Cupra's first non-SEAT car is a hybrid performance SUV: meet the Formentor
Cupra – an offshoot performance brand of SEAT – has been around for a year now. And to celebrate, a bespoke concept has been unveiled called the Formentor.
This is the first unique design for the brand after the Cupra Ateca, a car that we actually have as a long termer here at DriveTribe. Presumably named after the Cap de Formentor on Majorca, the performance SUV will be a plug-in hybrid, slotting in nicely with Cupra's decision to build an ETCR racing car for the upcoming electric touring car series.
Waye Griffiths, the CEO of Cupra, wants to go "full throttle" with the brand and considering that sales increased by 40% last year with the Ateca, the Formentor should elevate things further once it makes it into production car form.
- I like to see SUVs being more cab-forward, especially when moving towards electrification. There is a petrol engine under there though so I'll let them away with it
I quite like the idea of Cupra so far; I happened to be a fan of the MG partnership with Rover which saw them take 25, 45 and 75 chassis and tweak them here and there to become the Z-car performance brand back in the early 2000s. I actually ended up having an MG ZR as my first car so seeing a performance badge like Cupra succeed from the get-go is really cool, especially now that it has led to an entirely new car so soon.
Although people may get grumpy that the Formentor is another SUV instead of a bespoke hot hatch, it makes perfect sense for a brand that is still establishing itself. Getting that rather spiky bronze badge out there and into the world will be made a lot easier by producing a car in the fastest growing sector in the industry.
Cupra has made the car lower than most SUVs, hunkering it down a couple of inches to keep it in touch with the performance promise of the brand. And with a sharp rear haunch and aggressive quad exhaust tips, this car will stick out against a standard family barge.
On the inside you'll find carbon-backed sports bucket seats (à la Stelvio Quadrifoglio) as well as a digital cockpit that compliments what should be a pretty faultless infotainment system, if the Ateca is anything to go by.
The aim for the Formentor is to start the electrification of Cupra, so expect to see an all-electric road car in the not too distant future. Using a petrol engine coupled to a hybrid system, the SUV will produce 242bhp, all of which will course through a DSG automatic transmission.
Using its battery pack, the Formentor will also be able to go fully-electric for up to 50km, perfect for fitting in with the increasing grip of low-emission zones in and around our cities.
It is obviously still a concept car for now but we'll see it in the metal at Geneva this year. Some people don't really get the whole idea of Cupra, but I reckon that transformer-esque badge will become more and more relevant in the coming years.