New Cupra Tavascan all-electric SUV debuts in Frankfurt

Striking performance concept could point the way to how future Cupra products will look

It’s a scant 18 months since SEAT announced that Cupra was to be ‘a new sports car brand with its own identity’ and yet here we have the third SUV to be given Cupra branding – the all-electric Tavascan Concept. There’s no doubt it’s a rather arresting design, but is it desperately… sporting? While the sports car market is shrinking, demand for SUVs is exponentially rising, and Cupra reckons the all-electric coupe SUV sector is growing at 15 per cent a year and it is keen to get on board. 

The Tavascan (named after a village in the Pyrenees) is based on the VW Group’s MEB electric platform, and as it’s destined to be the brand’s halo model it features the most powerful combination of batteries and electric motors possible. There are two electric motors – one for each axle – with a combined output of 225kW (302bhp) which endows the Tavascan with a sub-6.5sec 0-62mph time. The 77kWh battery pack gives a WLTP range of around 280 miles. With the batteries mounted low down in the vehicle’s structure, Cupra says its latest SUV offers ‘a truly dynamic drive’.

> New Cupra Ateca SUV starts from £35,900

While we’d perhaps rather be seeing a Cupra hot hatch rather than an SUV, there’s no getting away from the Tavascan’s striking exterior which its manufacturer says ‘marries the presence of an SUV with the sleekness of a sporty coupe’. The chiselled design features a front end with two large S-shaped ducts that channel cooling air to the battery pack and enhance its aerodynamics and is finished off with an illuminated version of the Cupra’s somewhat divisive badge.

Cupra says airflow around the Tavascan is a crucial part of its design and the 22-inch turbine alloys have been designed to minimise resistance to the airflow past them. At the rear the diffuser provides aerodynamic functionality, while a full-width LED rear brake light spans the width of the vehicle, broken up by another illuminated Cupra logo.

While the exterior looks like it could be not far off a potential production car, the interior is currently still very much at the concept stage with four heavily sculpted seats. Instrumentation is taken care of by a pair of screens – one in front of the driver, the second being of the horizontal iPad-style device seemingly so popular with manufacturers these days.

Cupra won’t be drawn on whether the Tavascan will form the basis for its next stand-alone offering, but there’s no doubt that parent company VW will be keen to exploit the new MEB electric platform as much as possible, which could well lead to Cupra offering yet more ‘performance’ SUVs in the future.

Recommended

Cupra Leon 300TSI now on sale – 296bhp range-topper priced from £35,660
Cupra Leon
Cupra

Cupra Leon 300TSI now on sale – 296bhp range-topper priced from £35,660

The Cupra Leon’s three hatchback variants have been priced, with ST models to follow
24 Feb 2021
386bhp Cupra Formentor VZ5 revealed – crossover gets hot new powertrain
Cupra Formentor VZ5 revealed grey
Cupra

386bhp Cupra Formentor VZ5 revealed – crossover gets hot new powertrain

Cupra unveils a new Formentor flagship with a familiar five-cylinder and a halo status
22 Feb 2021
Cupra Formentor tuned to 365bhp by Abt Sportsline
Abt Cupra Formentor front
Cupra

Cupra Formentor tuned to 365bhp by Abt Sportsline

Cupra’s first bespoke model has been fettled by German tuner Abt Sportsline upping power
21 Jan 2021
2020 Cupra Formentor priced from £39,830
Cupra

2020 Cupra Formentor priced from £39,830

UK pricing and specifications have been confirmed for the Cupra Formentor, its first bespoke model 
20 Oct 2020

Most Popular

Volkswagen Golf GTD 2021 review – fast Golf diesel no hot hatch, but a great daily
Volkswagen Golf GTD 2021 review - header
Volkswagen Golf GTD

Volkswagen Golf GTD 2021 review – fast Golf diesel no hot hatch, but a great daily

Frugal yes, but fiery? Not really. VW’s Golf GTD is a refined, comfortable and desirable daily, but doesn’t offer many thrills
5 Mar 2021
Mercedes-AMG A35 saloon vs BMW M135i vs SEAT Leon Cupra R ST Abt
Header ALP
Hot hatchbacks

Mercedes-AMG A35 saloon vs BMW M135i vs SEAT Leon Cupra R ST Abt

Three all-wheel drive, turbocharged four-cylinder performance machines, three different body styles
3 Mar 2021
Porsche Taycan Cross Turismo revealed – 750bhp Turbo S to top crossover range
Porsche Taycan Cross Turismo - Turbo S front static
Porsche Taycan

Porsche Taycan Cross Turismo revealed – 750bhp Turbo S to top crossover range

Porsche expands Taycan range with new Cross Turismo high-riding estate
4 Mar 2021