SPANISH car maker SEAT is creating a new high performance Cupra division with its first offering being an uprated version of the Ateca SUV.
Powered by a 2.0-litre TSI engine boosted to 300ps, the Cupra Ateca will have a top speed of 153mph and a 0 to 60 acceleration time of 5.4 seconds.
In the wings are Cupra derivatives of the Ibiza and the new Arona compact SUV while the new brand will also be competing in this year's TCR touring car championships.
Unveiling the new standalone marque, SEAT president Luca de Meo said: Cupra is a big opportunity for SEAT, for our customers and for the business. The whole project has surfaced as the dream of a group of people who were looking for a way to conquer a new group of car lovers."
And before the year is out a new SEAT Leon Cupra R ST will be on the road. It will be revealed at the Geneva Motor Show in March and will feature the same 300ps powertrain as the Ateca, with all-wheel-drive and seven speed DSG transmission.
The Cupra Ateca unveiled in Barcelona at the launch of the new brand comes with plenty of sporty body kit including a honeycomb grille with the new Cupra badge in the centre.
An optional performance pack includes 18-inch Brembo brakes while the Cupra Ateca can also be specified with a carbon rear spoiler and door caps as well as moulded carbon fibre dashboard.
Standard kit includes a 360 degree camera system, wireless phone charging and an eight-inch touchscreen navigation system while the car also features dynamic chassis control with adaptive suspension.
The Ateca's software has also been uprated to include a Cupra setting in its drive modes. Alcantara trim, aluminium pedals and gloss black highlights are part of the interior finish as are illuminated sill plates.
While the Cupra Ibiza and Arona are still to be confirmed the new brand will be marketed at 260 SEAT dealerships across Europe.
SEAT vice-president for sales and marketing Wayne Griffiths said: Our ambition for the Cupra brand is to double the sales within the next four-five years, focusing our business model on four main pillars: distribution, partnerships, racing and product."