Cupra's barnstorming Born EV arrives in NZ

Cupra’s first all-electric model, the Born, has arrived in New Zealand. Along with Australia, Kiwis are among the first outside of Europe to see the performance-themed EV in the metal.

Jun 1, 2023

Named after a suburb in the company’s home city of Barcelona, the Born is being pitched as a more performance-orientated EV designed, says its maker, to enhance the “love for cars and driving” in the age of electrification.

The new model will debut in New Zealand with drive-away pricing of $77,900. Available in a single specification (with one cost-extra paint option among six choices), the local iteration arrives fully loaded.

Based on the same scalable MEB platform that underpins other Volkswagen Group EVs such as the ID. range and the Skoda Enyaq, the Born is certainly the most rakishly designed version yet seen, with plenty of bold styling highlights such as an aggressively tapered nose design, dramatic roof spoiler, premium-looking textured c-pillar surfaces and plenty of the copper accenting that has become a hallmark of Cupra models.

Kiwi cars receive 19” Copper Typhon alloys and full LED headlights paired with stylised LED daytime running lights. At the rear a so-called ‘coast-to-coast’ LED brake light runs the full width of the car, while a large diffuser underlines the more performance-orientated stance of this particular EV.

‘Premium’ is the name of the game inside the cabin, where more textured surfacing abounds, along with a variety of different materials across the touchpoints. The big 12” colour touchscreen at centre stage offers up all the usual infotainment functionality, while the Born also features a wireless phone charger, keyless start and go, and different drive modes to suit the individual driver and journey.

Stitched sports seats up front are dressed in SEQUAL upholstery (which contains upcycled marine plastics), while the sports steering wheel features integrated controls, including a Cupra button which activates the car’s e-Boost functionality to maximise acceleration and performance.

The standard 77kWh Born delivers 150kW, but with e-Boost, the peak power increases to 170kW. This extra power helps provide one of the best performance experiences in the EV hatchback segment, underlined by a 0-100 km/h acceleration time of 6.6 seconds. The e-Boost function only works for a maximum of 30 seconds at a time though to protect the Lithium-ion battery.

The rear-wheel-drive single motor Born (there is no dual motor option available in any market) has a maximum WLTP-tested range of 511km from a full charge, and a maximum charging capacity of 11kW (AC) and 170kW (DC). The new model arrives on driveways with a Mode 2 charging cable in the boot as standard.

As with other Volkswagen Group EVs, the Born features a comprehensive warranty program. Cupra Care provides for a five year/100,000km mechanical warranty, along with an eight year/160,000 high voltage battery warranty. The Born also benefits from five years of Cupra Assist roadside assistance coverage.

Cupra’s electric aspirations don’t end with the Born, however. At the local media launch several other future models were also revealed, all of which are destined for the local market over the next three-to-four years.

Following Born customer unit deliveries commencing in September, the 250kW Cupra Tavascan will be arriving in early 2025, followed by the Cupra Raval which is due the following year. Bisecting these two pure EV models will be the Cupra Terramar, which will be the last Cupra model to also be available with an internal combustion engine. The Terramar is expected to make landfall in New Zealand sometime during 2025.

The activity in the EV space for the design-led Spanish brand comes off the back of a successful year so far.

The first quarter of 2023 was an all-time best for Cupra’s parent brand SEAT, with a 48% increase in turnover. Since its launch in 2018, Cupra itself has now sold 300,000 vehicles. In New Zealand, SEAT General Manager James Yates confirms the Cupra brand accounts for 70% of the combined nameplates’ volume here.

Much like the Born’s quick arrival in this part of the world, New Zealand is destined to be one of the first global markets to adopt Cupra as the sole brand for its dealer network, once the SEAT nameplate is retired in the coming years.

The Barcelona-based manufacturer announced recently that, with an eye firmly on an electrified future, the Cupra badge – once a performance offshoot only – will be the sole name in town as the company enters its next era. There will be no new SEAT models released to market after 2028.

Underlining its more performance-orientated aesthetic, Cupra is also doubling down on racing activities. Involvement in the burgeoning Extreme E electrified offroad racing series remains critical, and after sitting out for a season, Cupra has returned to Formula E for the current championship round with its Gen 3 open-wheeler.

Despite being a digital render only at this stage, the company also says the Cupra Dark Rebel Concept indicates the potential of a future performance car, possibly designed to be driven on both road and track.