In-depth reviews

Cupra Born performance, motor & drive

While the Born is sharper to drive than its Volkswagen ID.3 sister, it doesn't offer significantly more straight-line performance, so it's a stretch to declare it a proper 'hot hatch'

Overall rating

4.0 out of 5

Performance, motor & drive rating

3.0 out of 5

Battery and motor0-62mphTop speedDriven wheels
45kWh/148bhp8.9s99mphRear
58kWh/201bhp7.3s99mphRear
58/kWh228bhp6.6s99mphRear
77/kWh228bhp7.0s99mphRear

The Cupra Born manages to provide a subtly different, sportier driving experience to the Volkswagen ID.3 it’s so closely related to. Unfortunately, the 201bhp version we've driven takes more than seven seconds to accelerate from 0-62mph, so the performance and driver involvement leave us wanting more from a car with such sharp styling. We're eager to try out the the more potent 'e-Boost' versions that are arriving in the UK this year to see if either has the performance on tap we're looking for from the Cupra.

Cupra Born 0-62mph, top speed and acceleration

The entry-level Born produces 148bhp and 310Nm of torque and can accelerate from 0-62mph in 8.9 seconds. The single electric motor in this version is powered by a 45kWh battery. The next variant features a larger 58kWh battery, plus an electric motor with a total output of 201bhp and 310Nm of torque. Borns with this powertrain will cover 0-62mph in 7.3 seconds.

The fastest-accelerating model in the Born range uses a 228bhp motor combined with a 58kWh battery. This variant is capable of 0-62mph in 6.6 seconds – or 31mph from a standstill in 2.6 seconds. The final Born variant uses that same 228bhp electric motor, but paired with the larger 77kWh battery we’ve already seen in the long-range variants of Volkswagen's ID.3 and VW ID.4.

As a result of the heavier battery, this model will do 0-62mph in a slightly slower seven seconds. The Born is rear-drive only for the time being, however, a Cupra equivalent to the forthcoming Volkswagen ID.3 GTX is likely, given the brand's sporty nature.

On the road, the car accelerates well from 0-30mph, which is where our 201bhp test car felt strongest, meaning there’s plenty of punch getting out of slow corners. However, after that the power tails off, so the Born never feels truly fast.

Handling

On a twisty road, the Born handles well and is genuinely enjoyable to drive. The car feels agile thanks to its low centre of gravity and strong grip, and you quickly learn to trust it – using the instant power to usher you out of bends with remarkable ability. But this impressive control and agility doesn't come totally at the expense of comfort; the chassis delivers an acceptable level of body control and balances this with enough ride comfort in most situations – even on our test car's relatively chunky 20-inch alloys.

The Born is also available with the speed-sensitive progressive power steering and active dampers that can be added to the ID.3 as part of option packs. The steering is sharp and responsive, and in the most aggressive 'Cupra' setting it's satisfyingly weighty – although there's no corresponding increase in feel or feedback, meaning the Born isn’t as involving as we might like.

One final thing to mention is the Cupra’s brakes. The conventional brakes offer good, progressive feel, but even in its most aggressive setting, the regenerative system isn’t strong enough to allow for one-pedal driving. It’s sufficient for slowing the car in faster-flowing traffic or for wide, open bends, but is some way off the strength of the BMW i3's system.

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