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Cupra Dark Rebel remains a ‘dream’, but could see production if twinned with a Volkswagen-group sibling


The Dark Rebel concept teased what could be a true flagship for Cupra, but will it really come to be?

Cupra boss Wayne Griffiths has confessed the plan to bring the Dark Rebel coupe into production remains a “dream” but outlined how it might come to fruition with the help of the wider Volkswagen Group.

Speaking with the automotive press following the annual Cupra conference, where he outlined the brand’s growth in 2023 and revealed select plans for the future, Griffiths reflected on the Dark Rebel project.

The Dark Rebel concept, previously unveiled in late 2023, previewed what could become Cupra’s first dedicated sports car and the brand’s first true halo model.

A concept image of the Cupra Dark Rebel

Asked if the Dark Rebel would need a development ‘sibling vehicle’ within the Volkswagen Group to come to fruition, Griffiths told Chasing Cars that “if the project was to be realised it would definitely have to be a project working with other brands.

“All of our models, whether it’s the (sic) Terramar together with Audi, Taviscan together with Volkswagen, you always need this ‘sibling’ [model] as you say.”

By sharing broad platform types, powertrains and other key components with fellow car makers internally or externally, brands are often able to spread costs out, increase profits and justify projects that would otherwise be financially unviable if produced in isolation. 

The Dark Rebel concept is likely to be paired with another brand’s tech, like Audi

Griffiths noted that the size of production would likely be “thousands of cars, and not hundreds of thousands of cars” for Dark Rebel given the low-volume nature of the sports car segment, in comparison to more typical passenger vehicles, making the development partnership especially critical.

Which partnership could unlock the Dark Rebel?

Multiple arms of the Volkswagen Group, Cupra’s parent company, are hard at work creating performance electric vehicles, and perhaps none are as highly anticipated as the EVs being produced by Porsche.

Wayne Griffiths is leading the charge at Cupra

After launching its first mass-market EV in the Taycan, Porsche’s next 718 Cayman/Boxster duo will make the switch to all-electric power. This model will likely debut in 2025 and has been previewed by the Mission R prototype.

This model is likely to be underpinned by the PPE platform, with the concept featuring a T-shaped battery design to mimic the ideal weight distribution of a mid-engined vehicle.

Late last year, Chasing Cars asked Cupra COO Sven Schuwirth if the Dark Rebel could be underpinned by the PPE platform or the SSP platform that is expected to come later, he said it ““could be…let’s see”, while noting that the car would “drive how it looks”.

Porsche’s electric 718 concept race car

Whether Porsche would be willing to share its chassis and other technologies with the Cupra brand is unclear, but it does emerge as the most obvious choice. Reports have recently emerged that VW Group cousin Audi is working on a fully electric coupe version of the TT, which could also present itself as another partnership opportunity.  

What do we know about the Dark Rebel?

With its shooting brake-like body style, heavy emphasis on aerodynamics and sub-four second 0-100km/h performance target the Dark Rebel would be very quick indeed.

The Cupra Dark Rebel concept car

Peak power from the Dark Rebel concept is said to be 335kW (450hp) though being an EV, it’s more likely torque will be the focus.

Cupra’s rear-driven Born model gives some hope to the fact that the Dark Rebel would be sold with a similar option, at least in its more affordable variations. It’s likely a dual-motor all-wheel-drive option focusing on lap times would be the ultimate iteration.  

Chasing Cars has previously been told that if the Dark Rebel made it to production, it would likely cost below €100,000 (roughly AUD$165,000) in order to keep the vehicle in the realm of accessibility to most buyers.

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