Forbidden fruit: Cupra Formentor VZ5 borrows Audi's turbo 5-cylinder engine

Zac Palmer
·2 min read


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The standard forbidden fruit-style post you’ll see here is typically about some gorgeous wagon or sports car that’s limited to European consumption-only. It’s the rare day that a crossover or SUV makes the cut as being interesting enough to want it in the states, but the Cupra Formentor VZ5 isn’t just any crossover.

Audi has blessed the young Cupra brand (a member of the VW Group) with five-cylinder power taken straight from the engine bay of the RS 3, TT RS and RS Q3. That makes it the second crossover with the 2.5-liter turbocharged five-cylinder under hood, and just like the RS Q3, it’s not coming stateside. We never expected any Cupras to be sold in the U.S., but that doesn’t make our desire for this crossover any less.

The little Formentor VZ5 version of this engine is making 385 horsepower and 354 pound-feet of torque. That’s enough for a 0-62 mph time of just 4.2 seconds and (limited) top speed of 155 mph. All shifting is handled by a seven-speed DSG gearbox. The chassis gets worked over to match the new power, too.

It’s lowered by 0.4 inch versus a standard Formentor and also features a wider track. Cupra gives it adaptive dampers with a unique tune. The brakes are gigantic six-piston Akebono calipers in front that look superb hiding behind the copper-accented 20-inch wheels.

A number of exterior enhancements mark it out as the VZ5, too. It gets a new, more aggressive hood design, flared arches and front bumper. Carbon fiber is used for the splitter and diffuser. You’ll easily pick it out in the back via the stacked quad exhaust (with copper tips) at each corner.

The interior gets some racy leather bucket seats with big bolsters. A unique sports steering wheel is used for the VZ5, and you’ll see the copper trim theme carried over to the inside, too.

Only 7,000 VZ5 versions of the Formentor are meant to see the light, and as we said at the beginning, none of them will be sold in the U.S. The five-cylinder is the main draw — it’s one of the most characterful and exciting engines in any car today. We adore it in both the RS 3 and TT RS, and can only hope that Audi will bless us with the RS Q3 one day.

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