Cupra Born electric hot hatch arrives with 228bhp and rear-wheel-drive
Cupra has lifted the wraps from its first all-electric, 335-range car, the Born.
First things first, I preferred it when it was referred to as el-Born, which it was when the concept was unveiled at the 2019 Geneva Motor Show. ‘The Born’ doesn’t really work for me. Plus … well, essentially it’s a VW ID.3 with the addition of some sporty details. But there’s no denying, the Cupra certainly looks pretty stunning.
Both EVs are built on the same VW Group MEB-based family hatch platform, and while the overall body size and shape is almost identical to that of the ID.3 — being 4,322mm long, 1,809mm wide and 1,537mm tall — the Born does have some noticeable, aggressive styling details.
According to the guys at Cupra, Born brings its own “stimulating design and instantaneous performance”, in addition to a distinctive “dynamic character”.
Clearly there are much sharper, racier lines at the front of the Cupra, where its sharp LED headlights and pointed front-end combine to resemble something close to the nose of a shark. The slim grille and large bumper intake have been designed to channel air towards the EV’s radiator to help keep the battery cool.
And while the EV has eye-catching, slightly wild alloy wheel designs — a choice of six designs are available, in diameter from 18 to 20 inches — perhaps the most debatable decision is to add a host of copper accents to both the exterior, and interior of the car. Could well be the car’s ‘Marmite moment’. Just as well then that there’s a choice of six paint finishes.
Styling aside, the Cupra Born will initially be available with the choice of three powertrains. The entry-level 148bhp version, fitted with a 45kWh battery, is claimed to deliver 211 miles on a single charge and cover 0-62mph in 8.9 seconds. Next up is the 58kWh battery, which produces 201bhp and a claimed 260 miles, with 0-62mph in 7.3 seconds.
The current range-topper produces 228bhp, with the option of either a 58kWh or 77kWh battery. Interestingly, currently the ID.3 doesn’t include the 228bhp option. On the Cupra Born, opt for the 77kWh battery and Cupra says you’ll have a range of 335 miles. The most powerful version will also cover 0-62mph in 6.6 seconds.
While all the launch models are rear-wheel drive, there remains the likelihood of more powerful variants, plus all-wheel drive options being added to the range in the years to come.
Worth highlighting also the Cupra, compared to the ID.3, the Born has the option of adaptive dampers on the Born which have four dedicated settings called Range, Comfort, Individual and Cupra. Also featured is speed-sensitive power steering, plus a specially-calibrated traction control system which Cupra says was designed to keep the Born moving in all conditions.
Inside, the Cupra looks pretty impressive. Whereas the VW has a 10-inch central infotainment touchscreen, the Cupra increases that to 12 inches, along with an augmented reality head-up display. There’s also a fully digital gauge cluster and touch-sensitive icons controlling the major convenience functions. As you would expect, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are also included, with the Cupra Connect app used as a hub for all connectivity functions. And while the centre console of the ID.3 falls away from the dashboard, in the Cupra it actually rises up to meet the dash.
The bucket seats on the Cupra are offered with two upholstery options. The first is a microfibre cloth, the second a yarn from eco-friendly company, Seaqual; the latter uses plastic which has been trawled from the oceans.
According to Cupra, using a 125kW fast-charger, the largest battery can gain 62 miles of range in seven minutes; leave it plugged into the same fast-charger and a 5-80 per cent recharge takes 35 minutes. Also available for home-charging is a bespoke, Cupra-branded domestic wallbox. This can be controlled using the firm’s new Easy Charging smartphone app.
As always in modern day cars there’s a suite of active safety systems fitted as standard. Included in the package are emergency assist and pre-crash assist, predictive adaptive cruise control, traffic sign recognition and travel assist. Options include a top-view camera and intelligent parking assist, plus high-beam assistance.
Prices and full specs aren’t due to be announced by Cupra till around the end of the year, with first deliveries scheduled for early 2022. But it’s fair to expect the Cupra to start from around £32,000 including the government’s £2,500 grant.
And while you will, of course be able to buy one through traditional means at a dealership, the Cupra Born will also be available on the company’s new subscription programme.