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'
|Battery and motor||0-62mph||Top speed||Driven wheels|
The Cupra Born manages to provide a subtly different, sportier driving experience to the Volkswagen ID.3 it’s so closely related to. However, with the only version currently available in the UK pumping out 201bhp for a 0-62mph time of more than seven seconds, the performance and driver involvement leave us wanting more from a car with such sharp styling.
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.
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.
In This Review
- 1VerdictMore adventurous styling and a better-quality interior help set the Spanish brand's first electric car apart from the Volkswagen ID.3 it's based on
- 2Range, battery & chargingThe Cupra Born will eventually available with a choice of three battery sizes, all of which promise enough range and charging capability to keep most drivers happy
- 3Running costs & insuranceRunnings costs for Cupra’s electric family hatchback are likely to be much lower than for petrol-powered rivals, especially if you’re planning to run one as a company car
- 4Performance, motor & drive - currently readingWhile 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'
- 5Interior, dashboard & comfortThe Born’s interior quality is a definite improvement over its ID.3 sister car's: even the infotainment system is better thought-out than the Volkswagen’s
- 6Boot space, seating & practicalityWhile may not offer the same amount of boot space as some other electric family cars, the Cupra Born is still spacious enough for everyday duties
- 7Reliability & safety ratingStrong crash-test ratings for the Born’s Audi, Skoda and Volkswagen sister cars, coupled with plentiful standard safety kit, put the electric family hatchback in good stead