Cupra Urban Rebel: the small electric sports car that we will see in 2025

Close encounter with the first model built on the new Meb-Small platform, intended for an entire family of battery-powered city cars. Aggressive style, 403 cm in length, 226 hp of power and acceleration from 0-100 km / h in 6.9 sec. Maximum declared autonomy of 440 km. Coming in three years

Gianluigi Giannetti

– barcelona

The rebel that anticipates one of the most important projects for Volkswagen. Urban Rebel is the preview of the new generation of electric city cars on which the German group is aiming to decisively accelerate the spread of zero-emission engines in Europe. A responsibility entrusted to the Spanish division Seat SA, which will take care of the development of the entire technological ecosystem, also intended for two models respectively under the Skoda and Volkswagen brands, the latter with the expected name of ID. 2. However, it is up to the Cupra brand, created four years ago, to be the first to present the most exclusive nuances of the project. Gazzetta Motori has approached Urban Rebel as a preview in Barcelona, ​​but above all it has evaluated the few elements of a concept car and instead many clues that make it a car very close to mass production. The appointment with the dealerships is set for 2025, but in the meantime we can already understand how the B segment of the city cars of the near future will change.

Operation Hub

The Volkswagen group, in collaboration with the Spanish government, has foreseen an investment of 10 billion euros to create an industrial platform that is completely parallel to the one already dedicated to electric mobility in the rest of Europe. The objectives are clear and ambitious, with the birth of a gigafactory in Sagunto which will have an annual production capacity of 40 GWh and will start production in 2026. The funds are also destined for the Pamplona and Martorell plants, where from 2025 Seat will become the manufacturer of small electric cars for the whole VW group. Not by chance. The strategy of the German hub, announced in 2021, foresees the birth of a single platform for all battery-powered vehicles, called Ssp (Scalable systems platform), which will progressively replace the current Mqb, Mlb, Meb and Ppe and will be able to accommodate models with powers between 85 and 850 kW. The production of 100% electric vehicles of the group on an SSP basis will start from 2026. It is therefore clear the need to create an additional architecture, intended exclusively for the sector of city cars so strategic in the European market, and therefore to transfer the responsibility to a Hub in Spain. . Cupra Urban Rebel is therefore the first of its kind.

Evolved platform

The plans for the Cupra brand are ambitious, because in the next three years it will launch four new models. In 2024, alongside the 4.5-meter Tavascan electric SUV, a hybrid SUV will arrive, proposed in both mild and plug-in versions, the latter capable of an autonomy in electric-only mode of up to 100 km. It will be built in the Hungarian factory in Gÿor, where the Audi Q3 SUV is produced. In 2025 it will be the turn of Urban Rebel, which moreover was born on the Meb Small platform, or derived from the Meb currently used by a large family of models including the Cupra Born and Volkswagen ID itself. 3. Naturally, the technical specifications of the track and the distance between the front and rear wheels, now 2,600 mm, changed in order to obtain a car that is 4,036 mm long, 1,975 wide and 1,576 high. Compared to the original Meb platform, the typical positioning of the engine changes, which here is not rear but only front, with a power output of 166 kW (226 Hp) for 0-100 km / h acceleration in 6.9 seconds. The declared maximum autonomy, for what is formally still a concept car, corresponds to 440 km. So one could already think of a car that promises to gain interest, but a close contact with the first model of Urban Rebel tells more. The real development work still underway is that on the aesthetic level, while on the mechanical level the Meb Small platform already seems complete.

True to the touch

The job of a show car, a concept or a demonstrator, as you want to call it, remains that of suggesting an aesthetic vision destined subsequently to gain a chassis, and in any case an engineering basis that does not yet exist, and that arriving it can then even modify the final aspect ratio. All this is not the Cupra Urban Rebel, and just insert your hand into the space between the front windshield and the bonnet to distinctly feel the internal sound-absorbing fabric, like a real car already equipped in the mechanics. Some details presumably are intended for the choreography of the moment, such as the illuminated Cupra logo or the side mirrors with a shape that is too angular to be compatible with the regulations to protect pedestrians in the event of an impact. The facts, on the other hand, are quite different, with the front designed by extending the side air intakes on the entire front, the very horizontal bonnet with conspicuous convexities and above all the shape of the pillars, defined in all respects, with the front ones blackened to suggest a glazing. only. Urban Rebel has a sloping roof and tail with a very decisive design, also thanks to a rear extractor that recalls the sports of the endurance categories, but it is clear that the absence of handles, replaced by touch controls, betrays which body panels are to be consider “concept”, also that a transition to the series is rather fast, as shown by the doors, without a frame but with a definitive frame in all.

Videogames and 3D printing

Commenting on the success of “his” Cupra brand in Europe, Seat SA president Wayne Griffiths always used a clear expression: “No Heritage”. Cupra does not have a tradition that binds it, but it can play the game of a sportiness unrelated to the canons of the past, looking for the suggestions that also appeal to different and more modern worlds of the car. Getting on board it is impossible not to notice the steering wheel inspired by the gamepad of a console, the additional screens that open and flank the main instrumentation, and then of course the great attention to weight reduction, that is the technical requirement of every electric car, which however, here he passes from the use of a few plastic panels, 3D printed like the fabric that covers some portions of the seats. The path of technological minimalism is already working.

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