The 4 Best Coupes Under $40K

The thrill of riding a coupe definitely comes at an expense. However, these luxurious two-door sports cars don’t always have to be ultra-exclusive acquisitions. For the passionate rider with big dreams but an average budget, I’ve compiled a list of the 6 best coupes that cost less than $40,000.

There was a bunch of auto news in 2022 related to affordable coupes. Several stylish and powerful offerings were released at relatively modest prices. 2023 seems to be following the same trend, and already there are elegant offerings that pack a punch and don’t require a fortune. If you are looking to buy a coupe worth less than $40,000 in 2023, these are your best options:

  • 2023 Toyota GR86
  • 2023 BMW 2 Series
  • 2023 Subaru BRZ
  • 2023 Ford Mustang
  1. 2023 Toyota GR86

    The Toyota GR86 comes with an important improvement to the engine. The original model’s quality was not what you’d hope for, but this version boasts a 228-horsepower four-cylinder engine that can power to 60 mph in 5.5 seconds. There’s something for everyone, whether you’re into manual or automatic, as both transmissions are available.

    While the power is truly impressive, the GR86 is razor-sharp when it comes to handling. With its highly-precise steering, it’s the car you want if you’re trying to swerve around the hills on the weekend. There’s also a pretty nice interior, and it’s one of the few affordable sports cars with four seats. The infotainment setup includes an 8-inch touchscreen and a six-speaker stereo system compatible with iOS and Android.

    MSRP: $28,995
    Average Market Price: $30,586


    • Handling is almost unbeatable.
    • Manual transmission is gold.
    • Interior looks nice.


    • Rear seat is quite small for passengers.
    • Engine noise is something you would have to endure.
  2. 2023 BMW 2 Series

    This entry-level 4-seater is in the top class of affordable entry-level coupes when it comes to performance. Equipped with a 255-horsepower four-cylinder engine, it can reach 60 mph in 5.1 seconds. The powerful performance is complemented by superb handling and very reliable braking.

    Sadly, for those who love to drive manual, there’s no party, as the only transmission option is an eight-speed automatic. This version also doesn’t come with a convertible body, but you might not fret too much about that when you realize it has relatively good fuel economy. Like the GR86, the 2 Series also includes a rear seat. The infotainment system is far from boring, sporting a wifi hotspot, a 10-speaker stereo, iOS and Android connectivity, and an 8.8-inch touchscreen.

    MSRP: $37,395
    Average Market Price: $37,460


    • Solid braking
    • Strong performance
    • Fuel-efficient for its performance.


    • Rear seat is small
    • No convertible body-style
    • No manual transmission
  3. 2023 Subaru BRZ

    The 2023 Subaru BRZ is Subaru’s attempt at a pure sports car that provides a thrilling ride at an affordable price, and it’s safe to say they succeeded. Featuring a thrusty four-cylinder engine with 228 horsepower, it accelerates to 60 mph in 5.4 seconds. With pretty solid steering feedback, responsive handling, and a strong cornering grip, it’s an excellent choice for twisting around serpentine roads.

    The BRZ is rear-drive only, making it a unique offering in Subaru’s mostly all-wheel-drive lineup. There are two options for transmission; either a six-speed manual or a six-speed automatic. While the interior looks pretty basic, it’s a bit practical, with a low seating position and bolstered front seats that keep the car passengers secure.

    MSRP: $29,615
    Average Market Price: $30,178


    • Powerful performance
    • Handling is responsive.


    • Rear-seat space is small.
    • Interior leaves a lot to be desired.
  4. 2023 Ford Mustang

    If you know the Ford Mustang, then you know it places appearances over practicality. This elegant coupe looks and talks like a heavy booster, and guess what? It is one. While the official specs haven’t been released yet, its performance suggests a similar output to the Ford Bronco, which uses a 300-horsepower engine. Running on a 5.0-liter V-8, it offers two transmission choices: a six-speed manual and a 10-speed automatic.

    Unlike many high-performance sports cars, this one is steady enough for everyday use. Available as a coupe or convertible, the Mustang’s interior wouldn’t be mistaken for that of a luxury SUV, but it’s pretty appealing. The infotainment section, in particular, doesn’t lack much, with a 13.2-inch screen, a wireless smartphone charger, voice commands, and Android and iOS connectivity.

    MSRP: $29,165
    Average Market Price: $29,225


    • Great performance
    • Impressive interior
    • Multiple performance-enhancing options


    • Not fuel efficient, especially for more powerful engines.
    • Limited rear-passenger space

Getting A Cheap Coupe In 2023: Is It Even Worth It? My Verdict

I’m an automotive engineer, so I get to tune and take a few cars out for a spin. While budget coupes will never compete with “grand coupes” in terms of performance, I can say for a fact that they can be pretty fun to drive.

If you’re buying a sports coupe simply for the thrill of the experience, then you’re in the right place. But if you’re torn between having a practical car and an affordable, shiny one, or you want something for hanging out with friends, then you might be better off looking elsewhere.