All-new Cupra Born electric hatch has over 530km range

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The Born shares its MEB underpinnings with the Volkswagen ID.3, but the sporty Cupra EV has been tuned for more fun.

This is the new Cupra Born. It’s the first electric car from SEAT’s sporty spin-off brand, which will become yet another rival for the Volkswagen ID.3, Nissan Leaf and Tesla Model 3. Prices for the Cupra Born are yet to be confirmed but, like the brand’s combustion-engined line-up, we expect it’ll be similar to the equivalent ID.3.

The Cupra Born is based on the same MEB underpinnings as the Volkswagen ID.3, meaning it shares the same battery packs and electric motors. The entry-level car features a 45kWh battery and a 110kW electric motor, which Cupra says provides a 0-100kmh time of 8.9 seconds and a maximum range of 340km.

Above that, there’s a 58kWh variant, which sends power to a 150kW electric motor. The extra battery capacity increases the Born’s range to 418km, while the more powerful motor drops its 0-100kmh time to 7.3 seconds. Cupra also offers the same powertrain with an e-Boost function, which can temporarily increase the motor’s output to 170kW. The system is available with either the 58kWh or 77kWh battery, with the latter option increasing the car’s maximum range to almost 540km.

The overboost function also trims the hatchback’s 0-100kmh time to 6.6 seconds with the smaller battery and 7.0 seconds with the larger battery. Every version of the Cupra Born generates 310Nm of torque and is rear-wheel drive, although all-wheel drive options are expected to arrive in time.

Like the Volkswagen ID.3, the bigger battery offers support for 125kW DC rapid charging, which allows 100km of range to be added in just seven minutes. Leave the same system connected for 35 minutes and it’ll replenish the battery’s state of charge to 80 per cent.

Cupra also says the Born has been designed to handle well, in-keeping with Cupra’s focus as a sportier alternative to VW Group brands such as VW and Skoda. The battery’s placement, low down in the centre of the car’s chassis, means the EV has a near-perfect 50:50 weight distribution and much lower centre of gravity than an equivalent combustion hatchback.

Its chassis will be optionally available with adaptive dampers, which have four dedicated settings called Range, Comfort, Individual and Cupra. Speed sensitive power steering also features, as does a specially calibrated traction control system that the brand says was designed to keep the Born moving in all conditions.

Its styling is pretty much identical to that of the SEAT el-Born concept from the 2019 Geneva Motor Show. Cupra has kept its short bonnet, large quarter light windows and tailgate spoiler, while adding its trademark copper-coloured trim to the front splitter and alloy wheels.

Cupra has also retained the el-Born concept’s unusual textured C-pillar panel, which it says “gives the impression of a floating roofline.” The slim grille and large bumper intake are new additions, though, which the company says have been designed to channel air towards the EV’s radiator to help keep the battery cool.

LED headlights are fitted as standard, and feature an animated signature which activates when the driver approaches the vehicle. Cupra-branded puddle lighting will also be available, and buyers will be offered a choice of six paint finishes and six alloy wheel designs, sized between 18 and 20 inches.

Inside, there’s a pair of bucket seats, more copper-coloured highlights, a digital instrument cluster and a multifunction sports steering wheel with a drive-mode selector button. Unlike the ID.3, which comes with a 10-inch touchscreen as standard, every version of the Born has a larger 12-inch infotainment system. The Cupra shares the Volkswagen’s touch-sensitive heating and ventilation controls, though.

Cupra also offers a choice of two eco-conscious leather-free upholstery finishes, called Seaqual Yarn and Dinamica. The first is made from upcycled marine plastics, which have been collected from beaches, rivers and the ocean floor. The plastic is then cleaned, treated and spun into yarn which has similar properties to polyester.

Dinamica is another recycled material, which is made from polyester fibres reclaimed from old clothing and single-use plastics. It’s available as an optional extra on the Born, and comes in either Dark Blue or Grey colour finishes. Both trims reflect the Born’s environmentally-friendly approach to mobility.

Like all of the Volkswagen Group’s MEB vehicles, the Cupra Born has a long wheelbase relative to its overall length, which means it should maximise interior space. It also has a slightly larger boot than the SEAT Leon, at 385 litres.

Buyers will also get a host of safety equipment, including high-beam assist, predictive adaptive cruise control, traffic sign recognition and semi-autonomous Travel Assist, which can assume control of the Born’s steering, throttle and brakes on the motorway with the driver’s supervision.

Optional safety equipment includes a 360-degree parking camera, parking assist and side and exit assist. The latter system provides audible and visual warnings for vehicles in the driver’s blind spots when on the road, as well as for approaching traffic when the vehicle is parked and an occupant goes to leave the car.

Luke Wilkinson

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