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Cupra shows off new Born EV, Aus very interested

VGA has clear interest in Cupra Born but market prioritising might spoil the party

31 May 2021

CUPRA’S first ever electric vehicle, the Born, has finally seen the light of day with the pint-sized green hatch firmly on Volkswagen Group Australia’s (VGA) radar.


Described by Cupra as “the unconventional challenger, the Born flaunts an aggressive look full of angles and sharp contours with a frowning, almost snarling front fascia and chunky, aerodynamically optimised alloy wheels.


Measuring 4322mm long, 1809mm wide and 1537mm tall, the Born is underpinned by the Volkswagen Group’s widely used MEB modular platform, sporting a wheelbase of 2767mm and offering up 385 litres of cargo space.


Set to be offered in Europe in four different guises, it could be quite some time before we see the Spanish upstart in Australia, if at all, with a VGA spokesperson telling GoAuto “no guarantees can be made about EVs while markets with CO2 targets to hit are prioritised”.


Nevertheless, the spokesperson said the Born was “highly desirable” for our market.


In its most basic form, the Born is motivated by a 45kWh battery which provides power to a rear axle-mounted electric motor developing 110kW of power and 310Nm of torque, enough to take it from 0-100km/h in 8.9 seconds.


The effective range meanwhile is pegged at “around” 340km.


Second in line will be a 150kW/310Nm version, backed by a bigger 58kWh battery pack, affording the ID.3 rival an increased range of “around” 420km and a 0-100km/h time of 7.3s.


Above that will be the ‘e-Boost pack’ which fittingly boosts power to “up to” 170kW – but torque remains steady – and slashes the 0-100km/h time down to 6.6s, however this won’t be available in Europe until next year.


Despite the extra grunt, this version of the Born will still reportedly cover around 420km on a full charge.


Finally at the top of the range, the e-Boost pack can be optioned alongside the ‘Range pack’ which increases the net battery capacity again to a meaty 77kWh, resulting in an effective range of around 540km.


Performance-minded buyers may be disappointed to find the bigger battery pack has no effect on the power or torque figures with its extra weight also hampering the Born’s acceleration efforts – 0-100km/h in this guise takes a claimed 7.0s.


With such a high level of uncertainty surrounding our market and the reluctance to embrace EVs, it is hard to gauge or even guess which variants may eventually materialise, however the recent actions of other brands suggest VGA may opt for the longer-range versions given the sheer size of Australia and the distance between cities and towns.


According to Cupra research and development executive vice-president Werner Tietz, the Born “proves that electrification and performance are a perfect match”, being “environmentally conscious” but “dynamic and exciting” at the same time.


That dynamic character can be seen not only on the exterior but within the cabin too where we find aggressive sports seats with fixed headrests, flat-bottom steering wheel, free-standing digital cockpit and a definitively driver-oriented layout.


All of the key functions are on the driver’s side of the cocooning centre console or on the steering wheel while the floating 12-inch infotainment touchscreen is oriented towards the driver rather than the passenger or centre.


In terms of standard equipment, all variants flaunt either 18-, 19- or 20-inch alloy wheels, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, nine-speaker Beats audio system, climate control, voice recognition, Cupra Connect connectivity, satellite navigation with live traffic updates, Seaqual Yarn seat upholstery, a head-up display and Travel Assist.


Safety gear meanwhile at this stage extends to predictive adaptive cruise control, side and exit assist, traffic sign recognition, lane assist, automatic high beam, surround view camera, intelligent park assist, emergency assist and pre-crash assist.


When it comes to recharging, Cupra says the larger capacity batteries can be charged using up to a 125kW DC fast charger which will add up to 100km of range in just seven minutes and take the battery from five per cent to 80 per cent in 35 minutes.


Cupra president Wayne Griffiths said the Born was “a game-changer in the electric market and the impulse of the company’s transformation” and more.


“Delivering stimulating design, instantaneous performance and offering an all-electric range of more than 500km, the Cupra Born will contribute to reducing global CO2 emissions and meeting European targets,” he said.


“Through its emotional sportiness, we want the next generation of young challengers to be part of this transformation.


“That’s why Cupra will use unconventional sales models to reach new people and take the Cupra brand beyond the traditional.”

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