It was a little over two years ago when SEAT formally launched its Cupra performance sub-brand before slapping on its copper badge on a speedy Ateca to serve as the company’s first model. The 300-bhp crossover is Spain’s idea of a VW Tiguan R and represents the only car for the time being to swap out the SEAT logo for the new badge. Well, there was also the Cupra Ibiza, but we’re not taking that into account since it will remain a concept.
Speaking of concepts, last year’s Formentor will evolve into a road-going model later this year. It has now been caught on camera by our spies while undergoing final testing with the production body covered in camouflage. Despite the disguise, it’s pretty clear the high-performance crossover will look pretty much like the concept before it, which we knew from day one it wouldn’t go through major changes on its way to the assembly line.
Gallery: 2021 Cupra Formentor spy photos
The Formentor’s sharp styling has already been implemented on a production car as the new SEAT Leon has a similar look, save for the quad exhausts, plastic body cladding, and the jacked-up suspension. The Cupra-badged Leon is expected to share the same plug-in hybrid powertrain with the crossover, specifically a turbocharged 1.4-litre petrol engine teamed up with an electric motor. A similar setup should also power the already confirmed Skoda Octavia RS iV, which has already been confirmed to go down the PHEV route for its Geneva premiere next month.
SEAT Cupra hasn’t disclosed any details about the production model, but we’ll remind you the concept had 241 bhp channelled to the road through a dual-clutch automatic transmission. The Formentor unveiled last year came with a “large integrated battery pack” with enough energy for 31 miles (50 kilometres) in electric mode, based on the WLTP regime.
What else is Cupra up to?
If you’re not a fan of electrification, there are some rumours suggesting Cupra will sell the Formentor with a conventional powertrain in the same vein as there will be petrol- and diesel-only derivatives of the Octavia RS. It should be a similar story with the Cupra Leon, with an even hotter Cupra Leon R to follow with more than 300 of petrol-feeding horses and all-wheel drive.
Meanwhile, the production-ready Cupra Formentor is estimated to debut by mid-2020 as the company’s first standalone model.