The Cupra Born Is A Cooler, Sportier Electric Car From The Volkswagen Group

Illustration for article titled The Cupra Born Is A Cooler, Sportier Electric Car From The Volkswagen Group
Photo: Cupra

The Cupra Born has been on the cusp of an official debut for a while, having been unveiled some weeks ago. We didn’t get a close look at it then because the unveiling didn’t go into exhaustive detail. Now, Cupra has finally given us close look we’ve been begging for, and it has revealed a familiar design with a cool twist.

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So cool that it’s kind of a cruel reminder that this EV will not come to the U.S. We also don’t know what it’ll cost yet. The Born is like the ID.3's cooler, sportier cousin, but you don’t have to take my word for it. Instead, let none other than Baron Zemo himself show you:

The Born was developed off of Volkswagen’s MEB platform, specifically as Cupra’s — Seat’s electrified performance sub-brand — version of the Volkswagen ID.3. In a design breakdown of that VW, our own Jason Torchinsky compared that EV hatchback to the de facto standard from Volkswagen, the Golf.

I’m almost tempted to use a similar approach and look at this new Cupra Born like a faster ID.3 and use Torch’s analogy to approach it like an EV Golf R, but the truth is this Cupra can stand on its own, because it’s a pretty cool hatch.

If the ID.3 is the everyman fully-electrified hatchback that VW wants to push, then the Born is the electric hatch that ditches the anodyne appeal of the Volks for something riskier. Cupra even gave the Born a blue color scheme, though in a different hue than that of the Golf R.

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Photo: Cupra

So the comparison to the Golf R is not technically right, but it’s more about the approach here. Cupra is positioning this EV as an electric hot hatch. Its CEO, Wayne Anthony Griffiths, says as much in the video introduction when discussing the design goal of this new EV:

A lot of people think that electric cars, it’s just a rational decision, but I think we prove with Cupra that electrification and performance can be a perfect match.

It doesn’t have to be a contradiction.

To that end, the Born comes in two models, with different range and power output. This is becoming a default for EVs, where some folks might not want more range or power on tap and would prefer a cheaper EV, instead.

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The slower of the two models will make about 148 horsepower and 229 lb-ft of torque. The second will make about 201 HP and the same torque. But there’s more: Cupra will offer an e-Boost performance pack that bumps up the output to around 228 HP.

The e-Boost Borns will be available with either a 58 kWh or 77 kWh battery. When drivers configure their Born to include the e-Boost and come with the smaller 58 kWh battery, the Cupra can go from 0 to 60 miles per hour in 6.6 seconds. I know that’s not as fast as a Golf R, but it is faster than the ID.3.

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The e-Boost is engaged through the steering wheel, which is a neat touch. It’s the go-fast button drivers dream of.

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Photo: Cupra
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The only bad thing is the lighter battery and performance load of that performance configuration do cut down on range. So a Born with e-Boost and the 58 kWh battery will get up to 260 miles of range (based on WLTP estimates) while the larger 77 kWh battery will go up to about 336 miles.

Cupra also minded charge times, and the specs Cupra shared are similar to it’s VW stablemate, but they still sound pretty practical:

The high-performance EV can add an additional 100km [62 mi.] of range in as little as 7 minutes using a 125kW charging point, making typical journeys as simple and easy as if using a combustion engine vehicle. And even if the battery pack SOC [state of charge] is only 5% it can be replenished to 80% in as little as 35 minutes.

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The interior and exterior design are also similar to the ID.3 but Cupra very much did it’s own thing. There will be six paint finishes for the Born, and they all come with copper accents. These accents are good.

And the Born’s interior is fantastic. I hate floating screens, but VW and Cupra have made it work in these cars. Possibly because they are the only focal point, since there’s no other buttons on the dash. The steering wheel then takes up the driver’s attention next to that screen, and makes the driver cockpit feel segmented from the cabin. It’s pretty neat, and finished off by those twin buttons on the steering wheel. One of them being the boost button.

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Photo: Cupra

You can see what Griffiths meant about EVs and performance when you see the Born. It definitely looks sportier, both inside and out. Again, the ID.3 has mass appeal and I’m not sure that’s what Cupra was going for with the Born.

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It’s design won’t be for everyone. It’s copper accents won’t please all drivers, but those who want a meaner ID.3 can look to the Born. It’s sharp. It’s cutting. It’s a fresh take on the MEB platform, and it sticks to the Cupra performance angle.

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Photo: Cupra
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Photo: Cupra
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Photo: Cupra

Staff Writer at Jalopnik. Periodista automotriz, Naturally Aspirated Stan.

DISCUSSION

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EMF15Q

Who knew a swoopier front end clip with some gold trim and a set of Saab 900 trispokes would transform that generic ID.3 blob!

Because I’m American, I therefore think the unobtainable SEAT/Cupra brand is automatically more desirable. I’m sure my European compatriots would be happy to disagree, though!