The Cupra El-Born is like a more mischievous-looking version of Volkswagen’s all-electric ID.3, but the Spanish automaker says you shouldn’t chalk up the differences between the cars to merely sheet metal alone. That’s because the El-Born will have something the ID.3 doesn’t: push-to-pass.
That’s right, this all-electric hatchback (or is it a tiny crossover? I can’t decide) will have a button you’ll press to temporarily raise output, like an IndyCar car or something. Isn’t that adorable? Wayne Griffiths, president of both Cupra and Seat, revealed the feature to Top Gear late last week.
Some electric cars accelerate very quickly, but the ID.3 is not one of them, as Car Magazine quotes a 0-60 mph time of 7.3 seconds. That’s certainly not terrible for an ordinary hatch, but it does offer some room for improvement, which is perhaps why Cupra saw fit to add push-to-pass. And yes — I know people won’t exclusively be using this for passing, but calling it push-to-pass is far more amusing and aspirational to me than “boost” or “power mode.”
Whatever you call the button, don’t expect to lay on it all the time. I suppose you could if you wanted to really challenge Cupra’s 310-mile range estimate. Additionally, Griffiths claims the El-Born will differ from its German cousin in other fun ways, too:
“Things like ‘boost on demand’, the sporty suspension, the steering, the brakes, the whole handling experience. And we’re looking to do even higher powered versions of the Cupra El-Born,” says Griffiths.
“I’ve driven both [the ID.3 and the El-Born] and I think the Cupra is ‘a Cupra’. It is important that the Cupra stays authentic, in terms of handling. Pure electric cars that are designed in a different way, and when you get into cornering, handling, braking, steering, I think there’s a big amount of differentiation you can create there.”
I’m curious as to how deeply Cupra can “differentiate” its version of the ID.3, especially when it’s starting with the same guts. Griffiths didn’t speak to how much boost you’ll get when you push the button, nor how long it’ll last. And as much as I’d like to hop over to Spain and pay Cupra a visit to answer these questions personally, I sense that’s not going to happen anytime soon. I know, I know — I’m just as disappointed as you.
The El-Born does at least look sportier than the ID.3 and wears its stubby front end a little more confidently, to my eyes. This is a sharply styled little hatch — less see if Cupra can succeed in making it feel a little sharper behind the wheel, too.