C​upra's first non-SEAT car is a hybrid performance SUV: meet the Formentor

4w ago


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.

-​ As grilles go, this is pretty damn intimidating

T​his 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.

W​aye 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.

A​lthough 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.

- I​t even has a mini rear diffuser (downforce not included)

C​upra 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.

- I​t also has that solid rear light format that everyone seems to be going for these days

O​n 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.

T​he 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.

- I​ haven't decided whether I like the Cupra's steering wheel yet. It's definitely 'out there'

U​sing 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.

I​t 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.