1.8 as well as the normal 112bhp tune provided by the 8v Golf GTi unit. The handling is still as entertaining as the original car and these later Sciroccos remain keenly priced. And of course being Golf-based, just as dependable as a daily driver.

Toyota Celic

Japanese capri
Status symbol 6/10

Launched a year after the fast-backed Ford, Toyota’s ‘Capri’ lasted right up to the end of the last century, where it gained some great looks and also the 2-litre engine from the MR2. This was a mixed blessing because while powerful with some 170bhp, it was very ‘peaky’, which is fi ne for a sports car but perhaps too racy for a more relaxing GT. That said, they drive nicely, are cheap to buy and there’s some interesting Grey Import versions to consider.

Volvo C70

Saint’s alive – a sexy volvo!
Status symbol 7/10

Apart from The Saint’s P1800, Volvos were sensible, safe but staid and it wasn’t until the 850 range with its codeveloped Porsche engines that the Swede began to let its hair down. The later ‘70’ range spawned the handsome rather than striking C70 Coupé but what it lacked in pose appeal the Swede made up for it in meaty performance from its special fi ve-cylinder engine in various states of tune. Handling can be ‘interesting’ because the power available (well over 200bhp) overwhelms the front-wheel chassis but you’re always in for a thrilling drive!

 



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