Cupra has become the latest VW Group brand to join the MEB platform juggernaut with the new Born, a rear-wheel drive, 231hp hot hatch named to emphasise its rank as the brand's first EV. With a maximum range of 335 miles in range-topping 77kWh format and a 0-62mph sprint time of 6.6 seconds from the lighter 58kWh variant, the single-motor five-door outpunches the top-spec VW ID.3 and its 204hp from the get-go. But it retains a relatively familiar look, with only bronze details, Cupra's signature light design and some snazzy wheels to differentiate it from its VW Group sibling. Business as usual, then.
Four versions of the Born are to be offered at launch, with the base car getting a 45kWh battery for 150hp, 8.9 seconds to 62mph and 211 miles of range. Above that, the first of two 58kWh battery variants offers 204hp, 7.3secs to 62 and 260 miles, with the second gaining e-boost tech to generate 231hp and shave seven tenths from the sprint time. The aforementioned top model has the same power but needs seven seconds to hit 62 - although its greater range ensures it matches the best ID.3's claim while being more potent and slightly quicker. All versions have 229lb ft of torque, if you're wondering.
Performance is obviously going to be a key trait in establishing the Cupra's rank amongst its electric VW Group stablemates, and with Audi not yet having produced an equivalent EV model (the ID.4-related Q4 e-tron its smallest battery-powered offering so far), the Cupra reigns supreme in the VW family. But with so much in common with its MEB siblings, much of the Born's technical spec sheet is familiar. With a 125kW plug, you'll need 35 minutes to go from five to 80 per cent battery, while the chassis is as seen before, with MacPherson struts up front and a multi-link suspension setup at the business end. Dynamic Chassis control remains an option.
That leaves chassis tuning, with the Spanish brand claiming to have created a bespoke character through the car's steering and braking feel. As with all MEB models (and most EVs, for that matter), the latter blends both pad and disc resistance with that of regenerative tech. Like the ID.3, up to 0.3g of deceleration can be achieved via the resistance of the recuperating motor when it is set to the more extreme B mode. The most efficient Borns will be specced on the 18-inch wheels, but buyers can option 20-inch rims - an inch bigger than the ID.3 gets - with 235mm tyres. Another feature that highlights the Cupra's positioning.
Inside, though, the VW Group's digitalised cabin architecture is recognisable enough, with only the bronze detailing to remind you that you're in a Cupra. That said, you do get sports seats with integrated headrests, matching the sporting touches on the outside, which include a fake diffuser. Plainly it's a more aggressive theme than is applied to the comparatively toned-down ID.3; you'll have to decide for yourself if it's your sort of jam.
There's no UK pricing just yet for Cupra's newcomer, but expect it to be within touching distance of the VW. The top model, with its bigger battery, power and spec, will almost certainly be nudging the £40k mark. So you'll have to really not want the latest petrol-powered - and pleasingly good - Cupra Leon to be a prospective customer. If you are, the Born has all the makings of a strong contender. And if initial ID.3 sales are anything to go by, its maker will have no problem shifting the car once it begins production this September.
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