NEW – This concept announces a “zero emission” city car in 2025 within the new coat of arms of the Seat brand.
The Urban Rebel sports prototype presented at the Munich Motor Show in September 2021 is being extended with its road version prefiguring an electric city car launched in 2025. This new version of the Urban Rebel was unveiled during a strategy presentation seminar Cupra for years to come. Launched under the presidency of Luca de Meo with a view to increasing the selling price of vehicles, this new brand could well become one of the best assets of the Volkswagen group.
Most of Seat’s electric offensive will be based on this new coat of arms symbolized by an inverted and virile copper-colored triangle. By 2025, Cupra will launch the Terramar, the Tavascan and the Urban Rebel. The latter, based on the Volkswagen Group’s MEB Small platform, measures 4.03 m. Its very elaborate and very dynamic lines are an extension of the sporting positioning of the Cupra firm. The hollow sides and the side rib which starts from the wheel arch and goes up to the rear window represent the main originalities of this design. The SUV influence shows through the high beltline and raised ground clearance.
Unlike the first Urban Rebel concept which had two electric motors, the road version is content with a single machine installed under the front hood. It delivers a power of 166 kW (225 hp), which can be considered largely sufficient for a car dedicated mainly to urban and suburban use. At this stage, the battery capacity has not been revealed but the manufacturer announces a range of around 440 km. It is already established that the MEB Small platform will give rise to other city cars within the other general brands of the Volkswagen group.
NEW – Derived from the VW ID.3, the Born crossover takes the Spanish manufacturer on the road to electric.
The electric traction chain? This is one of the reasons that led the manufacturer Seat to create the Cupra brand, based on the observation that it would be difficult for it to sell cars over 40,000 euros and nearly 50,000 euros under. his label. After vitaminized versions of the Ateca and Leon, then the new Formentor crossover which has no equivalent in the Seat range, Cupra reveals its first 100% electric vehicle. Born, that’s its name, has a template similar to the Volkswagen ID.3 with which it shares the MEB platform and most of the technical characteristics. It promises. How to differentiate tomorrow all the models of the Volkswagen group which will share the same elements? Apart from brand image, design will be the main source of differentiation. In this little game, the Born is rather successful with a balanced silhouette based on the architecture that makes it possible to overcome overhangs.
With a length of 4.23 m and a width of 1.80 m, the Born rises to 1.53 m, 30 mm more than the ID.3 and 30 mm less than the Formentor. As on the other models of the Cupra brand, there are some touches of copper, its signature color. The very elusive pavilion takes up the codes of a coupe.
Inside, the dashboard is close to that of the Volkswagen ID.3 and it has been put in Cupra sauce. The choice of materials and colors creates a more sporty atmosphere. We thus find the same digital instrument cluster facing the driver but the central infotainment screen benefits from a slightly different ergonomics than that of the VW. Cupra takes care to specify that the bucket seats are covered with a fabric made from recycled marine plastics. This is also the case for suede which is made from recycled materials.
The technology refers to VW. The water-cooled lithium-ion battery is installed in the base. Three models will be offered, corresponding to respective ranges of 315, 420 and 540 km: 45, 58 and 77 kWh. The first powers a 110 kW (150 hp) engine. The 58 kWh accumulators can be combined with 150 or 204 hp engines. In both cases, the electric motor is installed at the rear, making the Born a rear-wheel drive. Anxious to defend a sporting image, Cupra will crown the range with a VZ1 version. The power is increased to 230 horsepower, which allows the Born to reach 100 km / h in 6.6 seconds (with the 77 kWh battery). This model can also be ordered with the 58 kWh battery.
At the risk of repeating itself, the main challenge behind the wheel of these electric vehicles will be to be able to recharge serenely. The Spanish manufacturer ensures that it can recover 100 km every 7 minutes by charging at an intensity of 125 kW on an ultra-fast terminal of the Ionity network. When the battery charge level has dropped to 5%, it will be possible to recover 80% in 35 minutes. The Cupra Born will be marketed in the course of 2021.
TEST – Spearhead of the new Spanish brand, this family model has no equivalent on the market.
It is not his first attempt. Italian Luca de Meo has become a master in brand creation. At Fiat, he relaunched Abarth. At Seat, he transformed the sporting signature Cupra – short for Cup and Racing – into a brand in its own right. And now at Renault, he dreams of Alpine becoming the French Ferrari.
Each time, the strategy stems from the same ambition: to increase the average selling price of the range. With Cupra, symbolized by an inverted and virilized copper-colored triangle, de Meo used great means. Not content with rebadging bewitched Seat models, he has paid for the luxury of developing a vehicle that will not have its equivalent within the parent company. Taking its name from a cape located at the northeastern tip of the island of Mallorca, Formentor does not leave you indifferent. With a few features borrowed from the latest Seat, this vehicle triturates with a certain brilliance the theme of the SUV to deliver a crossover that seems to have flirted with a coupe.
Camped on 19-inch wheels and lowered by 100 mm compared to the Ateca, the Formentor is more like the enhanced sport sedan – barely 60 mm higher than the Leon – than the leisure vehicle that the ecologists want to remove from the landscape. And to give shape to the Cupra recipe, this new vehicle first arrives with the 4-cylinder 2-liter TFSI 310 horsepower that it shares with the Audi S3. Six engines will eventually be added to cover a multitude of needs: gasoline, diesel and plug-in hybrid, from 150 to 245 horsepower.
When the doors open, the Formentor reminds us of its origins. Economy of scale requires, despite air vents and upholstery stitching highlighted in copper, the Cupra logo in the center of the steering wheel, a multimedia system based on a maxi-format touch screen (12 inches) and full bucket seats ( + € 1,500 in petroleum blue leather), the dashboard refers to the latest Leon. With its good and bad sides. Navigating the screen menus is so risky that we regret the removal of all the buttons, especially those for the air conditioning. The presence of plastic, especially in the lower parts, testifies to the desire to tighten prices. Honor is safe. As with Ferrari, the starter button is on the steering wheel and the customizable digital instrumentation regales the driver by showing a huge tachometer in the center of the screen, the torque and power used in real time and the Gs undergone at acceleration.
From the Leon and the VW Golf 8 with which it shares the MQB Evo platform, the Formentor inherits the latest technologies in terms of comfort and safety. Well seen: the main ones are standard. This is the case of the hands-free opening, including the rear hatch which lifts by passing the foot under the bumper, the reversing camera, smartphone charging by induction, adaptive cruise control, reading signs, automatic braking, lane keeping and blind spot monitoring. The Formentor does not forget that it remains a family vehicle. The rear space is generous both in length to the knees and to the headroom and the trunk offers a satisfactory capacity of 420 liters.
From the first kilometers, the Formentor VZ 310 delivers sensations quite similar to an Audi S3, apart from a raised driving position. Combined with a 7-speed DSG dual-clutch automatic transmission, the 2-liter turbo is distinguished by its smoothness and flexibility. The acceleration is similar to that of a GT – 100 km / h is reached in 4.9 seconds – and the pick-ups, assisted by a comfortable torque of 400 Nm, are always vigorous. After dropping the kids off at school, enjoying the engine temperament on a twisty road is hardly a punishment. This crossover turns flat and connects the curves with great confidence. The all-wheel drive contributes to this, allowing perfect traction, especially in the rain. Steering wheel-operated Cupra mode, the steering, suspension, gearbox and engine adopt sporty settings. The sensitive vertebrae will appreciate the controlled damping which varies, it is undoubtedly exaggerated, the firmness on 15 levels! To take full advantage of the temperament of this crossover, we recommend upgrading the equipment with Brembo brakes (+ € 2,250) including large diameter front discs (370 mm) and 4-piston calipers.
Launching a new brand is always a risk. In the case of Cupra, it is calculated. The new Spanish brand can draw on the technology and know-how of the VW group. With the Formentor, Cupra is not far from having achieved a masterstroke. It enters a booming SUV market with successful dynamic styling, family versatility and a price / performance ratio unmatched on the market. There remains a black point: this crossover is penalized by a penalty of 7,851 euros.
What is left at the Golf? The question has arisen since the arrival of the fourth generation of the Leon which borrows its MQB Evo platform, its engines and most of its technologies. Admittedly, the Seat badge does not have the aura of that of its mentor Volkswagen, but the latest Spanish sedan does not have to be ashamed of the comparison. For some, it will even be a wise choice because its price starts at 30,490 euros in the petrol 1.5 eTSI version tested, against 33,225 euros for the Golf 8 (Life 1st finish).
Faced with a German which turns a little in circles, the Leon opposes the freshness of a silhouette which has gained in tension and which is distinguished by balanced volumes, ribbed and hollowed sides playing with the light, and an inverted stern embellished with ‘a light strip that connects the two almond shaped lights. By changing generation, the Spanish manufacturer’s best-selling model is positioned at the top of the compact sedan segment, lengthening by 86 mm (4 368 mm) including 50 mm at the wheelbase, while lowering of 3 mm (1,456 mm). The best is yet to come. The Leon takes care of the welcome. While a circle imprints the word “Ola” on the floor when the door opens, a bright green arc sweeps across the front of the interior, at the base of the windshield. In case of danger, it turns red. First impression: despite a monotonous Germanic-inspired atmosphere, the interior makes a strong impression with the new sleek dashboard. It incorporates 10.25-inch customizable digital instrumentation and a 10-inch driver-oriented multimedia touchscreen (from the XCellence finish).
Despite a few shortcut keys at the bottom of the screen, navigating the system is not very logical. Likewise, the screen does not react to the touch of a finger on the first try and the font of the pages will not appeal to everyone. While voice control takes the guesswork out of fumbling around, the Leon offers everything a driver expects from a modern car: keyless entry and start, Apple Car Play and Android Auto compatibility, induction charger and a host of features. driving aids. Some are standard, such as lane assist, drowsiness warning and emergency braking coupled with pedestrian and cyclist detection. With the Drive Assist XL pack (+ € 890) reserved for models equipped with the DSG automatic gearbox, you have access to the systems providing level 2 autonomous driving. This is how the Leon manages the distance with the vehicle autonomously. precedes and centering on the track. In addition, ACC predictive cruise control uses map data from the GPS and read signs to adapt the car’s speed to the road layout.
The new template benefits the livability, generous rear seats for two people, the central place being too narrow and not designed. Not as well treated as in the front, rear passengers will have to be satisfied with firm seats. Despite a decent trunk volume (380 liters), families with three children will have to turn to an SUV, it has become common to all manufacturers. Note that the tailgate opening handle is not very practical.
Reflecting our times, the most powerful Leon is the plug-in hybrid version (204 hp). Beyond that, you will have to consult the Cupra catalog, a label that has become a brand in its own right. The 150 hp 1.5 eTSI that we tested benefits from a light hybridization. This 4-cylinder cylinder deactivation with stabilized speed is assisted by a 48 V system which is based on an alternator-starter delivering up to 9 kW of boost thanks to a lithium-ion battery which recharges very quickly under braking. The system is completely transparent except that the engine stops earlier, when a fire approaches. What to save a few drops of gasoline. The on-board computer indicated a consumption of 6.9 l / 100 km over a use of more than 1,200 km, more than half of which at high speed. At a senator’s train, it is quite possible to come close to the 6 liters per 100 announced by Seat. Very linear, this engine lacks character but not vigor.
We can blame the lack of engine braking as soon as we take our foot off the accelerator, the 4-cylinder going into freewheel mode. The DSG dual-clutch gearbox contributes to the approval, distributing the 7 gears smoothly, if not reactive. Sport mode reduces its laziness but you have to go to the multimedia system menu to adjust the DCC adaptive controlled suspension (+ € 665). It has fifteen damping positions. On bumpy roads, it will be softened slightly to preserve the lower back without compromising driving precision. The Leon thus delivers quality services, only dulled by aerodynamic noise on the highway which forces the sound of the radio to be increased.
What is the Leon missing? In absolute nothing. The Spanish sedan has all the qualities to distinguish itself in the ultra-competitive compact segment. One of its only handicaps remains its Seat logo, the brand image of which still suffers from difficulty in positioning it on the automotive scene. To encourage them to take the plunge, the manufacturer offers a non-binding offer. If you are not convinced, just return the car.
NEWS – Cupra, the sports model brand of the Spanish Seat, has won the tender to equip the intervention brigades of the National Gendarmerie.
It’s time for the Renault Megane RS to retire. In service since the end of 2011, the French sedans will soon give way, in part, to the Leon Cupra. The Spanish manufacturer won the call for tenders launched by the National Gendarmerie in 2019 for a period of four years. By the end of the year, Cupra, Seat’s performance and sports model brand, will deliver, by the end of 2020, 17 Leon Cupra to the Rapid Intervention Brigades of the National Gendarmerie. When he crosses these vehicles on our highways, Luca de Meo, the former boss of Seat who has become the boss of Renault, will no doubt smile. Without slipping into chauvinism at all costs, will the National Gendarmerie be able to unveil the criteria that decided it to choose a Spanish model rather than a French car?
Renault nevertheless continues to offer the Mégane RS in the catalog. With a power of 300 hp, it displays performance similar to the Cupra. The Spanish model is powered by a 290 hp 4-cylinder 2 turbo, reaching 100 km / h in 6 seconds and the maximum speed of 250 km / h. After investigation, it seems that the level of CO emissions2 is one of the main reasons for excluding the Mégane. Indeed, according to the WLTP standard, the French sedan rejects 184 g / km of CO2 while the Spanish sedan is satisfied with 146 g / km. The difference in penalties to be paid is enormous: 230 euros for the Leon against 5,404 euros for the Mégane. When we know that the Spanish brand won the call for tenders for 4 years and that gradually the entire fleet of the BRI will be changed, we can understand the arbitrations made.
To meet the BRI’s missions, the Leon Cupra were prepared by the bodybuilder Gruau. In addition to the “Gendarmerie” silkscreen printing, the Spanish sedans have received internal and external communication equipment, sound and light signals, reinforcement of the windows and the rear screen. The rear shelf is also equipped with a light panel allowing the dissemination of messages. The gendarmes thus have a panoply of 40 programmable messages in 6 languages (French, English, German, Italian, Spanish and Polish) and allowing the arrest of offenders.
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