In partnership with CUPRA
It's no secret that the perfect car should feel like an extension of your lifestyle. It's a comfort that you know immediately as you step in – your hands relax around the wheel, your shoulders drop, settling into the crevices of the seat, and you can already envision your favourite artist playing through the sound system during a long drive down south. It's an ease that is often overlooked in favour of the more mechanical considerations, but when you experience a drive that really has it all, it's almost impossible to ignore.
It's an energy that Spanish automative brand CUPRA, has masterfully harnessed in its latest offering, CUPRA Born. Commemorating the brand's first 100 per cent electric model, the vehicle transcends the predictable – blending the worlds of style, considered creation and sustainability. With the interest in electric vehicles continuing to climb, CUPRA is taking its commitment to a more sustainable future seriously, with Born leading the brand's expansion and roadmap to becoming fully electrified by 2030.
So, when the opportunity to get inside one of the most intriguing (and undeniably stylish) EV offerings presented itself, I packed my bags and took the opportunity to explore (surprisingly) sunny Canberra for 24 hours. Here's what I got up to – both inside, and outside of the comforts of my very own CUPRA Born.
It's clear from the outset that form was as intrinsic to the CUPRA Born as the function. The brand's instantly-recognisable copper badge and trims hug the crevices of the car, adding a subtle, but impactful flare that really allows you to make your mark on the road. Speaking to CUPRA's head of Colour & Trim and Concept & Strategy, Francesca Sangalli, it's no coincidence that the Born is disruptive in both its design and ingenuity.
"Because we are a new brand, we have the opportunity to really reinvent the code that came before us, rather than having to follow it. Because we don't have this extensive heritage, we have the opportunity to create in a disruptive way that really puts innovation at the forefront," she shared with me.
At its core, CUPRA prides itself on being a lifestyle brand, and on that it certainly delivers. Made for "progressive car lovers", as Sangalli so affectionately describes, storytelling is central to the inspiration of all her creations – but with the CUPRA Born, the evidence of these stories can be seen embedded throughout the car itself.
"I've always strongly believed that it's more than just simply picking a selection of colours, or materials, but creating a vehicle that tells the story of the people who drive it. Their likes, their passions, addressing their concerns – in this instance, one of those things is sustainability – and not accepting any compromises in how you express that," she explained.
Stepping inside the CUPRA Born, the sophistication Sangalli describes is evident. The car, which was designed at CUPRA's headquarters in Martorell, Barcelona and inspired by, and named after the neighbourhood of El Born, exudes the essence of a vehicle that is made for the city. As someone who likes the tenacity of a vehicle that can bend and flex to my exact needs, the Born has a lot to offer. The inside cabin is remarkably spacious for a hatch-back, which is perfect for a weekday schedule that can take you from the gym, to the office and then out for dinner, whilst still being agile and aerodynamic in its design.
Not only does it deliver on comfort and practical design, but there's no shortage of new technologies either. The fully digital cockpit is perfect for anyone (me in particular), who gets overwhelmed by too many dials, and the smart air conditioning system has the ability to adjust the intensity and flow dependant on how many passengers are in the car.
The most impressive feature, however, is CUPRA's partnership with the SEAQUAL INITIATIVE, a collaborative community operating close to the brand's headquarters, who are dedicated to fighting plastics pollution. Together, the pair collaborated to manufacture the standard production of the vehicle's seats with unconventional materials made from upcycled marine plastics.
It's no surprise that the interiors of the Born caught my attention, but expectedly, the technical specifications certainly speak for themselves. Fitted with a 77kWh net battery, the CUPRA Born can deliver up to 511km of range from a single charge, and 170kWh of power and 0-50km in just 2.8 seconds. When Sangalli said the Born blurs the line between hatch-back and sports car, she really meant it.
With my Apple CarPlay set up, and George Michael's greatest hits leading the way, it was now time to explore the afternoon sun that was soon to set over Canberra, from the comfort of the CUPRA Born. Safe driving, and some Faith in myself to navigate the unfamiliar roads and we were off – without a sound (thanks to the electronic engine!)
When in Canberra, there's really nowhere I love more than Ovolo Nishi. Even for a mere 24 hours, enjoying the hotel's comforts (and endless help-yourself lolly bar) is always a treat. After a day spent learning about the CUPRA Born and taking the new model to the road for a test run, a warm shower and a chance to recharge the batteries before the evening's celebrations was much needed.
Order room service from the hotel's restaurant, Monster, for a late afternoon snack – the Monster Smash Burger is a must if you have an appetite after a full-itinerary day – or head down to the bar for the daily happy hour.
I'm a notorious over-packer, especially when it's a one-night stay, but for my trip to Canberra with CUPRA, I managed to keep things fairly simple. Despite the welcome sun, the Canberra chill was definitely still present, so I recommend opting for a versatile look that can see you through the changes. You can never go wrong with a black blazer, white t-shirt, a perfect pair of worn in Levi's 501 jeans and a cowboy boot. Oh, and don't forget your favourite shades – I went with a classic pair of Celine Triomphe sunglasses – to make the drive all the more smoother.
For the evening, a black mini skirt and turtleneck to swap out the jeans and t-shirt, a pair of cashmere stockings for added warmth and a statement earring. A foolproof outfit for the ultimate Thursday evening soiree!