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Cupra Born VZ review

2024 onwards (change model)
Parkers overall rating: 4 out of 54.0
” More attitude and performance for responsive EV “

Pros & cons

  • Responsive and direct steering
  • Good road feel
  • Brakes feel precise
  • More power would be nice
  • Too little, too late

Written by Curtis Moldrich Published: 20 May 2024 Updated: 21 May 2024


Is this an updated Cupra Born electric car? Not really, but it’s a more powerful and focused version of what was already considered to be the one of the sweetest-driving EVs on the market. Now offered in VZ form (which stands for Veloz or Speed), this one promises to be full on hot-hatch.

This, then, is the most potent Cupra Born yet, with a tuned suspension set-up, steering and brakes – and they’ve thrown in an upgraded motor to boot. There are other changes. It’s available in two new colours and rides on cool-looking 20-inch wheels that feature a neat aero insert.

It should go better too, with 40% more power, 70% more torque (pulling power) and a smidge more battery life than the previous range topper, the eBoost. Cupra engineers have given the VZ an uprated suspension set-up with beefier anti-roll bars, along with improved brakes and steering systems to cope with the increase in power. 

However, with the arrival of the ballistic MG4 XPower, the game has become a lot tougher for Cupra, and the question posed now – is the VZ too little too late? We’re about to find out. 

Cupra Born VZ review (2024)
Few changes over the standard Born to become the VZ, but still enough to make it feel special inside.

What’s it like inside?

Largely the same as before, with a few neat upgrades. The Cupra VZ benefits from what its maker calls the Smart Light. It’s a thin strip where the windscreen meets the interior, and zips to the left or right depending on where you’re supposed to turn next, and it also moves to the left or right depending on which lane you’re supposed to be in. Sounds like a gimmick, but it proves useful in busy streets.

The VZ gets all the semi-autonomous tech available on the rest of the Born range and a slightly larger 12.9-inch infotainment screen. On the motorway we use it try out a new Sennheiser-developed 10-speaker system, which sounds better than the lacklustre one that comes with the standard car. 

Other than that, it shares its interior with the excellent Born hatchback range, although you get a lower-mounted driver’s seat.

Cupra Born VZ review (2024)
How does 0-62mph in 5.6 seconds grab you? Not so much in today’s EV world.

What power options are there?

Power is up to 326hp, and from a keen driver’s perspective, it’s good news as it’s still going through the rear-wheels for the best steering response. The VZ is also usefully quick, slicing one second off the time of the previous best Cupra, dropping it to 5.6 seconds. The limited top speed has been tweaked up to 124mph.

The new motor is powered by a 79kWh battery, with 2kWh more than the previous car. The VZ will do a claimed 372 miles on a single charge (call it around 300 in the real world), but when you do need to top up, it’ll charge from 10-80% capacity from a 185kW fast-charger in just 30 minutes. 

Back to the fun stuff, though, and the uprated suspension works with overhauled steering and braking package that aim to deliver grip, feedback and control well beyond the existing Born.

What’s it like to drive? 

Imagine a sharper, more focused, faster Born, and you’re there. Responsiveness is the biggest beneficiary of the development work to create the VZ. Feedback across the board is more granular, especially in steering, where the wheel responds more precise especially just off centre.

Approach the first corner, turn in and the Born cuts a perfect path to the inside of the bend, with far more information arriving at my palms. On the exit, I try squeezing out a touch more power than I think the VZ can handle, and there’s already a squeal of tyres as the rear axle pivots sideways. It’s effortless fun. 

Cupra Born VZ review (2024)
Sharp steering and reponsive brakes make this quite fun for an EV.

Part of the confidence comes from the more precise steering and the rest from the brakes that feel far more accurate and connected than before. It’s hard to say if there’s a noticeable power difference between these and the standard ones, but at higher levels of braking they’re far more predictable

When combined with a stiffer ride than before, the VZ feels easier to hustle round corners and quite different from the appliance-like ID.3 it shares a platform with. 

Although you can change brake regeneration a little (three modes are available via paddles) it’s too powerful by default – you lift the accelerator and it slows down strongly. Sometimes feathering the throttle provides far more retardation than you’d want – and it can border on ‘clunky’ at times.

Cupra Born VZ review (2024)
On sale later in 2024 – will it tempt you out of an MG4 XPower?

What else should I know?

The electric hot hatch market is getting increasingly competitive. The Cupra Born VZ may be the ultimate Born right now, but has a new sibling in the form of the Volkswagen ID.3 GTX, which features the same 326hp rear-mounted motor and the 79kWh battery.

The biggest problem for it must be the MG4 XPower, which boasts 435hp and hits 0-62mph in 3.8 seconds. And there’s cost: expect to the VZ to be in the middle of the £40,000-£50,000 bucket, while the XPower starts at £36,495 and the standard Born starts at £34,070.

With this in mind, is it a viable choice if you’re after an exciting all-electric hot hatch? Read on to find out.

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