The new Cupra UrbanRebel concept can produce up to 429bhp, but will be toned down when the production version reaches showrooms in 2025
This dramatic-looking creation, the Cupra UrbanRebel, is the first glimpse of the model that’s likely to lead the VW Group’s push into even more affordable electric cars.
The concept has been revealed ahead of a physical unveil at next week’s Munich Motor Show, and is said to preview the design language that Cupra will use when it brings its smallest all-electric model to market in 2025. The show car is being introduced as a motorsport model – hence the enormous rear wing, complete with racing numbers on the endplates – but remove these elements and the overall shape is a guide to how Cupra’s designers will use the all-electric platform for a small car.
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The profile reveals a very low and short bonnet line, along with an extremely short front overhang – all elements designed to highlight the fact that the vehicle’s proportions have not been compromised by the need to accommodate a combustion engine. It features a wraparound screen and a ‘floating’ roof graphic that references Cupra’s forthcoming Tavascan – and the front-end treatment also appears to be more than a nod towards that model. The brand also claims that the strong shoulders above the rear wheelarches are a new interpretation of a styling cue from the existing Formentor SUV.
SEAT is currently leading development of the VW Group’s project for more affordable electric vehicles. Called MEB Entry, the platform is designed for vehicles of around four metres in length – so around the same as a conventional supermini – and the concept follows this principle by being 4,080mm long, five centimetres shorter than SEAT’s current Arona.
The show car’s roofline is significantly lower than the baby SUV’s, although it’s likely that at least some of this difference will be down to aggressive lowered suspension. There’s no evidence on UrbanRebel of a pair of rear doors – but again, given buyer trends, it seems more likely that the eventual production model will be a five-door vehicle.
Cupra says the UrbanRebel has 335bhp on tap continuously and that it can produce up to 429bhp for short periods, delivering a 0-62mph time of just 3.2 seconds. These numbers – and what is likely to be a dual-motor configuration – will be dialled back considerably for the production car, which is unlikely to have much more than 200bhp in its most basic, rear-wheel-drive form.
SEAT’s CEO Wayne Griffiths told us in the spring that his firm’s baby EV “will be the first car for an entry platform for different brands of the VW Group”. Back then, it was unclear if the model would carry the more premium Cupra badge, or that of its more affordable stablemate. Now Griffiths says the concept “is a radical interpretation of the company’s urban electric car, due to be launched in 2025”.
Confirmation that the vehicle will be a Cupra could be significant for the SEAT brand as a whole; at present, there are no pure-electric SEATs in the pipeline, despite the VW Group’s huge push in this direction, and many significant markets promising bans on combustion-engined vehicles by the end of the decade.
Introducing the car as a Cupra is also likely to mean that the first MEB Entry car will not be sold for the project’s target price of as little as £17,000 before any government incentives. The brand’s positioning – north of VW, but cheaper than Audi – means that it will probably have one of the platform’s larger battery capacities, and not have to match cheaper MEB Entry cars like the baby Skoda EV. As such, a starting figure of more than £20,000 would seem more likely.
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