What’s the best coupe for the money? It depends on what you’re looking for. There are recommendations for entry-level affordable coupes and those that are more upscale. If you’re looking for sporty coupes, there are other best choices. Finally, if luxury coupes are your preference, we’ve got some candidates for those as well.

Here, then, are our picks for best coupe for the money.

Affordable Coupe:

  • Volkswagen GolfGerman engineering and craftsmanship, great driving dynamics, and an affordable price are standout reasons to check out the 2011 Volkswagen Golf. Available coupe models include 2.5L 2-Door and TDI clean diesel 2-Door, at a starting manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP) of $17,965 and $22,810, respectively. EPA-estimated fuel economy is 23 mpg city/33 mpg highway for the 170-hp 2.5-liter inline five-cylinder engine in 2.5L 2-Door, and 30 mpg city/41 mpg highway in the 140-hp 2.0-liter TDI clean-diesel 2-Door. Edmunds comments: “The 2011 Volkswagen Golf delivers a rare combination of economy and refinement, standing out among worthy competitors.”

Upscale Entry-Level Coupe:

  • BMW 1-SeriesIf you’re looking for an entry-level upscale coupe, look no further than the BMW 1-series. Available as coupe or sedan, both come in 128i and 135i and both are powered by 3.0-liter six-cylinder engines. The 128i puts out 230 horsepower, while in the 135i, it’s a twin turbocharged version that delivers 300 horses. EPA-estimated fuel economy is 18 mpg city/28 mpg highway (128i), and 18/25 city/highway mpg for the manual 135i coupe. Starting MSRPs are $29,450 and $36,350 for the 128i and 135i coupes, respectively. New Car Test Drive says (of the 2010 1-Series): “The BMW 1 Series cars have all the style, performance and features a driver could want in a compact package. It’s  built around one of the best chassis in the segment, and the only one with rear-wheel drive.”

Sporty Coupe:

  • Chevrolet CamaroAll-new in 2010 (and returning after a 7-year hiatus), the 2011 Chevrolet Camaro ups the horsepower in base V6 model to 312 horses, while still achieving an EPA-estimated 29 mpg highway (with available six-speed automatic transmission). Starting MSRP for the Camaro is $22,680. Move on up to the SS and its 422-hp 6.2-liter V8 engine, and fuel economy is still good at 24 mpg highway. Starting MSRP for the top-line SS is $34,295. Kelley Blue Book says: “If you want a great-looking car that expresses your personality without forcing you to take out a second mortgage on the declining value of your home, you have to like the Camaro. In SS form its performance-per-dollar ratio is outstanding as well.”

Luxury Coupe:

  • Cadillac CTS-V CoupeAll-new for the 2011 model year, the 2011 Cadillac CTS-V coupe is one awesome expression of style and performance, say reviewers. Consider the facts: rear-wheel drive, 556-hp 6.2-liter turbocharged V8 and six-speed manual transmission, 0-60 time of 3.9 seconds, EPA fuel economy of 12 mpg city/18 mpg highway, starting MSRP of $63,465. Motor Trend opines: “Edgy, rakish, pumped, the Cadillac CTS-V Coupe is stylistically confident and extroverted, like an American performance car should be, but in a way that international audiences will understand and embrace. What’s more, it actually delivers on the visual promises, with performance and handling that genuinely allows it to run wheel-to-wheel, no-holds-barred, with the world’s best premium performance coupes.”

Other considerations for best coupe for the money include new/used Honda Civic Coupe (affordable), Ford Mustang (sporty), and Infiniti G37 Coupe and Hyundai Genesis Coupe (luxury).

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