BBC TopGear
BBC TopGear

Cupra’s El-Born hot hatch will have a push-to-pass boost button

Spanish cousin to the VW ‘ID.3 R’ will have an overtaking trick up its, um, sleeve

Published: 29 Jan 2021

These days it’s not really enough to merely be a fast car. You have to have a gimmick, a party trick, a gadget. Whether it’s Tesla’s Ludicrous Mode, the Sport Chrono overboost function in a turbo’d Porsche or AMG’s wake-the-dead Race Start mode, carmakers have got good at using soulless microchips to give fast cars more character.

Sounds like Cupra’s going to have a crack at a motorsport style overtaking function, now.

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Yes, in order to really stick it to that dawdling middle-lane hogger you’re about to blast past, Cupra’s new El-Born EV, due for release later in 2021, will apparently feature a push-to-pass boost button, according to Cupra boss Wayne Griffiths.

“I would say we call it ‘impulse’; you can have power on demand. You have pure acceleration and then when you need it, a push-to-pass button to go faster,” he explains.

The El-Born is basically Cupra’s version of the VW ID.3. Meanwhile, it’s an open secret that Volkswagen is developing an R-badged hot hatch version of the ID.3, likely to feature four-wheel drive and in excess of 300bhp.

So, how will the Spaniard stand apart, besides its styling?

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“Things like ‘boost on demand’, the sporty suspension, the steering, the brakes, the whole handling experience. And we're looking to do even higher powered versions of the Cupra El-Born,” says Griffiths.

“I've driven both [the ID.3 and the El-Born] and I think the Cupra is ‘a Cupra’. It is important that the Cupra stays authentic, in terms of handling. Pure electric cars that are designed in a different way, and when you get into cornering, handling, braking, steering, I think there's a big amount of differentiation you can create there.”

Meanwhile, Wayne also tells us the rumours of a souped-up Cupra Formentor powered by the 2.5-litre 5cyl turbo wallop of an Audi RS3 engine are true. It could be something of a last hurrah for combustion-powered Cupras, and it’ll be here in 2021, with around 400bhp.

Just think of the exhaust warble...

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