Top 10 best performance coupes 2022

Open gallery Close News by James Disdale 8 mins read 26 September 2022 Share

The recipe for a performance coupé is simple: take one good-looking coupé, give it a more muscular look if it needs one, make the dynamics sharper, drop a powerful engine in the nose and aim the performance figures for the stratosphere.

The hot versions of these slick-looking coupés each exhibit their own exhilarating traits, making them unique to own, drive and live with. The appearance in this list of some of the usual suspects may not come as a surprise, but the big question remains: who can reign supreme in our rundown out of Audi Sport, BMW M, Mercedes-AMG and one or two others?

1. BMW M4 Competition

The all-new BMW M4 is considerably more powerful and heavier than the old F82 model, and also, you might think, quite a bit gawkier, at least from the front.

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The M4 remains a compelling proposition, however. It offers striking and tangible handling poise, fine precision and superb controllability, along with trademark M division positivity of feel flowing through its axles, driveline and engine and back through to its controls.

So it’s indulgent to drive but also more usable than ever, and the way the configurability of its driving experience can be negotiated via the steering wheel-mounted driving-mode shortcuts is truly rare in a modern performance-car driving experience: complexity brought emphatically to heel. There’s also the option of rear-wheel drive of xDrive four-wheel drive, the latter melding all-weather security with genuine playfulness when you’re in the mood.

Perhaps it lacks a certain rawness, and it’s a shame that we cant get the manual gearbox option in the UK, but the M4’s blend of versatility and engagement makes it a stand-out option.

2. BMW M240i Coupé

BMW’s smallest high-performance coupé is also one of its finer efforts, the M240i combining a pugnacious street-fighter attitude with an easy-going everyday personality that makes it fun when you want to be and hassle-free when you don’t.

Although it isn’t a full-blooded M car, the M240i certainly looks the part, with its wide-tracked stance, while its turbocharged engine delivers hard-hitting pace, with 0-62mph done and dusted in just 4.3sec – about the same time as the original M2. Built on cut-down version of the larger 3 Series platform, the 2 Series gets a 368bhp version of BMW’s muscular and creamy smooth B58 3.0-litre straight six, which is mated to a rear-biased xDrive four-wheel drive system that hits just the right balance of adjustability when you want to play the fool and cast-iron security when the conditions turn nasty and you just want to get your destination.


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Yet it combines this pace and poise with an easy-going refinement that gives the car some junior-GT credentials. The ride is firm even with the adaptive dampers in their softest setting, but the noise-insulation is excellent and the tall-striding top gear of the eight-speed automatic ‘box makes for relaxed long distance progress.

The interior is also a cut above, with a classy-looking dashboard from the 3 Series and top notch materials used throughout. Then there’s the price, which at a touch under £48,000 actually represents decent value when you compare it to four-cylinder rivals such as the Mercedes-AMG CLA 45 S.

3. BMW M2 Coupé

There’s a lot riding on the new M2, not least because in its ultimate Competition guise, its predecessor was one of our favourite go-faster compact coupés. So far we’ve only driven the car in prototype from on the track, but the initial signs are encourage, certainly in terms of performance and poise. Like the M240i, the new M2 is actually based on the scalable CLAR architecture that underpins that larger 3 Series and 4 Series models. As a result, this is a slightly more grown-up and sophisticated proposition than the old car.

Still, it’s definitely a proper M machine, not least because it packs a detuned, 444bhp version of the twin-turbocharged S58 3.8-litre straight six already used in the M3 and M4. There’s also bespoke calibration for the steering, stability control and electronically controlled limited-slip differential. There are also stiffer front springs than you’ll find on the M4 for sharper turn-in, softer rears for greater mid-corner adjustability and the uprated adaptive dampers that will also appear on the M3 Touring. It’s also rear-wheel drive and, praise be, a six-speed manual gearbox will be offered alongside the eight-speed automatic.

We will have to wait until we drive a full production version on UK roads to deliver our definitive verdict, but on the basis of a quick sampling of the pre-production model, we reckon a podium on this list is pretty much nailed on.

4. BMW 4 Series M440i Coupé

Yes, another BMW product at the sharp end of our list, although this time one that is brand-new underneath its controversial skin. With its beefy kerb weight and new torque-converter gearbox to replace the old DCT, the M440i is top-dog in the sub-M 4 Series range, and boy is it worthy of that status, at least from behind the wheel.

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