Coupe is the designation of a type of two-door passenger car body.


The coupe (coupé) car category is characterized by:

  • a closed three-box body
  • a fixed roof
  • a gracefully sloping rear
  • limited rear space
  • two or more seats in at least one row
  • two side doors

This definition is based on the international standard ISO 3833 – Road vehicles – Types – Terms and definitions. This standard is quite outdated, and the definitions provided are neither completely precise nor binding. For this reason, we often encounter cars labeled as coupes that do not fully meet the given definition.

A three-box body is defined as a body whose construction is divided into three main parts: the engine compartment, the passenger compartment, and the luggage compartment. These parts are separated by a fixed partition.

Examples of vehicles with coupe bodywork:

Most often these are sports and super sports cars, with one or two rows of seats. Typical examples of coupes are Audi TT, Audi R8, BMW 1-2-3-4 Series Coupe, Mercedes-Benz C-Class Coupe, Porsche 911, Toyota GT86, Ford Mustang and many others…


The original term coupé was used for horse-drawn carriages designed for two passengers. The name probably comes from the French word couper, which translates to “cut”. In the early days of automobilism, when the transition from horse-drawn carriages to cars was taking place, this body style was very popular. Even today, the word coupé sounds very appealing, and this is one of the main reasons why marketing departments of most car manufacturers use it even where it doesn’t really belong. Ignoring the nomenclature then leads to heated discussions about whether a coupe can have four doors or not.

Did you know:

In the early days of automobilism, a two-seater two-door body style called the “doctor’s coupe” was very popular. Why a doctor’s coupe? Because doctors often used it for house calls and home visits. This type of car was quite practical and elegant for medical use, meeting the demands of wealthy doctors.

  Ford Model T

The famous Ford Model T also offered a coupe body style. Ford Model T was, of course, also produced in many other body styles. Overall, it was a groundbreaking vehicle that played a key role in the development of the automotive industry and mass production. The Model T was reliable, affordable, and easy to maintain, contributing to its popularity among the general public.


A unique and exotic example of a coupe body style could be the Targa, known in the USA as T-tops. The Targa represents a special variant of the coupe with a removable fixed roof. Among the most renowned representatives of this exclusive body style are the iconic cars Chevrolet Corvette and Porsche 911 Targa, which have left an unforgettable mark in automotive history with their elegance and performance.

Porsche 911 Targa

CC (Coupe-Cabrio)

Another special case of coupe cars could be vehicles labeled as CC (Coupe-Cabrio). These are cars equipped with a folding hardtop. From a design perspective, coupe-cabriolets belong more to the category of cabriolets with the addition of a mechanism for attaching and folding the hardtop.