It’s not quite the 680-hp kitted-out track hatch red-blooded drivers want, but we suppose the new Cupra el-Born is more the electric hatchback they need. Following up on its el-Born concept from the 2019 Geneva Motor Show, Seat tosses the design over to its Cupra brand, which further refines it into a stunning near-production e-hatchback that has a presence much larger than its compact size. And while it certainly won’t have the all-out fury of the e-Racer concept, it will bring some extra style and zero-emissions efficiency to the automotive world.
Looking at what it’s done with the el-Born, we think Cupra’s design team should be teaching the PhD course on refining a concept car into a production model. The revised el-Born manages to maintain much of the concept’s flair and originality while putting on a more classic, market-ready set of clothes. If anything, the production version actually looks better than the concept, especially wearing this particular copper-accented deep blue.
The el-Born loses the creased-up, body-color face of the concept for a more traditional front-end design, referencing the concept in the triangular-toothed mesh of the lower grille area. The sharp headlamps angle into a central groove that spotlights the Cupra name, and Cupra’s razor-sharp double-C hood emblem fits more naturally with the design than Seat’s chunky “S.” Like the concept, the near-production Cupra el-Born wears a diamond-fade design on its C-pillar.
“We have taken the original concept to the next level, creating a new, sporty and dynamic design and reengineering the technological content,” says Cupra CEO Wayne Griffiths. “Cupra el-Born is the living proof that performance and electrification are a great match.”
The el-Born springboards off of Volkswagen’s MEB architecture, but beyond that Cupra doesn’t give many details about its “technological content.” We do know that a 77-kWh battery pack powers the rear wheels for up to 310 miles (500 km). The el-Born can sprint from 0 to 31 mph (50 km/h) in 2.9 seconds, for what that’s worth, and Cupra also mentions a sporty dynamic chassis control system.
Inside, the el-Born has a modern, sporty interior with bucket seats wrapped in microfiber, a steering wheel with mode selection buttons, hovering digital instruments, a head-up display with augmented reality, and a large infotainment screen.
We’ll learn all the details before the el-Born launches as Cupra’s first electric vehicle in 2021. Ordinarily, we’d be thinking the production car might follow the concept in debuting at the Geneva Motor Show, but the show has already been canceled for 2021, so Cupra will be making other premiere arrangements. The el-Born will be built in Zwickau, Germany.
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