The VW Group finally using one of its best engines to its fullest.
Our European readers will know that Volkswagen-owned automaker SEAT's performance division used to be called Cupra. However, in 2018 the performance division was spun off into its own brand dealing in high-performance cars and EVs. In March of 2020, we learned the first vehicle to be built under its own badge would be an SUV based on the Volkswagen Group's MQB platform. The SUV is to be called the Formentor and is available for pre-order in Europe already. But gearheads will already be looking at the VZ trim, short for 'Veloz', the Spanish word for speed, which is reported to be the highest performance level for the Cupra brand. Like other models we've already seen from Cupra, the Formentor is a heavily stylized vehicle, leaning into new technology, but one we won't see in the US. However, there's one big detail that makes us take note in any case - what's under the hood.
The standard Formentor is available with a 242 horsepower 1.4-liter plug-in hybrid powertrain or a 306 hp 2.0-liter turbo engine. It was initially reported that the 2.0-liter engine would be powering the VZ version. However, there's been talk of Cupra slipping Audi's turbocharged five-cylinder engine from the RS3 under the hood. Our spy photographer caught a camouflaged prototype in action and confirmed that it did indeed sound like Audi's famous 394-hp five-cylinder engine in action. Rumor has it that German brand has demanded the Cupra's power plant is detuned from the Audi RS3's 394 hp, but we doubt it'll be by much.
Our optimism comes from Audi and Volkswagen choosing to put an RS engine into another car, which gives us hope that the five-pot might soon roll out across a broader span of VW Group products. We're thinking back to things like the five-cylinder Golf R that was scrapped after the Dieselgate saga, which would've been a stellar upgrade on the already potent VW Golf R. There were also rumors a few years back of Audi's five-cylinder finding its way under the hood of a hotter VW Tiguan. Perhaps a little too optimistically, we haven't given up hope for the Audi RS Q3 might arrive stateside one day, too. Basically, we want Audi's five-pot in anything we can lay hands on.