Cupra has unveiled its first electric vehicle, a mid-sized hatchback called Born that is based on the Volkswagen ID.3.
For those unfamiliar with Cupra, it’s a performance spin-off of the Spanish SEAT brand, which itself is a subsidiary of the giant Volkswagen Group. Previously used as a name for SEAT’s performance models, Cupra became its own brand in 2018 – although most of its cars are still basically hotted-up SEATs.
The Cupra Born is effectively a reworked version of the Volkswagen ID.3, with the new Cupra being technically identical to the Volkswagen original. So, much as the ID.3 is an electric alternative to the Volkswagen Golf, the Born could be considered an electric alternative to the new (Golf-based) Cupra Leon.
However, Cupra’s designers insist that the Born has been specifically tuned – with the assistance of various electronic driving aids – to offer a different driving experience to its Volkswagen sister model.
The Born identity
It’s been a somewhat circuitous route to launch for the Cupra Born. Originally previewed in 2019 as a SEAT concept car called the el-Born, Volkswagen bigwigs then decided that it would be better suited to the fledgling Cupra spin-off brand. A revised Cupra el-Born was then announced last summer, before being renamed for this final production version as the Cupra Born.
The car will go on UK sale with four battery choices – ranging from a 110kW/150hp entry-level model with a 45Wh battery giving an official WLTP range of 211 miles and a 8.9-second 0-62mph time.
A 150kW/204hp version uses a 58kWh battery extending range to 260 miles and cutting the 0-62mph time to 7.3 seconds. This powertrain is also available with an e-boost feature, pushing power to 170kW/231hp with a 6.6-second 0-62mph time.
The range-topping version will combine the 170kW/231hp motor with a larger 77kWh battery. This extends range further still to 335 miles at the expense of a slightly slower 62mph sprint of seven seconds.
Cupra adds that the range-topping model will include a rapid recharging facility allowing 62 miles range to be added in only seven minutes using a 125kWh charging point.
SEAT and Cupra president, Wayne Griffiths, has suggested that the Cupra Born will be sold in a different way to the usual dealers to specifically target younger buyers. This is likely to mean a focus on online sales, and probably a few pop-up displays at shopping centres and other high-traffic locations.
“We want the next generation of young challengers to be part of this transformation,” says Griffiths. “That’s why Cupra will use unconventional sales models to reach new people and take the Cupra brand beyond the traditional.”
Production of the Cupra Born starts in Germany in September, and prices will be announced at around the same time. First cars are expected on UK roads early in 2022.