Three years in and SEAT’s standalone brand, Cupra, has finally launched its very first true performance vehicle. Okay, well, maybe it’s not the first, but it is the most powerful. In fact, it’s so powerful that it’s on par with the Audi RS Q3 and – believe it or not – is even powered by the same 2.5-liter inline-five engine. That’s where the similarities stop, however, as this isn’t just a rebadged Audi. No, no, no. Cupra designed the Formentor VZ5 from the ground up to, at least for now, serve as a halo car of sorts.
Under that curvy, muscular hood the 2.5-liter inline-five delivers a cool 385 horsepower (287 kW) and 354 pound-feet (480 Nm) of torque. To put this into perspective, the VZ5 delivers more torque than the RS Q3 but does fall just a bit shy in the horsepower department, lacking just 9 ponies in total. The VZ5 is only available with a seven-speed, dual-clutch transmission, but power is shunted to all four wheels. What does this mean for performance? Well, a lot, actually.
According to Cupra, the Formentor VZ5 can sprint to 62 mph (100 km/h) in just 4.2 seconds and will top out at an electronically limited 155 mph. The real kicker here is that the VZ5 is actually quicker to 62 mph than the RS Q3, which makes the sprint in 4.5 seconds and maxes out at the same limited top speed. Compared to the base Formentor, the VZ5 sits 0.4 inches (10 mm) lower with model-specific 20-inch wheels and larger 18-inch brakes with six-piston Akebono calipers. The latter are finished in a copper color to match those massive alloy wheels. A more aggressive rear diffuser and those Lexus F-like exhaust tips round out the package.
Cupra hasn’t announced pricing for the Formentor VZ5 quite yet but has said that order books will open to the public in the fourth quarter of 2021. With that in mind, we’re speculating that the VZ5 could carry a price tag somewhere close to the €60,000 since the model that sits underneath it – the 306-horsepower Formentor VZ 2.0 TSI starts at €44,920. The big takeaway, here, however, is that the VZ5 will actually be a cheaper, faster alternative to the RS Q3, which starts out at €73,790. The only downside is that Cupra is capping production of the VZ5 at just 7,000 units so supply will be somewhat limited.