Currently reading: First standalone hot Cupra set to be coupe crossover
Seat’s performance brand will launch a Cupra Ateca ahead of its first standalone model

The first model designed as a dedicated Cupra will be unveiled late next year, although a Seat-badged version of it could follow.

The Spanish company turned its performance division into a separate brand this year, targeted at premium buyers who want sporty machines. The first Cupra-badged model will be a re-engineered high performance version of the Seat Ateca SUV, and company chiefs are aiming to rapidly develop a full line-up of models.

More details on 296bhp Cupra Ateca

Talking about the decision to launch the Cupra range with a reworked Seat, design chief Alejandro Mesonero-Romanos said: “At the start of a brand, you need to go in stages. When we decided to start Cupra,you could wait until you have a car born 100% as a Cupra, or you can start the brand going in steps. This is what we have done with Cupra Ateca. It’s the first step of where we are going.

“You will see the first car that was 100% designed as a Cupra next year.”

He wouldn’t comment on what form the car would take but, at the Cupra brand launch, the firm showed a sketch of a sleek coupé crossover concept. Such a machine would fit into the brand’s ‘lifestyle performance’ positioning and, as with the Cupra Ateca, would target a segment with relatively few rivals in.

Seat Ateca review

Mesonero-Romanos said the new model, due on sale in 2020, is being developed purely for Cupra by dedicated designers and engineers. He added: “It has been thought from the beginning with the DNA of Cupra. That doesn’t mean Cupra Ateca is not a Cupra. But for my team, and the engineers, the next car was born with 100% Cupra philosophy. It’s a Cupra. It will have its own identity.”

For example, the new model is likely to have a distinct Cupra grille that will better fit the brand logo. Mesonero-Romanos said “there could be Seat versions” of the car in the future, but added that ensuring it will fit in Seat’s line-up isn’t a consideration during development. He said: “The focus is on developing it as a Cupra.”

Future Cupra models being considered include performance versions of the Seat Ibiza and Seat Arona. While the Ibiza might seem a more natural choice, the competitiveness of the hot hatchback market and greater margins possible with a crossover could make the Arona a more attractive proposition. 

Read more 

Seat Leon Cupra R 2018 UK review

Cupra confirmed as standalone performance sub-brand of Seat

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James Attwood

James Attwood, digital editor
Title: Acting magazine editor

James is Autocar's acting magazine editor. Having served in that role since June 2023, he is in charge of the day-to-day running of the world's oldest car magazine, and regularly interviews some of the biggest names in the industry to secure news and features, such as his world exclusive look into production of Volkswagen currywurst. Really.

Before first joining Autocar in 2017, James spent more than a decade in motorsport journalist, working on Autosport,, F1 Racing and Motorsport News, covering everything from club rallying to top-level international events. He also spent 18 months running Move Electric, Haymarket's e-mobility title, where he developed knowledge of the e-bike and e-scooter markets. 

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sonal 21 December 2018

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comment8 14 August 2018

Admission of failure

So nobody bought Seat as an Alfa Romeo re-incarnation what makes the highups think that Cupra is going to do the work? The unique creation is all marekting given the 100% familarity that MQB entails. 

AndyT 14 August 2018

People aren’t interested in

People aren’t interested in fake brands. DS did better as Citroen DS, Infiniti sells almost nothing, Abarth is doing ok, only because Fiat has such an awful image these days.