BMW 2 Series


Munich’s latest baby coupé has cemented itself as the new darling of the entire BMW range. Engines range from the 65mpg four-cylinder diesel in the 218d to the mighty six-cylinder petrol unit that gives the M235i a heady 322bhp and a 0-60mph time of just 4.8 seconds.

The best-selling version is likely to be the 220d, which balances considerable power with excellent fuel economy. Initial reports suggest that avoiding ‘M Sport’ trim, with its harder suspension and larger wheel, is the best course of action. Money can be better spent on other options.

The bottom line is that the BMW 2 Series is faster, more frugal, and less expensive than much of the competition. The icing on the cake is, however, that an outstanding driver’s car doubles up as an accomplished long-range cruiser.

Audi TT


Fresh from its reveal at the Geneva Motor Show, the 2014 Audi TT looks largely familiar but underneath the chiseled body it’s all change. This is the first sportscar built on Volkswagen Group’s MQB platform.

Like the BMW there’s a decent selection of engines, although the 2.0-litre diesel that’s so popular in the current model will carry over. It will be available with front-wheel drive in the new model, however, as opposed the quattro-only car on sale now. The resulting numbers are compelling: 181bhp, 67.2mpg, and a 0-62mph time of 7.2 seconds.

At the other end of the spectrum are the TTS, with a 227bhp 2.0-litre TFSI engine, and the hardcore TT-RS, which will feature a 2.5-litre five-cylinder engine developing 365bhp.

Prices are expected to start at around £28,000 when the new TT arrives in the UK later this year.

Peugeot RCZ


All the talk of the RCZ currently concerns to the hot ‘R’ version that arrives later this year. The 270bhp coupé promises strong performance, but there are other, less expensive ways of getting the Peugeot’s arresting design than splashing out £31,995.

While a frugal diesel option is available, a car with the spirit of the RCZ deserves a purer powerplant, and the 1.6-litre four-cylinder turbo that Peugeot offers is an excellent choice. The car’s relatively modest kerbweight means the engine’s 197bhp goes far enough for most but still returns a reasonable 42.2mpg combined.

Whatever engine you choose, make sure the ‘GT pack’ is included, as the smaller steering wheels and short-throw gearstick add to the car’s character on the move.

The worst kept secret concerning the Peugeot RCZ is that it’s better to drive than the Audi TT, although the arrival of the new-generation German coupé later this year may even things out. Somehow, however, we doubt it.

Volkswagen Scirocco


The Scirocco may seem incongruous in this company but its combination of low-slung curvaceous design cues and commendable driving dynamics make it worthy of consideration. The new 2014 car has also undergone a subtle but effective facelift.

These modifications aren’t merely style over substance, either, as the engines in the range are more powerful yet more efficient than before. The 177bhp 2.0-litre petrol model offers a halfway house between performance and economy, while the base 122bhp 1.4-litre TSI variant will start at around £20,500. The economical 148bhp 2.0-litre TDI, on the other hand, returns an impressive 68.9mpg.

The two cooking versions are the 217bhp TSI, which uses an engine shared with the new Golf GTI, and the 276bhp Scirocco R. First deliveries start in September.

Nissan 370Z


The V6-engined Nissan keeps things simple. It’s certainly a left field choice, but if you’re looking for a sports coupé then its combination of rear-wheel drive, generous power, and a stirring exhaust note will appeal. The question buyers must ask themselves is whether these things make up for a lack of refinement and nasty drinking habit.

Arguably the 370Z’s real charm lies in its sub-£27,000 list price. Nissan knows that charging any more than that would have people scouring the classifieds for low-mileage Porsches and it means that the Nissan is a bona fide performance bargain. Just under 330bhp makes for compelling speed right up to the 370Z’s 7,500rpm red line.

Objectively, the 370Z is the worst buy on this list, but if you’ve already made the irrational decision to buy a coupé then that won’t necessarily put you off.

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