Cupra Formentor VZ5 is a five-cylinder screamer

22nd February 2021
Bob Murray

Please Mr Audi, can we have your engine? In what appears a no-brainer of a parts-bin share, the sporty upstart of the Volkswagen Group empire, Cupra, has got its hands on one of the tastiest morsels ever to come from the home of Vorsprung durch Technik: the Audi five-cylinder engine. And what has Cupra done with it? Form an orderly queue please for the new, and limited-edition, Formentor VZ5.


For an overtly enthusiast brand then, an iconic enthusiast’s engine. The sporty crossover market where the Formentor, Cupra’s first standalone offering, operates is awash with turbo 2.0-litre four-pots, some very powerful. But which among them can claim the unique thrum and turbine power rush of an engine whose heritage encompasses everything from Audi Quattros to IMSA racers? Well, one can, and that’s the Audi RS Q3 which will set you back around £60,000.

We do not yet know how much the Cupra Formentor VZ5 is going to be, but we’d hope it will be a lot closer to the current top Formentor, which costs from around £42,000. That might have 80PS (59kW) less power compared to the new one but it’s also available in right-hand-drive where the VZ5 will not. Then again, a left-hooker limited to just 7,000 cars worldwide might just add to the mystique.


The VZ5 has virtually Audi power – 390PS (287kW) – and the same, 480Nm (355lb ft), of torque as the RS Q3. The cars also share a seven-speed dual-clutch transmissions and all-wheel-drive. What might not be shared is the noise: with its quad copper-finished exhaust exits, Cupra is promising its own sporty take on the unmissable five-pot beat.

Despite giving away 10PS (did Audi as senior partner insist on the deficit, we wonder?) the new Cupra is quicker: 0-62mph in a claimed 4.2 seconds against the Audi RS Q3’s 4.5 seconds. Stirring performance then for a 4.5m five-door crossover which just three years ago, before Cupra became a brand in its own right, would have been a sporty Seat. With this car Cupra suddenly finds itself in Porsche Macan territory.


Copper, Cupra’s signature colour, gets a real workout for the VZ5. Most noticeable are the 20-inch copper-finished machined alloy wheels, matching the badging and exhaust trims. But this is more than just a colour and trim job, with upgraded brakes – Akebono discs with copper-coloured six-piston callipers – a carbon-fibre rear diffuser and front splitter. The tracks are slightly wider and the body lowered by 10mm over the regular Formentor.

A more stylised bonnet, flared guards, a new front grille-bumper profile and matt black detailing all underline the VZ5’s status. By the standards of the class, the Formentor is already a decent looker, but here it comes across as very tasty.


Inside too: highlight here is the new Cup bucket seats, mounted lower and available either in petrol blue or black leather with brown Nappa accents. Brushed dark aluminium is trim of choice, but there’s also plenty of copper too. There is also a customisable digital cockpit layout.

4Drive all-wheel-drive, adaptive dynamic chassis control and steering that Cupra says has been retuned for more direct feedback make up what the brand says will be assured handling in any conditions. Like other models, drive modes comprise Comfort, Sport, Individual, Off-road and, for maximum sportiness, Cupra.


There’s a new colour exclusively for the VZ5, Taiga Grey, while others available are Midnight Black, Magnetic Tech Matte and Petrol Blue Matte. Any of those should help make the VZ5 stand out – and as a new brand, Cupra needs to stand out. For an enthusiast make, there are few better ways of achieving that than stuffing in a big engine. So roll on later this year when we should know more, and when order books open. Remember, only 7,000 of them globally and all left-hand-drive. Who knows, maybe something of a future classic?

  • Cupra

  • Formentor

  • Audi

  • RS Q3

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