A coupé is fixed-roof car with a sloping rear roofline and one or two rows of seats. However, there is often debate surrounding whether a coupe must have two doors or whether cars with four doors can also be considered coupés. This debate has arisen since the early 2000s, when four-door cars such as the Mazda RX-8 and Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class have been marketed as "four door coupés" or "quad coupés".
In the 1940s and 1950s, coupes were distinguished from sedans by their shorter roof area and sportier profile. Similarly, in more recent times, when a model is sold in both coupé and sedan body styles, generally the coupe is sportier and more compact.
The 1977 version of International Standard ISO 3833— Road vehicles - Types - Terms and definitions— defines a coupé as having two doors (along with a fixed roof, usually with limited rear volume, at least two seats in at least one row and at least two side windows). On the other hand, the United States Society of Automotive Engineers publication does not specify the number of doors, instead defining a coupe as having a rear interior volume of less than 33 cu ft (934 L).
The definition of coupé started to blur when manufacturers began to produce cars with a 2+2 body style (which have a sleek, sloping roofline, two doors, and two functional seats up front, plus two tiny seats in back).
Some manufacturers also blur the definition of a coupé by applying this description to models featuring a hatchback or a rear door that opens upwards. Most often also featuring a fold-down back seat, the third door or hatchback layout of these cars improves their practicality and cargo room.
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