Manhart has worked on many vehicles from the vast Volkswagen Group portfolio but it has never done anything to a Cupra model. This is about to change with the Cupra Formentor VZ5, which is joining the tuning company’s programme. We have the first two images of the performance SUV and the early details suggest it will be one very potent machine.

Starting with the exterior, Manhart keeps it simple with just a set of 20-inch Concave One wheel and an all-black exterior finish. There are no aerodynamic enhancements – though this isn’t necessarily the final design of the Cupra SUV – and the tuning specialists only add a decal set with a signature design that is applied to the wheels, bumpers, side skirts, bonnet, and roof. A large Manhart lettering on the windscreen complements the design tweaks.

Gallery: Cupra Forementor VZ5 by Manhart

The situation is very different under the bonnet, though. There, the Formentor VZ5 has a 2.5-litre inline-five Audi-sourced turbocharged engine with 385 bhp (287 kilowatts) and 354 pound-feet (480 Newton-metres) of torque in stock form. This is the same engine Audi is using in the RS Q3 and its Sportback where the TSI mill has a bit more power. After Manhart’s Stage 1 upgrade, the unit pumps out 490 bhp (360 kW) and 465 lb-ft (630 Nm) of twist. 

The power boost comes courtesy of the firm’s MHtronik powerbox and a modified exhaust system with valve control and a dual-pipe design at each side, which replaces the factory oval exhaust layout. There’s no word on any tweaks to the transmission, which means Cupra’s seven-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox and an all-wheel-drive system should be attached to the engine.

But this isn’t even the best thing as Manhart says it is also considering a Stage 2 upgrade with a new intercooler, air intake, and an even more powerful ECU remap. We don’t know what figures the company is targeting but we suppose something around 600 bhp (447 kW) is possible. We will certainly keep our eyes and ears open for any updates on that topic.