The next production model from Cupra – Seat’s now-separate performance brand – will be a sporting version of the el-Born electric hatchback.
Revealed today ahead of a full launch in 2021, the Cupra el-Born is said to bring “sustainable mobility with a unique character and dynamism” and will be the first performance-oriented version of the modular MEB electric platform in the Volkswagen Group’s range. Cupra has been chosen to launch the el-Born instead of Seat, as was originally intended.
When asked if the el-Born will ever hit the market branded as a Seat, Cupra CEO Wayne Griffiths said “We are launching the el-born as the first fully electric model under the Cupra brand. I believe this is the right decision, the el-Born has all the genes of the Cupra brand…I think any good news for Cupra is good news for Seat.”
Since the 2019 el-Born concept was unveiled Cupra’s design team have given it a new, brand-specific look, largely centring around a more aggressive front-end redesign and bespoke interior details.
Only a scant amount of technical detail for the Cupra el-Born has been released. The EV will be powered by a 77kWh (82kWh gross) battery pack that sends power through a rear-mounted electric motor of undisclosed output.
Cupra promises a range of up to 310 miles on a single charge, with rapid-charging making it capable of receiving 161 miles’ worth of charge in 30 minutes. That’s significantly more than the el-Born was expected to launch with in Seat form; the Seat el-Born concept features a 62kWh battery for a range of 261 miles.
Although no 0-62mph time has been released, Cupra is quoting a 0-31mph time of 2.9sec. For reference, the Seat concept promised a 0-62mph time of 7.5sec from a 201bhp electric motor.
The el-Born will bring features that first appeared on its Volkswagen ID 3 sibling, including an augmented-reality head-up display, while Cupra-specific detailing includes sports bucket seats and a racier steering wheel design with driving mode buttons.
The el-Born will be manufactured alongside the ID 3 at the Volkswagen Group’s plant in Zwickau, Germany. It will join the upcoming Formentor in the Cupra line-up in 2021, alongside the existing Leon and Ateca – two cars that have racked up a combined 40,000 sales in the two years since Cupra split from its Seat parent brand.
Griffiths has also confirmed a specific Cupra dealer network will be set up over the coming months and years across Europe, offering a bespoke sales and aftersales experience that he believes is key to the brand’s success.