Cupra’s breakaway success from Seat looks to strengthen with the Tavascan coupé-SUV, its third bespoke offering and second electric model.
Launched alongside the tagline “the brand’s dream comes true”, the SUV is only subtly distinguishable from the rather bold-looking concept that previewed its design in 2019 – something the young Spanish brand is key to emphasise.
Put them side by side and the key carry-overs are shown, if made less radical: a sharp, hammerhead-style, angular front end, with a large grille and a distinctive three-triangle light signature, joined by a raked roofline and a boot-width rear light bar.
These design cues – which Cupra hopes will help the brand build on last year’s record 150,000 sales – will shape future models, such as the upcoming Terramar hybrid SUV (the brand’s final ICE car) and UrbanRebel city EV, Cupra confirmed.
“There are so many purely rational electric cars coming to the market. That’s not what Cupra is about,” said boss Wayne Griffiths, likely hinting at the designed-for-purpose Tesla Model Y, which, with more than 30,000 sales in the first three months of 2023 already, is dominating the premium European electric SUV segment in which the Tavascan will compete.
“In 2019, we had a vision to reinvent electrification: we wanted to show the world that electric cars could be fun and sexy, with a great design, while providing unique sportiness. Back then, maybe it was only a dream. Now with the Tavascan, our dream comes true.”
It’s this bold look that Cupra hopes will entice buyers away from the likes of the Audi Q4 E-tron, Genesis GV60 and Model Y – which, at between £40,000-55,000, it is expected to match on price – in the ever-growing and competitive premium EV segment.
When it arrives here in late 2024 (a few months after left-hand-drive models enter Europe next summer), this would also allow parent company Volkswagen Group to push for a better portion of the segment, in which it already offers the Volkswagen ID 5 – with which the Tavascan is twinned and shares noticeable visual cues, especially side-on.
Based on the Volkswagen Group’s MEB platform, the Tavascan builds on Cupra’s sporty credentials, with a top-rung 335bhp, 501lb ft, dual-motor, four-wheel-drive model offered alongside a less powerful 282bhp single-motor variant. This sits it alongside the entry-level 260bhp Model Y RWD and the top-spec 295bhp Q4 E-tron Performance.
Power is drawn from the same 82kWh (77kWh usable) battery as in the ID 5, which is good for 341 miles of range in its most economical form. By comparison, the ID 5 – with which the Tavascan will share a production line at the group’s Anhui factory in China from later this year – offers 327 miles.
The new SUV offers a major premium interior uplift on the smaller Born and the Forementor – Cupra's other two bespoke vehicles – with gold trim, flecked lighting and a central 'spine' that mirrors the car’s front end.
It also comes with the same 15in infotainment touchscreen as found in the new Volkswagen ID 7 and a Sennheiser speaker system.
The Tavascan uses the same digital driver's display as the smaller Born – itself based on the Volkswagen ID 3.