Can you really have fun driving an electric car?

Aside from some expensive models, is it possible to really have fun driving an affordable electric car like the Cupra Born?

Can we experience the thrill of automotive in an electric car? For almost a decade and with the arrival of the first powerful versions of the Tesla Model S, it is possible to experience dizzying sensations in a straight line while driving these cars. And now that the Porsche Taycan and the Audi RS e-tron GT exist, you can even enjoy some really interesting dynamic behavior on one of these machines : on the circuit, a Taycan Turbo S works true miracles and hunts down the best ultra-sporty family cars with thermal engines directly in the field. The only problem is that these exceptional electric cars are terribly expensive. Count € 189,934 for the most efficient version of the Porsche, or € 145,690 for a slightly less efficient Audi RS e-tron GT. At 62,990 euros, a Tesla Model 3 Performance demonstrates amazing dynamic control and we can’t wait to see if the new Kia EV6 GT with 585 horsepower, which is offered just a little more expensive, can do the same.

But do we have to settle for boring electric cars to drive if we can’t invest that much money in a vehicle? To convince us otherwise, Cupra took us an ice circuit to grab the steering wheel of the Born VZ, the most powerful version of its 100% electric compact cousin of the Volkswagen ID.3. At € 43,990 a piece of this model that develops 230 horsepower at full power, we are still a long way from the cheap little sports cars of the turn of the century. But in these times when a Golf GTI of 245 horsepower now costs € 44,315, to which must be added a minimum of € 3,331 penalty in 2022, the price of the Iberian seems reasonable above all with an ecological bonus of € 6,000 to be subtracted (ie € 37,990 at the end). And the Cupra has another advantage over the paper: its transmission only to the rear wheels, as opposed to the traction of the Golf GTI and most compact electrics on the market (Renault Mégane E-Tech, Nissan Leaf, etc.). What makes you a queen of ice skating with high heel tires, knowing that it allows you to disconnect your ESP unlike other versions of the Born?

Ice, studded tires, propulsion with disconnectable ESP … all for fun?

A small problem

At the wheel of this comfortable, aggressive-looking wagon, activate Cupra mode without delay and immediately remove the ESP to prepare it to slide in all directions down an ice rink. But, surprisingly, the small driving aid indicator flashes at the slightest frank pressure of the accelerator. Because there is a little subtlety: the Born VZ authorizes the cutting of its ESP but not the ASR, its traction control system. According to Cupra engineers, the operation of the electric motor – with its torque available instantly – would make it impossible to control the car without traction control in these conditions. A bit like a BMW M5 propulsion on a flooded road without your driving aids, in short. Immediately, the prospect of having fun on the ice as it passes through every bend in the doors fades a bit: in addition to the accelerations permanently modulated by the electronic railing, the power is automatically limited to the right pedal as soon as the car it starts to move. slip.

To be able to put the Born in this position, you really have to be thorough and enter your “authorized” sliding window.

Fun in moderation

So can we still have fun on an ice circuit behind the wheel of an electric Cupra Born VZ, in conditions where the all-wheel drive of the tasty Formentor VZ5 with Audi RS 3 engine allows you to go much further? ? Yes a little bit. Whenever you turn the car generously on entering a bend, the car tolerates slippage and allows you to keep it up a bit with the accelerator at full speed. Despite the modulation of traction control, the system even allows the rear axle to add a small angle to the car in a precise, restricted window.. Thanks to a series of turns, we launched into an attractive / counter-attractive with the satisfaction of being able to play with the balance of the car and just that little frustration of not being able to keep sliding thanks to the accelerator afterwards. direction. Care must also be taken not to immediately lose the striker, the 1,749 kg of the beast and the unfavorable ice conditions that force him to be meticulous in driving impulses. Notice in passing that we used studded tires for the road in Scandinaviainstead of the more aggressive (and superior grip) compounds we’ve experienced in other ice tests in the past.

What would it take to improve the experience?

In the end, this experience on the Cupra Born VZ ice shows the dynamic balance of the machine but not its propensity to be really playful, the fault of too intrusive traction control in conditions of poor grip. Jordi Gene, the Cupra development pilot, admits that a Born could do very well drives without traction control on dry asphalt, the type of frame that makes it easier to play with maximum power as long as you can count on proper dynamic development. It must be acknowledged that at this level, Electric car manufacturers are still cautious at the moment except in the ultra-powerful models with elitist vocation. Too bad because either on a beautiful country road or on ice, the Born VZ suggests a very interesting fun potential despite its relatively modest power and unimpressive performance (returns 4 tenths to a Golf GTI at 0 to 100 km / h) . Note that we are talking here for the most passionate about sports driving, who like to really play with the dynamic limits of a car. For others, the driving sensations offered by the Born will surely be enough, even with their driving aids and without taking them to the limit. Always, of course, do not prefer a basic Tesla Model 3, more efficient but now much more expensive than the Born (€ 49,990 in the basic version with € 4,000 less ecological bonus compared to the Spanish).

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