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

Cupra has revealed a new limited-edition flagship variant of its Formentor crossover. Called the Formentor VZ5, it will feature both a new powertrain to the brand and a selection of chassis upgrades to go with it.

While its conformant VZ5 moniker (other models in the range go from VZ1 to VZ4) might suggest it will be a permanent fixture in the range, this new variant will instead act as a limited-run halo model for the brand. As a result, production will be restricted to 7000 units and all will be left-hand drive. 

The VZ5’s engine is the same turbocharged 2.5-litre in-line five-cylinder petrol unit previously bespoke to Audi Sport models. As in those applications, it’s mounted transversely between the front wheels, driving all four wheels via a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission. Peak power is rated slightly lower than an RS Q3 at 386bhp (that’s VW Group politics in action), but it will still launch the Formentor VZ5 to 62mph in 4.2sec, 0.7sec quicker than the fastest four-cylinder Formentor VZ4, and 0.3sec ahead on the aforementioned RS Q3 Sportback.

A recent addition to the Volkswagen Group’s MQB toolkit is a torque-vectoring differential that has recently appeared on the new Golf R, and while Cupra has not confirmed its fitment to this VZ5 model, there is reason to believe it could be part of the technical package given this Formentor’s halo status.

As for the rest of the chassis, Cupra has fitted a range of high-spec hardware including a set of six-piston Akebono brakes on the front axle behind bespoke 20-inch wheels. There are also the same 15-way adjustable adaptive dampers as the Golf R, and a new exhaust system with stacked exhaust tips not dissimilar to those on the Lexus RC F.

The Formentor VZ5 otherwise isn’t far removed from lesser models visually, with fresh carbonfibre detailing, a unique shade of grey paintwork and new bucket seats trimmed in black, or Cupra’s trademark petrol blue, making up a bulk of the changes.

Despite its left-hand-drive production, Cupra UK has confirmed the VZ5 will be available locally in limited numbers, but precise figures, and its high-flying price point, have yet to be established. Unfortunately, any sign this engine will find its way into other Cupra models is unlikely, as the brand continues to bolster its position as an electrified performance brand, potentially making this VZ5 the only high performance combustion model we're ever likely to see. 

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