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CUPRA’S Electric Era is ‘Born’.

CUPRA’s Electric Era is BORN.

Spanish brand CUPRA has launched its first fully-electric car in Ireland. Appropriately named ‘Born’, this rear-wheel drive hatchback is a sister model of the Volkswagen ID. 3, and it is ready to take the CUPRA brand to the next level in terms of desirability. The CUPRA brand was formed as a development of the original ‘SEAT Sport’ moniker. Originally, these were sporty variants of SEAT models, but today SEAT is a company with two clearly defined brands with separate vehicle line-ups. CUPRA is an unconventional and emotionally-charged brand, which is defined by the progressive design and performance of its electric models, and the new Born joins the Leon, Ateca and Formentor in their European model range.

Proven Electrified Platform.

The fastest version of the CUPRA Born gets a 231hp electric motor, with a 204hp version also available now, and a 150hp variant due to be released later this year. Under the sporty-looking bodywork is the same MEB platform that serves as the basis for the VW ID.3 and ID.4, the Škoda Enyaq iV and the Audi Q4 e-tron. What separates the CUPRA Born from its VW Group relatives is the cars standard Dynamic Chassis Control: a platform which sits 15mm lower at the front axle and 10mm lower at the rear axle, along with Electronic Stability Control (ESC) with its own unique application which allows more cross-axle slip than other VW Group models. The Born also has the same range of battery sizes as the ID.3: either 45kWh (late 2022), 58kWh or 77kWh capacity. For now, all CUPRA Born variants send power to their rear wheels, but it is likely that CUPRA will launch an all-wheel drive Born that will use the same powertrain as its Volkswagen ID.4 and ID.5 GTX relatives. The Born is marketed in Ireland under the following model descriptions: Born 204hp 58kWh, Born eBoost 231hp 58kWh, Born eBoost 231hp (4 seat) 77kWh, and Born eBoost 231hp (5 seat) 77kWh. Battery range is between 425km and 548km, depending on the model chosen.

Cabin & Boot.

The modern and spacious interior of the Born has some interesting design touches and materials, with copper trim details adding a dash of sportiness to the cabin, in a similar fashion to the exterior copper trim found on the front, rear and centre wheel caps of the car. An unconventional feature, shared with the VW ID.3, is having just two buttons for the four electric windows, with a third button to switch the controls between the front and rear windows. The well-designed boot in the Born measures in at a respectable 385-litres behind the rear seats, and there is even a small space under the floor at the back of the boot where you can stow the charging cable out of harm’s way.

Test Car Details.

My test car was a CUPRA Born 204hp (201bhp) 58kWh which looked striking in its Aurora Blue premium metallic paintwork with optional 20” HURRICANE Sport Black machined aero alloy wheels. Optional Granite Grey Dinamica Bucket Seats adorned the sporty cabin of the car, and they added a true sense of occasion to every journey I made. Standard features include 18” CYCLONE alloy wheels, dark tinted windows, full LED lights, sports suspension, CUPRA Drive Profile, CUPRA Bucket Seats with SEQUAL Yarn, heated front seats and steering wheel, 12” touchscreen with navigation, 5.3” Digital Cockpit, rear view camera, front & rear parking sensors, advanced keyless entry & start, adaptive cruise control, Light Assist (Auto Highbeam), wireless charging, and a CUPRA Care Plan that includes the replacement of brake fluid, pollen filter, front brake pads, front & rear wiper blades, and 4 tyres. In addition to the optional extras mentioned above, my test car was fitted with optional metallic paint, an Augmented Reality Head Up Display, and a Protect Pack consisting of an anti-theft alarm system, anti-theft wheel bolts, and a Proactive Passenger Protection System. The permanent magnet synchronous electric motor in the CUPRA Born 204hp 58kWh variant produces a hefty 310Nm of torque for instant acceleration right from the get-go, and this results in a 0-100km/h sprint time of just 7.3-seconds, on its way to a top speed of 160km/h (where permitted). An official battery range of up to 417km is impressive, and with a quoted battery consumption of 15.5 – 18.0kWh, it is quite possible that many owners will only have to charge their car once or twice a week. The car can be fully charged (0-100%) via a wallbox charger (11kW) in just over 6 hours, but a 10-80% charge from a DC 120kW fast-charge public station can be completed in as little as 35 minutes.

On The Road.

Even though the CUPRA Born has no more power than the VW ID.3, the instantly-available torque (310Nm between 0-3,500rpm) helps to create a responsive, enjoyable driving experience. Drive modes allow drivers to choose between Range, Comfort, Performance and Individual, and you can also select Sport ESC mode if required. The gear selector is located on the right-hand side of the driver’s instrument display (similar to the VW ID.3) and this can take some getting used to, but gets easier with practice. As well as ‘D’, there is a ‘B’ setting for increased levels of brake regeneration, along with Reverse (R) and Parking Brake (P) functions too. A well-judged suspension set-up provides the car with an excellent ride quality, with only the most severe potholes and bumps transferring the impacts through the car. The combination of a low centre of gravity and rear-wheel drive provides the Born with excellent handling characteristics, while the car feels agile, sure-footed and refined at motorway speeds.

Verdict and Pricing.

The CUPRA Born is rewarding driver’s car that looks and feels sporty, with a comfortable and tech-laden cabin that is deceptively spacious. Pricing starts at €38,160 for the Born 204hp 58kWh version (inclusive of dealer delivery costs and an SEAI Grant for private buyers, where applicable), with pricing yet to be announced for the forthcoming entry-level 150hp variant. The CUPRA Born is an excellent all-round fully-electric family car that is sure to be a huge success for the sporty CUPRA brand.

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