Cupra pulls a faster one

Cupra Formentor

HERE'S one for the dedicated enthusiast - a left-hand-drive-only SUV from Seat's sporty spin-off Cupra, powered by the unhinged five-cylinder turbo familiar from the Audi RS3, writes William Scholes.

It's the sort of proposition that certainly bolsters the young brand's performance credentials.

The Formentor VZ5, as it is called, was announced to coincide with Cupra's third birthday as a standalone company.

Thus far, the Cupra-badged cars have been faster versions of the regular Seat range. The Formentor, a voguish coupe-ish SUV, is its first "uniquely developed" model.

The 2.5-litre five-cylinder engine - which experience with Audis tells me is one of the most charismatic units on sale today - makes 385bhp and 354lb ft.

Four-wheel-drive, adaptive dampers and a seven-speed double-clutch automatic gearbox are also part of an impressive specification list.

The 0-62mph sprint is done and dusted in 4.2 seconds and top speed is 155mph.

Cupra Formentor

The VZ5 has lower suspension than lesser-endowed Formentors and quad exhaust pipes finished in copper. Carbon fibre has been used for some of the exterior detailing.

Its 20-inch copper-coloured alloys, an inch larger than those found on other Formentors, have given Cupra the excuse to give the car flared wheel arches.

Reassuringly serious six-piston Akebono brake callipers and 18-inch brake discs are fitted at each corner.

The car is due to go on sale towards the end of this year. Cupra says it is going to build just 7,000 units.

Cupra uses the initials VZ for its trim levels because it derives from the Spanish word 'veloz', translating as 'speed' or 'fast'.

Cupra Formentor

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