The Best All-Wheel-Drive coupes to survive Canadian winters
Now that winter is officially upon us, you may think that your days of piloting a sporty two door coupe are over. Typically, coupes are banished into a garage or parkade till the clear spring time weather arrives, nary a threat of snow or ice.
These days, increasing number of luxury auto manufacturers are offering their formerly rear-wheel-drive only coupes with all-wheel-drive variants.
No longer does owning a sports coupe have to be an oxymoron to the word “winter”. Just swap out the all-season or summer tires for a set of good snow tires, and you are set to go!
Here are a few examples of all-wheel-drive two door luxury coupes with different price points to suit your budget.
Infiniti Q60 coupe
The 2015 Infiniti Q60 AWD coupe. Photo courtesy of Infiniti Canada.
The Q60 is a well-appointed coupe that combines the Infiniti brand’s blend of value, performance, and luxury. It’s powered by a 330-hp 3.7-litre V6 engine and available with a seven-speed automatic transmission or a six-speed downshift rev matching manual transmission.
Infiniti’s Intelligent All-Wheel-Drive system can adapt to the changing conditions by constantly monitoring wheelspin, throttle position and vehicle speed. In dry conditions, the system is able to send 100 per cent of the power to the rear wheels for more responsive road performance. However it can automatically divert up to 50 per cent of the available power to the front wheels to enhance traction and control in adverse conditions.
Price for the Q60 AWD coupe starts at $51,800
The 2015 Audi A5 Quattro. Photo courtesy of Audi Canada.
Audi was the company who pioneered all-wheel-drive in a road going car for performance reasons. For many years, they were the only choice on the market if you wanted a coupe with the year round safety and security of all-wheel-drive.
Unlike some of the vehicles in this article, the Audi A5 coupe (and its higher performance S5 and RS5 variants) is solely available with Audi’s famed Quattro all-wheel-drive system; two-wheel-drive versions are not available in Canada.
With standard Quattro all-wheel drive, the A5 coupe is a comfortable and stylish car that will perform well on pavement or in rain and snow.
BMW 228i xDrive Coupe and M235i xDrive Coupe
The 2015 BMW M235i xDrive Coupe and the 1968 BMW 2002. Photo courtesy of BMW Canada.
In the late 1960’s, the BMW 2002, spiritual forerunner to the BMW 2 Series Coupe, set new standards in dynamics and design and established the BMW tradition of sporty coupes.
Today, the BMW 2 Series Coupe combines exciting dynamics and a design with reminiscences of the legendary 2002 coupe in BMW history. However unlike the rear-wheel-drive only 2002, the 2 Series is now available with BMW’s xDrive all-wheel-drive system for the 2015 model year.
Available with a six-speed manual or eight-speed automatic transmission, the 2-series is a sporty coupe with tons of charm and fun.
Price for the 228i xDrive coupe starts at $39,750, and $48,750 for the M235i xDrive coupe.
Lexus RC350 AWD
The 2015 Lexus RC350 AWD. Photo courtesy of Lexus Canada.
The all-new Lexus coupe aims to bring back a blend of styling and performance that has been unseen in many of Lexus’ product offerings until recently.
The RC350 is equipped with a 306-hp 3.5-litre V6. When equipped with the optional all-wheel-drive system, it’s paired with a six-speed automatic transmission.
Price for this all-new Lexus coupe starts at $54,000.
Jaguar F-Type with AWD
The 2016 Jaguar F-Type R AWD. Photo courtesy of Jaguar Canada.
For model year 2016, the beautifully-styled Jaguar F-Type coupe receives substantial upgrades, including the addition of the company’s Instinctive All-Wheel-Drive system.
This system is engineered to maintain the rear-drive character that is important to Jaguar sports car DNA while offering even greater dynamic capability.
Operating on the torque-on-demand principle, Jaguar Instinctive All-Wheel-Drive has been programmed to send 100 per cent of the engine’s output to the rear wheels under normal driving conditions. However in slippery conditions, the system can transfer up to 50 per cent of the engine’s torque to the front axle to mitigate the loss of traction.
Instinctive All-Wheel-Drive will be optional on all F-type S models (with a 380-hp supercharged V6), and standard on all V8 R Coupes (now upgraded from 495-hp to 550hp).
Prices have not yet been announced but are expected to start at above $85,000 for the F-type S with AWD.
Porsche 911 Carrera 4 / Turbo
The 2015 Porsche Carrera 4. Photo courtesy of Porsche Canada.
Over the course of its 50 year life cycle to date, the iconic 911 has retained its unmistakable look and design while being constantly updated with the latest technology. To many, the 911 is one of the best sports cars available.
While all of the 911s still maintain their signature rear-engine configuration, a sophisticated active-all-wheel-drive system is available on Carrera and Carerra S models, and standard on all 911 Turbos.
This system distributes engine power between the permanently driven rear axle and the front axle by means of an electronically variable multi-plate clutch. Porsche Stability Management and enhanced Porsche Traction Management work together to ensure the optimum distribution of drive power for maximum traction depending on the driving and road conditions.
Price of the Carrera 4 starts at $103,900.