We were lucky enough to be recently invited over to Barcelona for the first drive of the all-new CUPRA Born. This is the first 100% electric vehicle from the CUPRA brand and although they are famed for building performance related vehicles, you will not be disappointed with the new Born EV. Designed and developed at CUPRA’s headquarters in Martorell, Barcelona, the CUPRA Born is produced at the Zwickau plant in Germany and I think its safe to say, it is one of the best looking EV’s in this sector. It will join the plug-in hybrid variants of the Leon, Leon Sportstourer and the Formentor in the electrified portfolio from CUPRA. Based on the Volkswagen Group’s modular MEB platform famed for the ID.3, Audi Q4 and Skoda Enyaq the Born measures 4,322mm long, 1,809mm wide and 1,540mm high. It has a wheelbase of 2,767mm and a 385-litre boot capacity making it extremely practical. With a range of 500km-plus depending on battery choice this is an EV you can live with and one that differentiates itself with incredible styling!
The first thing that grabs your attention when you approach the Born is that striking front end with sharp LED lighting and bonnet creases that demand your attention. Buyers get a choice of six colours to include Vapor Grey, Glacial White, Geyser Silver, Rayleigh Red, Quasar Grey and the exclusive Aurora Blue. As you walk around to the side profile, it’s the 20-inch alloy wheels featuring aerodynamic inserts and copper accents that catch your eye. The C-Pillars have a floating design while puddle lights beam the CUPRA logo on to the ground from door mirrors in dusk. Walking to the rear you get LED lights that run from one side to the other or “coast-to-coast” as its known. Inside you sit into a very driver-focused cockpit with a 12-inch infotainment system relaying all the vitals. There is an array of online services and downloadable apps including remote access and charging via the My CUPRA app. The standard bucket seats are extremely comfortable and made from recycled Yarn, whilst the arm rests and door cards feature up-cycled marine plastics called Dinamica. Legroom is plentiful in the rear and the cabin feels altogether bright and airy.
Getting down to the business end the CUPRA Born’s electric powertrain is available in a choice of 150PS, 204PS and a 231PS e-Boost pack for the performance CUPRA fans. This can propel the Born from 0-100km/h in 6.6 seconds and comes with larger front brakes and 19-inch rims as standard. The three battery options are 45kWh, 58kWh and 77kWh delivering range of 350km, 424km and 540km respectively. When charged on the more powerful 170kW network, the Born can go from 5% charge to 80% charge in just 35 minutes and recoup 100km of range in just seven minutes! For the best weight distribution the electric motor is located above the rear axle while the battery sits low between the front and rear axles keeping the centre of gravity low. On our test drive we got to experience the five driving modes Range, Comfort, Performance, Individual and CUPRA, which is on the e-Boost only model. These varying modes adapt the vehicle to best suit the driver’s needs.
Like the other family members from the Volkswagen Group the assistance systems include Predictive Adaptive Cruise Control, Travel Assist, Side and Exit Assist, Traffic Sign Recognition, Emergency Assist and Pre-Crash Assist. When the safety systems are triggered the driver gets a warning via an augmented reality head-up display that projects directly onto the windscreen to avoid distraction. The expected array of airbags are also present for extra piece of mind.
At the launch in Barcelona the final CUPRA Born pricing was yet to be finalised but the Irish arm of CUPRA have confirmed prices will start from under €39,000 excluding grants and delivery charges. It is expected to hit Irish showrooms in early 2022 and this won’t be the only EV from CUPRA either with the announcement that the Tavascan will come in 2024 and another new urban electric car in 2025.
After a day spent in the hills of Barcelona we can safely say that despite its environmental credentials, the Born remains a driver’s car first and foremost. It feels focused and planted at all times with power going direct to the rear wheels but when a twisty mountain pass presents itself, you get to feel the real agility of the Born. Using a combination of MacPherson strut suspension at the front with an advanced five multi-link design at the rear, it corners effortlessly and disguises any battery weight. Our test car was equipped with Dynamic Chassis Control (DCC) making it ride 15 mm lower at the front and 10 mm lower in the rear when driven spiritedly. Naturally when pushed battery life diminishes faster but a click back into Eco mode for the downhill sections allows the Born to harvest as much power as possible and replenish the battery. Overall this is a fantastic offering from CUPRA and one we can’t wait to spend more time with on its arrival to Ireland in the New Year. On style alone we believe the Born has an exciting future and look forward to seeing plenty on Irish roads.
A top of the range Born will no doubt be pricy.