The 2022 Cupra Born electric hatch has been unveiled, though lagging emissions rules mean it's unlikely an Australian launch will occur any time soon.
It features sportier styling and more potent powertrains to differ from the Volkswagen ID.3, with which it shares its MEB platform and much of its sheetmetal.
Cupra Born buyers will have a choice of three battery and electric motor configurations, developing up to 170kW, and offering up 540km of claimed WLTP-certified driving range.
Entry-level models mate a 110kW/310Nm electric motor on the rear axle with a 45kWh lithium-ion battery for an 8.9-second 0-100km/h sprint time, and a 340km estimated range on Europe’s WLTP cycle.
Mid-spec models score a more potent 150kW/310Nm electric motor and larger 58kWh battery, good for a 7.0-second 0-100km/h run and a 420km claimed WLTP range.
Buyers can opt for a Cupra-exclusive E-Boost performance pack, which ups the electric motor’s outputs to 170kW/310Nm.
Pairing the updated e-motor with a 58kWh battery cuts the 0-100km/h time to 6.6 seconds, though range remains at 420km. Specifying the long-range 77kWh battery increases the maximum WLTP-rated driving distance to 540km, but extends the 0-100km/h run to seven seconds flat, due to its increased weight.
Cupra executives have suggested higher-performance versions are in the pipeline, with an all-wheel drive model also on the cards – potentially with the 245kW drivetrain from the recent Volkswagen ID.X concept.
125kW DC fast charging allows for a five to 80 per cent charge in 35 minutes with the largest battery size, and can add up to 100km of range in seven minutes.
Under the skin, optional adaptive dampers, speed-sensitive steering and an ESC Sport mode claim to deliver better driving dynamics than the Born’s MEB peers. Wheel sizes ranging from 18 to 20 inches in diameter are available, wrapped in 215mm or 235mm wide tyres.
On the styling front, the Born differentiates itself from the ID.3 with which it shares much of its body with more aggressive front and rear styling, including sharper headlights and tail-lights, and sportier lower front bumper and rear diffuser treatments.
Cupra-specific alloy wheel designs fill the arches, while a new C-pillar decal creates the appearance of a floating roof.
Inside, a 12-inch infotainment screen sits in the centre of the dashboard – up from the ID.3’s 10 inches – and drivers grip a new flat-bottomed steering wheel with circular drive mode buttons.
Front occupants score available figure-hugging sports seats trimmed in Dinamica suede, while copper accents feature throughout the cabin, including on the restyled dashboard and centre console.
Available technology features include an augmented-reality head-up display, wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, a nine-speaker Beats sound system, support for a new ‘My Cupra’ app, and wireless phone charging.
A suite of active safety systems is available, including adaptive cruise control and lane-following assist (which combine for semi-autonomous driving on freeways, known as Travel Assist), blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, a 360-degree camera, automatic parking and traffic-sign recognition.
The 2022 Cupra Born will go on sale in the UK at the start of 2022.
On the prospects of an Australian launch, a Volkswagen Group Australia spokesperson told CarAdvice: "Born is highly desirable, but no guarantees can be made about EVs while markets with CO2 targets to hit are prioritised."
The wider Cupra range – including Cupra Leon, Ateca and Formentor models – will launch in Australia in early 2022.