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Cupra Born VZ hot hatch brings major performance upgrades

The hot Cupra Born gets more power, range and touchscreen real estate

The Cupra Born VZ has been revealed as a high performance version of Cupra’s sportier alternative to the Volkswagen ID.3.

There has been much debate as to whether the Cupra Born is a hot hatch but there is no denying the status of the new VZ model. Perhaps the headline feature is the Cupra Born VZ’s uprated 322bhp rear-mounted electric motor, which means the flagship Born can now get from 0-62 mph in 5.7 seconds and reach speeds of 120mph.

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Consequently, the Cupra Born VZ can’t quite match the MG4 XPower with its 429bhp output and 3.8-second 0-62mph time, but it’s still a second quicker to hit the mark than the standard Cupra Born e-Boost model, which produces roughly 100bhp less than the VZ.

Accompanying this boost in power are a variety of performance upgrades. The Cupra Born VZ gets what the brand calls a ‘DCC Sport’ suspension setup; this comprises a new set of rear dampers and springs, as well as stiffened anti-roll bars. Cupra has also retuned the VZ’s steering rack and pedals for sharper responses and says that these upgrades should not only make the car more exciting to drive, but more comfortable when cruising, too.

Finally, the last technical upgrade comes in the form of a new 79kWh battery. This provides an electric range of 354 miles – up from 342 on the e-Boost model – and can be recharged at speeds of up to 170kW, allowing for a 10-80% top-up ‘within 30 minutes’. 

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Interestingly, thanks to what Cupra calls ‘improvements to the chassis setup’, the VZ can actually seat five, unlike in the e-Boost model which only has four seatbelts. This is most likely due to crucial components needing to be stored underneath the fifth seat, which have since been relocated.

In stark contrast to the vast number of improvements under the metal, Cupra has decided to keep the exterior changes for the VZ relatively subtle. Aside from the VZ’s two new sets of 20-inch alloy wheels – one of which features stickier performance tyres for enhanced grip – there are only two ways to identify the hot Cupra Born visually: exclusive to this high performance model are the new Dark Forest Green and Midnight Black paint shades, as well as ‘CUPRA’ and ‘VZ’ badging at the rear, finished in dark chrome.

Moving inside, the Cupra Born VZ gets a pretty serious-looking pair of ‘CUP Bucket’ sports seats; these are upholstered in leatherette created from upcycled materials, and Dinamica suede, and cannot be specified on the rest of the Cupra Born line-up. Born VZ models also benefit from a set of steering wheel paddles, allowing the driver to quickly shift between three levels of regenerative braking.

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In terms of in-car technology, the Cupra Born VZ now also gets a larger 12.9-inch central touchscreen, featuring an illuminated set of touch-sensitive climate control sliders. The hot Born also gets LED ambient lighting which reacts to different systems, such as the voice assistant or many of the driver assistance functions. Speaking of which, the Cupra Born now benefits from improved lane-keep assist, as well as a top-down 360-degree camera. Drivers can now park their car from the outside using their phone, too – just like on the Kia EV6.

The Cupra Born VZ is set to go on sale in the latter half of this year, probably starting from just under £50,000. At this stage it’s unknown whether many of these upgrades – such as the larger battery and touchscreen – will eventually trickle down to lesser models in the Born line-up, however, a more extensive facelift is due next year, so we could see these upgrades resurface then.

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Hello there, I’m Tom Jervis and I have the pleasure of being the Content Editor here at DrivingElectric. Before joining the team in 2023, I spent my time reviewing cars and offering car buying tips and advice on DrivingElectric’s sister site, Carbuyer. I also continue to occasionally contribute to the AutoExpress magazine – another of DrivingElectric’s partner brands. In a past life, I worked for the BBC as a journalist and broadcast assistant for regional services in the east of England – constantly trying to find stories that related to cars!

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