We drove the Seat Cupra Born…

The Spanish, more ardent version of the Volkswagen ID.3 is the Seat Cupra Born. More, sporting, more zesty, more panache, that’s what the VW group wants to offer here. And indeed, this Fully electric Cupra fills the bill, when it comes to looks, handling and performance. We put for you the 150 kW version through its paces, equipped with the 58 kWh battery. As you already well know, electric motors have formidable torque, and this Cupra surely delivers at the traffic light. It sprints from 0 to 100 km/h in 7,3 seconds, and so the beautiful EV story is again told, performance wise at least. But the Born has also other (dynamic) qualities, just read further…

Hans Knol ten Bensel

Looking at our Cupra test car, we liked its colour palette very much, and the external sporty styling elements. Also bystanders admired it, so yes it enhances clearly the personality of this car. I like the front end, the copper coloured badging, the big roof spoiler above the rear window, the nice streamlined alloys, the texture on the c pillar.

Also the interior breathes this flamboyant sportiness, although what screens, instrumentation and buttons are concerned, it is identical to the ID.3. The design of the dashboard surface does look a bit cooler though, with some added textures and copper coloured surroundings of the centre console for instance. Very nice are also the body hugging front seats.

On both sides of the steering column one finds buttons like a Formula 1 driver would use. The right button puts you immediately in the sports mode. Performance galore, but your range will soon dwindle, even more so in winter. With the left button you can click through the available driving modes, from eco to sports.

Given de immediacy and sheer amount of the available power, we found the “eco” mode more than enough for our needs, and it gave us also a more or less reasonable range. Our test car had the 58 kW battery, and this gives you a theoretical range of 425 kilometres. That supposes of course very fair weather and a driving style which even trucks find on the slow side. Under the same driving style, my Hybrid Lexus clocks then 3,9 liters/100 km… indeed, an EV rewards you with a sedate driving style in town, and very moderate cruising speeds up to max 100/110 km on the open road. Then things are truly fine. The simple truth is, the laws of physics apply everyday everywhere, for all EV’s too, miracles just don’t happen. By the way, the top speed of this Cupra is limited to 160 km/h. At higher speeds, you would spend exponentially more time at the charging stations, so there is no time gain and thus no point in going faster.

You can opt for a more powerful Cupra Born with a 170 HP motor and a bigger 77 kW battery, which would give you also a higher range of 550 km, but we found our test car totally sufficient, once you adhere to the philosophy of environmentally friendly EV driving, smooth and sedate, flow the traffic, drive with anticipation and make minimal use if the brakes, letting the electric motor recuperate the energy. We are totally convinced that this is the only way an EV should be driven. Everything else is rather absurd, given that an EV is meant to emit less and protect our world. The Cupra has also the nice “B” position on the drive selector, and that lets you use the regeneration fully so you can really drive and brake this car using one pedal only.

Smoothness is what you go for…

Refinement is your biggest reward when you choose an EV. The Born delivers here too, as you could expect. Utter silence, mechanical smoothness, it is unsurpassed. Abundant torque is always at your disposal, immediate response at the slightest blip of the throttle. Just wonderful.

The handling of the Born is also a notch better than the ID.3. The Born sits lower on its wheels, has wider tyres, bigger brakes, and steers more direct and precise. Just more fun behind the wheel here.

Otherwhis it runs on the same platform as the ID.3, the celebrated MEB platform of the VW group. By the way, it also comes from the same assembly lines as the ID.3…

The Born is well equipped, and has all you could wish for in terms of driver assistance systems and connectivity. The haptic slider controls of the ID.3 are also found on this Born. They take some getting used to, and the new ID.3 will undergo some changes, of which future Borns will also benefit of course. The annoying thing about their sensitivity is that one sometimes turns on the sound volume as you brush the steering heel spokes when taking a corner! The car is roomy enough for four, with plenty of leg and headroom in the back, due to the rather narrow bodywork it gets a bit cramped for three adults in the back. The door bins are large also in the back, and one gets also two USB connections for the rear passengers.

Boot space is adequate with some 385 liters, when you fold the rear seats down, there is still a ridge where you have to lift your luggage over. On the other hand, it prevents heavy luggage items to slide forward…

Fast charging

The Born is of course well geared for the future, and the 58 kW battery accepts fast charging of up to 120 kW. This means that you can charge from 10 to 80 pct in merely 35 minutes. When our infrastructure is up and running, this is good news. It will set you free to use the full EV power more often, provided the energy prices stay reasonable of course.

Conclusion

This Cupra Born has the extra panache which makes it even more attractive to some than the ID.3, which is build rather with a no nonsense futuristic flair, which we happen also to like by the way. Embedded into the VW group with its massive experience and know how, this Cupra will prove to be reliable and (very) long lived, so you will be able to enjoy it for many years to come, with a bit more zest added…

Hans Knol ten Bensel

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