Right, this is the production version of the Cupra Born – the brand’s first full EV and potentially the world’s first production electric hot hatch. So, let’s get straight into the important stuff. Four different iterations will make their way to the UK, with differing power levels and four different sizes of battery…
The first doesn’t sound that hot at all if we’re honest, with a 45kWh battery providing 211 miles of range and a 148bhp electric motor driving the rear wheels (all Borns are single-motor, RWD only for now) for a 0-62mph time of 8.9 seconds.
Step up the range and things get a little more exciting. There’s a 58kWh battery that provides 260 miles of range and can be had with either 201bhp or 228bhp thanks to Cupra’s e-Boost system that gives you the extra 27bhp on kickdown or in Cupra mode. The latter of those two is the quickest in the range, with a 0-62mph time of 6.6secs.
That 228bhp version with its e-Boost function can also be combined with a fairly hefty 77kWh battery for an impressive 335 miles of range on the WLTP system. The extra weight will cost you 0.4secs on your quest to 62mph, but the bigger battery also unlocks faster 125kW charging that can get you 62 miles of range in around seven minutes.
Like its ID.3 sibling, the Born deploys MacPherson strut front suspension and a multi-link setup at the rear, whilst adaptive dampers are an optional extra (as they will be on the VW soon) and lower the car by 50mm at the front and 10mm at the rear. There’ll be four different drive modes – Range, Comfort, Individual and the aforementioned Cupra. You’ll also be able to switch the traction control to a specially tuned ESC Sport setting that should allow a little bit of slip to keep things exciting.
The aluminium structure that houses the battery is bolted to the MEB platform to increase rigidity, and Cupra says the Born will get the typical EV low centre of gravity as well as “almost perfect” 50:50 weight distribution. A standard differential will control the delivery of power between the rear wheels, whilst progressive electric power steering should look after the sporting feel, says Cupra.
Inside it’s very ID.3-like, as you’d expect. Almost every function is controlled by the 12-inch central screen (or via voice control that’s activated with a simple “Hola, Hola”) and an augmented reality head-up display means that the driver binnacle can be much more compact. Check out those bucket seats too. As standard they’re made from something called SEAQUAL Yarn, which is made from recycled marine plastics, whilst your upgrade option is a material called Dinamica which is also recycled and is produced mainly from old t-shirts and plastic bottles. Very clever, and all part of Cupra’s promise that every Born will be delivered to customers net CO2 neutral.
What do we think of the exterior styling? There’s no great shock here given that we’ve seen this thing as the Seat el-Born concept and then the Cupra el-Born, but it’s certainly a bold-looking production car.
UK pricing will be announced later this year, with production at the VW Group’s Zwickau factory beginning in September.