February 19, 2014 | by Joe Phillips
Coupes d’etat
Nissan Juke NISMO, autos, gay news, Washington Blade

Nissan Juke NISMO

Two-door coupes. Yes, Batman drives one. So does 007. Same with Ellen, who has a spiffy $180,000 Porsche 911. But you don’t have to be a superhero or a superstar to break free from all those sedate sedans and SUVs on the road.

Here are four snazzy coupes — some cute, some classy — and all with plenty of personality.

 

Nissan Juke NISMO

$23,000

Mpg: 25 city/31 highway

0-to-60 mph: 7.3 seconds

 

Beatnik chic or design freak? Take your pick, but the Juke gets double-takes — especially the new top-of-the-line NISMO sport model. The exterior, which only comes in white, black or silver, has ruby-red side mirrors, black alloy wheels and a racy roof spoiler. The LED accent lights are a nice touch, as is the red stitching on the seats and dash. The base-model Juke has always been a capable performer, but the NISMO ratchets things up a notch with more power, better handling and tighter suspension. You sit high in the seats, so there’s plenty of visibility. And while trunk space is limited, just lowering the rear seats triples the amount of cargo room. OK, so this may not be a true coupe (there are four doors, after all). But the rear doors were designed to be completely hidden from the outside and they likely won’t be used much anyway, since rear-seat legroom is nil.

 

Subaru BRZ

Subaru BRZ, autos, gay news, Washington Blade

Subaru BRZ

$26,000

Mpg: 22 city/30 highway

0-to-60 mph: 6.8 seconds

 

Thanks to a joint venture with Toyota, Subaru finally gets a stylish sports coupe to complement its tony WRX tuner sedan. Yet while the all-wheel-drive WRX is great for almost any terrain, the lighter and nimbler BRZ is the better street racer. Sure, the BRZ’s acceleration isn’t blazingly fast. But fuel-economy, steering and braking are all good. So is front-seat legroom, even for tall drivers. And despite a cramped backseat, the trunk space is decent. As for standard gear, the list is long, even on the base model: 17-inch alloys, automatic bi-xenon headlights, keyless entry, Bluetooth, eight-speaker audio and more. But beware: the nav/entertainment system is clunky to use, which is likely to disappoint the millennial crowd.

 

 

BMW 4 Series

BMW 4 Series, autos, gay news, Washington Blade

BMW 4 Series

$41,000

Mpg: 23 city/33 highway

0-to-60 mph: 5.4 seconds

 

For more room and vroom, BMW released the all-new 4 Series, the replacement for the iconic 3 Series coupes (and convertibles, later this year or next). The 4 Series actually drives better, thanks to its lower, wider chassis and three different braking systems, including “cornering brake control.” The 4 Series is also better looking, with flared fenders, sleek air vents and lots of low-slung, RoboCop cladding, especially around the macho grille. Choice of 4- or 6-cylinder turbo, both with plenty of punch. And the interior is typical BMW: simple, with a few analog gauges and the high-tech iDrive info/climate/entertainment system (though the touchscreen seems more like an aftermarket add-on than a standard feature). There also are plenty of (pricey) options, including 10-way power seats, keyless ignition/entry, heated seats/steering wheel, blind-spot monitoring and rear-, side- and even top-view cameras.

 

 

Audi RS 5

Audi RS5, autos, gay news, Washington Blade

Audi RS5

$71,000

Mpg: 16 city/23 highway

0-to-60 mph: 4.3 seconds

 

Not content with its base-model 5 coupe or even the high-test S 5, Audi rolls out its uber-powerful RS 5. Like Michael Sam, this is a spirited performer with impressive stats: quick cornering, sure braking and a hard-charging 450-hp V8 that roars like thunder even when tapping the accelerator gently. Intimidating, yes. But classy, too, with carbon-fiber trim, panoramic sunroof, rear sunshade, speed-activated rear spoiler and 14-speaker Bang & Olufsen stereo. For even better handling, there’s adaptive cruise control, adaptive steering and 20-inch wheels. With all the options, an RS 5 can easily cost twice as much as a BMW 4 Series or three times the Subaru BRZ. But then, you’ll know you’re playing in the big leagues.

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