The Necessity of the Four-Door Coupe

clifford chow
23 Jun 2020

Today, marketeers and product planners are finding different ways to make cars more appealing, cue the Crossover.

It is interesting how the automobile has evolved throughout the years. Traditional body shapes that we know today, are etched in our minds only because we have come to accept them the way they currently are. Take for example, the ubiquitous 3-box sedan. We are all familiar with the engine in-front, four opening doors and a boot at the rear. 

But interestingly enough, would you believe me if i were to tell you that the original Volkswagen Type 1, more commonly known as the Beetle, is officially a sedan? I believe that you wouldn’t. There are even models of cars with two and four-doored variants, in which both are categorised as sedans. To be really frank, the lines have always been blurred, and I believe they always will be.

Volkswagen Type 1 "Beetle"
Photo: Volkswagen

Take for instance what was once understood as a Shooting Brake. Allow me to digress a little about this term… A Shooting Brake is not something that goes pew pew and stops very well. The Shooting Brake as a car, more accurately and popularly takes its name from small English horse-drawn wagons used for hunting. Essentially a mobile gun and ammo rack, that was also used to carry your kills. Having long been associated with the “noble-aristo-rich sort”, the term eventually became linked to cars which had two passenger doors and a rear of an estate car… you know, probably for holding your ammo, guns and kills.

Aston Martin DB5 Shooting Brake
Photo: Aston Martin / Radford Scott Pattenden

Today, marketeers and product planners are finding different ways to make cars more appealing, cue the Crossover.

Mercedes-Benz CLA

BMW 2 Series Gran Coupe

Interestingly, the Mercedes-Benz CLA and larger CLS, which are both four-door coupes, also have on them Shooting Brake variants. They would more accurately be classified as Station Wagons, however, they were termed as such, since it does come across as a fancier name. And this is where it gets interesting, since the CLS was the car that began the popularity of a four-doored Coupe, and their CLS and CLA four-doored Shooting Brakes are in essence spin-offs.

Mercedes-Benz CLA Shooting Brake

But what is in the allure of a coupe with four-doors? It all boils down to a few things. As a consumer, there are those who would be keeping up with the Joneses… just that in this case, you would be The Mr/Mrs Jones, while the person next door would be driving a more upright Mercedes E Class, or in Audi’s case, an A6, while you an A7.

Mercedes-Benz CLS

Audi A7

BMW 6 Series Gran Turismo
Photo: BMW

As a manufacturer, Mercedes-Benz and Audi filled up a white space, providing more variations of a car for buyers to choose from. If you were to break an Audi A7 down, it is a sedan with four doors and a liftback-style boot… Very practical. 

With the sedan in reduced demand, caused by the growing popularity of the SUV, manufacturers, especially those who are building luxury cars, have to ensure that buyers can still opt to put money down for something prestigious, without doing down the SUV path, while staying clear of the traditional Sedan, which might feel a little older to some. The German big three, Mercedes, BMW and Audi have gone the direction of offering four-doored coupes within their ranges. That said, it is also a case of manufacturer ‘damn if the other one does, and damn if I don’t’.

Reception to these have often been mixed, but in general, what is there to hate? They are more practical than two-doors. They do serve with sedan-like practicality, and some of them may even offer you more useful boot space, compared directly to their sedan counterparts. The only two disadvantages are that they do cost more, and rear headroom is often slightly compromised.

#CLA #CLS #A7 #MercedesBenz #Audi #BMW #6Series #Coupe #4Door #SG #Cars #Autos #Singapore

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