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First drive CUPRA Born

First drive CUPRA Born

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CUPRA’s typically sporty attitude to driving, with revised suspension and the option of wider tyres for improved grip in the bends.

It’s CUPRA’s first battery-powered model and is one that shares a platform with cars like the Volkswagen ID.3 and Audi Q4 e-tron


What is it?

CUPRA has been rapidly establishing itself as a go-to option in the new car market. It hasn’t been a separate entity from SEAT for all that long, but has quickly broadened its range to offer a variety of different vehicles, all of which have a distinctly sporty theme to them. 

And now, it’s time to enter the EV segment with this - the Born. It’s CUPRA’s first battery-powered model and is one that shares a platform with cars like the Volkswagen ID.3 and Audi Q4 e-tron. But can it distinguish itself enough from those models? We’ve been finding out. 


What’s new?

As mentioned, the Born sits on Volkswagen Group’s latest MEB electric car platform. This is the setup that has been designed to underpin electric cars from the off, rather than being adapted from an existing petrol or diesel chassis. This means that the Born can offer more interior space than its exterior dimensions would lead you to believe. 

Elsewhere, we’ve got CUPRA’s typically sporty attitude to driving, with revised suspension and the option of wider tyres for improved grip in the bends. 


What’s under the bonnet?

The CUPRA Born is available with a series of powertrains, but we’re looking at the one which is expected to be the most popular option. It uses a 201bhp electric motor linked to a 58kWh battery, with the former output allowing for a 0-60mph time of 7.1 seconds and a top speed of 99mph. 

When it comes to range, CUPRA claims up to 261 miles from a single charge. Plus, the Born is rated to charge at up to 125kW, which would return a five to 80 per cent charge in just 35 minutes. If you connect it to a three-phase 11kW charger, a full charge will take around six hours. 


What’s it like to drive?

The Born is noticeably sportier to drive than its Volkswagen Group stablemates right from the off. A lower, firmer suspension setup means that the Born feels superbly planted in the bends, giving it a real amount of grip and mid-corner assurance. It’s firm at low speeds as a result, mind you, which could be an issue for those who want comfort above all else. 

Light controls do mean that the Born is easy to drive, while that instant delivery of torque that you only get with electric cars means that it feels a lot quicker in real life than it looks on paper. 


 How does it look?

CUPRA has already successfully applied its design language to a whole variety of cars and it’s the same case with the Born. Against the ID.3, the Born looks night-and-day more interesting, with a variety of CUPRA’s copper-coloured elements brightening up the exterior. 

The rear of the car is particularly strong in terms of design, too, with a ultra-wide diffuser giving some indication as to the Born’s sporty nature. 


What’s it like inside?

As we’ve seen with other cars on the MEB platform, there aren’t too many physical buttons in the Born with the bulk of controls housed within the infotainment system. That does mean that the cabin feels quite uncluttered, but makes actions such as just changing the temperature a little trickier than they need to be. 

But in terms of space the Born does very well. There’s a lot of legroom and headroom available for those sitting in the rear, while the 385 litres boot is square and easy to access. 


What’s the spec like?

The test car came in V3 specification, bringing a wide variety of standard features such as a 12-inch infotainment screen and 5.3-inch digital cockpit, alongside wireless smartphone integration and adaptive cruise control. The 12-way electrically adjustable seats are comfortable and trimmed in recycled materials, too. 

In this specification there are a few options available to choose from but, in truth, there’s such a good number of standard features that there’s little need to trouble the extras list. 


Verdict

The Born feels like an exciting and competitive addition to the EV segment. It’s involving to drive and definitely has that sporty experience that is sometimes missing from electric vehicles. The ride might be a little too stiff for some people, but given the added involvement that the sportier suspension setup brings, this might be a compromise many are willing to make. 

Add in good equipment levels and a striking exterior design and you have an EV that is well worth considering. 

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