What is this?
Launched in the autumn of 2020, the Formentor was Cupra’s first fully own model – read: the first without a direct Seat counterpart. Currently, the model is available with power ratings from 150 hp (1.5 TSI or 2.0 TDI) to 310 hp (2.0 TSI), with the list price in basic livery ranging from 33,800 to 49,640 euros.
Recently, all versions with 245 hp or more carry the suffix VZ (for the Spanish ‘veloz’ or fast). The current 2.0 TSI 310 certainly lives up to that suffix, with a time of 4.9 seconds to accelerate from 0 to 100 km/h and a top speed of 250 km/h. But at Cupra, they thought it could be a little more rigid, so the engineers dived into the organ bank of the Volkswagen group, where they dug up the acclaimed five-cylinder from the RS 3 from Audi’s racks.
And so the Formentor VZ5 was born, of which the ‘5’ refers, of course, to the number of cylinders of the 2.5-liter. That Cupra is allowed to use it is indeed a great honor, because Audi has never lent its five-cylinder engine to another sister brand before. Although there were a few conditions: to respect the hierarchy within the group, the ‘EA855evo’ in the Formentor does not deliver 400 hp as in the Audi’s RS 3 and RS Q3, but ‘only’ 390. And the maximum torque is still 480 Nm, but is available 550 rpm later, at 2,250 rpm only.
The VZ5 also subtly distinguishes itself from the VZ 310 on the outside. To start with specific exterior colors (Magnetic Tech Matt, Petrol Blue Matt, Midnight Black or the handsome Taiga Grey, which will be available for a limited time from 2022), but otherwise with its distinctive carbon fiber bumpers, copper-colored exhausts stacked on either side or new 20-inch wheels shod with specific rubber. In the interior, the optional Cup Bucket Seats stand out, which are normally upholstered in black leather, but can also be brown in combination with the exterior color Taiga Gray.
Technically, the VZ5 is 10 millimeters closer to the asphalt and gets some more negative camber and stiffer silent blocks to counter understeer and reduce roll tendencies. Furthermore, the adaptive shock absorbers can be adjusted in 15 degrees between Comfort and Sport. But the big difference lies in the Torque Splitter and the accompanying Drift mode, which will soon also make its appearance on the Audi RS 3. It is an active yaw control that transfers the power to the outer rear wheel under load. Up to 100 percent, on the understanding that the Haldex coupling between the front and rear axle allows a maximum of half through to the rear.
What is changing?
Once on the road, in the Comfort riding mode, you don’t have the impression that your right foot is controlling almost 400 horsepower, let alone in Off-road mode. That is already different in Sport, but completely the back of his tongue shows the VZ5 only in the Cupra mode – or in the individually adjustable Individual mode. To really get the most out of it, you can also put the stability control partially on non-active, otherwise it will put a damper on the celebration despite the four-wheel drive when you come out of the bend.