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Coupé

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1968 Ferrari 275 GTB/4 coupe or "Berlinetta" at Wheels Of Italy


A coupé (from the French language for "cut") or coupe is a car with a close-coupled interior offering either two seats or 2+2 seating. Through the 1950s convertible models were sometimes called convertible coupes, but since the 1960s the term "coupe" has generally been applied exclusively to fixed-roof models. Coupes generally, but not necessarily, have two doors, although automakers have offered four-door coupes and three- and five-door hatchback coupes, as well.

A coupe is distinguished from a sedan primarily by interior volume; SAE standard J1100 defines a coupe as a fixed-roof automobile with less than 33 ft³ (0.93 m³, 934.6 L) of rear interior volume. A car with a greater interior volume is technically a sedan, not a coupe, even if it has only two doors. Some automakers may nonetheless choose to use the word coupe to describe such a model, e.g., the Cadillac Coupe de Ville.

In the 19th century a coupé was a short carriage with a single row of passenger seating behind the driver. During the 20th century the term was applied to various close-coupled automobiles. Through the 1950s many automakers offered several varieties of coupé, including the club coupe (a coupe with a larger rear seat, which would today be called a two-door sedan), the business coupe (a coupe with no rear seat or a removable rear seat, intended for traveling salesmen and other vendors who would be carrying their wares with them), and the sport coupe or berlinetta, a uniquely styled model with a sloping, sometimes fastback roof.

With the growing popularity of the pillarless hardtop during the 1950s some automakers used the term "coupe" to refer to hardtop models and reserved the term sedan for pillared models. This definition was by no means universal, and has largely fallen out of use with near-demise of the hardtop.

Speakers of American English pronounce the word as "coop" and spell it without an accent. In Europe and the United Kingdom, the original French spelling and a semi-French pronunciation are often used.