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How Cupra made an electric hot hatch alternative to the Volkswagen ID.3

Cupras drive very differently from VWs; Cupra’s head of R&D explains how.



Enlarge / The Cupra Born is a sporty alternative to the Volkswagen ID.3. (credit: Cupra)

Recently, we reviewed Audi’s RS e-tron GT, a handsome four-door electric vehicle that, while closely related to the Porsche Taycan, still manages to feel quite distinctive to drive. As I detailed in that article, the practice of sharing common platforms or architectures has been a fact of life in the automotive industry for decades.

That’s particularly true at Volkswagen Group, which uses a handful of platforms as the starting point for its collection of 10 brands. One of the newest of these platforms is known as MEB (Modularer E-Antriebs-Baukasten or Modular Electrification Toolkit), and so far Ars has sampled MEB-based EVs in the form of the Volkswagen ID.4 crossover and then, more recently, the ID. Buzz minivan and the Audi Q4 e-tron crossover.

Not every MEB-based EV is destined for America, however. Volkswagen isn’t bringing the Golf-sized ID.3 hatchback over to this side of the Atlantic, although based on European colleagues’ takes on that car I’m not so sure we’re missing out heavily. It is more unfortunate that US roads may also never see the Cupra Born, an electric hot hatch from a brand that got spun out of Seat in 2018 as a more performance-focused OEM. Friend of Ars Jonny Smith recently drove the Born and came away impressed, particularly since he was one of those reviewers underwhelmed by the ID.3.

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