Cupra’s new Formentor VZ5 is a 5-pot hot hatch on stilts

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Words: Matthew Hansen
23 Feb 2021

It’s not necessarily a household name yet, but by the end of 2021 it should be expected that Cupra will be one step closer to such in New Zealand by the end of the year. A raft of new models from Seat’s performance sub-brand are set to land by the end of the year, and among them could well be the Formentor VZ5.

Unveiled overnight, the VZ5 builds upon the already somewhat ‘warm performance’ nameplate, which can already be had with a fairly potent 228kW turbocharged four. The VZ5 curiously adds the turbocharged inline five-cylinder from the Audi RS 3 hot hatch and RS Q3 performance SUV, producing 287kW of power and 480Nm of torque — healthy numbers paired to a familiar, glorious five-pot engine note.

The inclusion is curious as the popular engine was skipped over by Audi and Cupra’s sister brand Volkswagen for its next-gen Golf R. It instead uses a 235kW turbofour. This could perhaps be explained by the marque’s focus on more fuel efficient engines.

Nevertheless, the 5-pot VZ5 is a quick thing. It will hit 100km/h in 4.2 seconds, some three tenths quicker than the claimed acceleration figures of the RS Q3. Top speed is limited to 250km/h. Aiding these feats is a 7-speed DSG dual-clutch transmission, paired to a 4Drive all-wheel drive system.

There’s other performance tweaks, too. It rides 10mm lower than the standard Formentor, and comes with Cupra’s Adaptive Chassis Control, which packs 15 different points of damping adjustment. Behind the model-specific 20-inch wheels is a Akebono brake package (including a six-piston pairing up front).

The wheels are one of a handful of subtle visual differences. Given how good it looks out the gate, the lack of change is probably a good thing. The VZ5 features a more sculpted bonnet, matte black grille highlights, and a larger secondary intake. There’s new seats, too, in the form of a pair of nicely sculpted front buckets.

The VZ5 (named in reference to ‘veloz’, the Spanish term for ‘quick’ or ‘fast’) has a limited production run of 7000 vehicles, and is set to be launched in Europe in the final quarter of 2021.

Closer to home, Cupra has just launched its updated Ateca line. In June, the two Leons and the Formenter’s pure petrol variant will arrive. And a plug-in hybrid Formentor gets here later in the year. Cupra’s fully electric el-Born hatch is still to be confirmed.

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