Blue Poppy

Cupra previews first EV ahead of Frankfurt reveal

Seat sub-brand's electric pioneer will sport design influenced by both SUVs and sports coupes

Cupra will reveal its first fully electric vehicle, which it says will combine elements of a sports coupé and an SUV, at this year’s Frankfurt motor show.

The Seat sub-brand, which is focused on premium performance cars, showed its first stand-alone car, the Formentor coupé-crossover, earlier this year. It will follow that up with the electric concept car, which will preview its first production EV.

Cupra has released a single teaser image of the concept, which it says will unite “the silhouette of a four-door crossover with the presence of an SUV and the sleekness of a sports coupé”. It follows a teaser video, which gave glimpses of the headlight design.

Although Cupra has not confirmed details of the new concept, it will be based on the Volkswagen Group’s MEB electric platform, which will be used for parent firm Seat’s el-Born EV. It is likely to be a more extreme version of that car.

The first model from Seat's standalone performance brand is an unconventional launchpad with some pace and precision, but lacks the hallmarks of a great driver’s car

That would match how the Formentor, which will be offered with a plug-in hybrid powertrain, is a heavily reworked coupé version of the Ateca SUV.

When Seat turned Cupra into a stand-alone brand last year, bosses said it would act as a “technological flagship”, including in electrified powertrains. Cupra describes the new concept as “a vision of the future” of the brand. 

The EV concept has been termed a “high-performance vehicle”, suggesting it could get one of the most powerful motor options available for the new MEB platform – likely to feature a motor on each axle offering all-wheel drive.

Although the teaser image only shows the rear of the car, Cupra says the front design balances “aesthetics and performance”, featuring a low-set illuminated Cupra logo. The rear will feature a functional aerodynamic diffuser.

Cupra takes its name from Seat’s long-running line of performance models, although the brand has a wider focus on attracting higher-end customers who would not usually consider a Seat. That is why the firm has so far focused on SUVs and crossovers, starting with the reworked Cupra Ateca and the Formentor.

Seat is aiming for Cupra to offer seven models by 2020, which will mix stand-alone machines with high-performance versions of Seat models, including the current Cupra Leon.

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