is this electric car a real old school GTI?

Cupra became a brand in its own right, in particular to instill a sporty spirit in cars that were or could have been withdrawn from the Seat catalogue. Does Born illustrate this philosophy within the Volkswagen group?

Caution

For obvious safety reasons, we do not recommend trying to push the Cupra Born or any other vehicle to its limits on open roads.

Life is a precious asset to be preserved, whether for yourself or for others.

As with professional pilots, no pilot is immune from the unexpected or an error in judgment. Driving electric too and above all means inventing another way of driving.

Little history

In 2019, Seat presented its el-Born concept at the Frankfurt Motor Show with the aim of making it the second electric car in its 2020 catalogue, after the Mii cloned in the Volkswagen e-Up!.

Equipped with a ” sports and emotional drawing “according to the terms of the annual report of the group chaired by Herbert Diess, it was to take on elements of ID.3, starting with the famous MEB platform reserved for connected vehicles. Finally, marketing began a year later, under the Cupra logo.

Today, for a common torque of 310 Nm, two engine powers are available: 150 kW (204 hp) for the Born V at our disposal and 170 kW (230 hp) for the Born VZ. Specifically, these resources allow completing the exercise from 0 to 100 km/h in 7.3 and 6.6 s respectively.

They share a battery with a useful energy capacity of 58 kWh (62 kWh in total), for a WLTP combined cycle range of between 388 and 417 km, depending on the presentation and options. The range is expected to expand in the coming months.


A sporty look?

Does the Cupra Born have a sporty look? Max Freyss asked himself that question. He noticed the 20-inch alloy wheels treated in black and rose gold. ” Twenty inches, it’s sporty and we’ve got pretty thin tires “, he thanks. This impression is completed by a rather low ground clearance, a rounded roof and 2 artistic options.

First, on each side, a piece of black plastic with patterns. Extending the glazing brings fluidity. Then the gray side sills add dynamism.

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On the front face, the optical drives look aggressive. ” They give a very bold shape to the vehicle », says our cameraman. The finned rear bumper completes this range well, as does the cheeky light strip. Max Freyss prefers the white Nevada (option at 640 euros) of the model at our disposal, the blue Aurora (955 euros).

On board

Probably a little loaded when you’re used to a Tesla Model 3, the Cupra Born’s panel happily mixes different materials. There is a gray reminder of the plastic part on the back panel. The 2 additional tablets are easily readable.

In today’s cars, steering wheels are subject to styles that are not necessarily unanimous in use. This is the case with this electric compact where the bulges come to frustrate the subtlety of the rim. Shell seats offer a good compromise between support and comfort. They are heated and massaged, and are equally appreciated with each of the 4 driving modes Individual, Performance, Comfort and Range.

It was the last one Max Freyss initially tried. To promote autonomy, it limits performance, makes suspensions softer and moderates the consumption of the heating-air conditioning system.

Explore all performance

Unlike Range, Performance mode unleashes the engine. The Cupra Born’s steering wheel travel and damping will be reinforced for a more precise ride. Our videographer’s preferences go to Range and Comfort options. ” We really enjoyed riding it. Even in Range mode we have a hard time getting out of a roundabout “, he says, observing the propulsion behavior of the electric compact.

The driving position feels relatively high for a car that has a fairly low ground clearance. Which is significant to dominate the road. However, it is by switching to Performance that Max Freyss will push the Cupra Born. He got it ” an acceleration from 0 to 80 km/h quite strong “. However, regrets: Also, we have the impression that it lacks a little juice. We feel that no longer pushes too hard “.

However, the machine delivered on its promises by hitting 0-100 km/h in 7.24 s on our timer. On the way up the Col de Saverne, foot to the ground (respecting speed limits) and in Performance mode, the machine was a little disappointing.


The limits of Cupra Born

First surprising limit for a car that wants to be sporty: a top speed of 160 km/h. ” It could be at least around 180km/h “, evaluates our tester. However, he points out the disadvantage of installing 20-inch wide tires: higher consumption that impairs autonomy and less absorption of roughness on the road surface, which can make the vehicle relatively uncomfortable.

This last point is, however, contradicted by Max Freyss’ essay: Even in Performance mode, which firms up the suspensions, it’s still very comfortable and perhaps too comfortable for a sports car. “.

Read too
Top speed: consumption and acceleration, how does the Tesla Model 3 SR+ react when taken to the extreme?

In his video of about twelve minutes, he points to the Cupra Born’s regeneration device that doesn’t allow the vehicle to be immobilized just by lifting your foot off the accelerator. You have to press the brake pedal for this.

And without ESP

With a very low center of gravity, the electric compact grips the road well, even when wet. ” We can still have fun. It’s still good as driving, it’s dynamic “Judge our cameraman.

With ESP inhibited, the tires can quickly start squealing if you tickle the machine too much. His demeanor remains fairly neutral, however, and we haven’t noticed a tendency to chase from behind.

With this model, we only have the power needed to keep it manageable by drivers. The 230 hp version should bring something more, even if I think it’s still very weak “, compares Max Freyss.

Conclusion

Is the Cupra Born a car with sporting genes? Outwardly, he does present an appearance that suggests this. with a very aggressive look at the front and some specs here and there “, identifies our tester.

Unfortunately, the engine does not follow. Not a Cupra, strictly speaking “, he decides. Which doesn’t stop him from finding this car” very pleasant, very comfortable, all the same dynamics, with recovery and the comfort he seeks.

We invite you to find episodes of “Max Goes Electric” on Youtube, as well as our tests of connected cars. By subscribing and agreeing to receive notifications, you will be quickly notified of our new publications.


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