ONE of the newest names on the block has unveiled its latest model which is set take on Mercedes, Audi and Range Rover in the fast expanding luxury crossover sector.
The Cupra Formentor, still technically a concept model, was on view for the first time in UK after making its global debut earlier this year at the Geneva Motor Show.
The sub-brand of SEAT, which claims to be Britain's fastest growing make, reckons the coupe-styled, four-wheel-drive five-door has credentials not only to become the Cupra's halo model but to win sales from Europe's market leaders.
With plug-in-hybrid technology it is powered by a 1.4 TSi engine knocking out 242bhp giving it 135mph performance allied to strong economy.
Named after a peninsula on Majorca, it follows SEAT's practice of giving its cars a quaintly patriotic identity.
Cupra's first stand-alone model is expected to go on sale in Europe next year and come to Britain by the third quarter.
Although execs are remaining tight-lipped over pricing, expect the its tag to be slightly less than the obvious rivals, so around the £35,000 mark.
Later a 300bhp pure petrol version will be added to the line-up, and don't be surprised the design is rebadged a SEAT for lesser powered models once the Formentor has become established.
Based on the hot SUV, the Cupra Ateca with a few styling cues borrowed from the larger Tarraco, it has a lower ride height and wider track with pronounced shoulders over the rear wheels which give it a powerful profile.
A full width rear light-bar, quad tail-pipes and a big diffuser give the tail a purposeful look while the nose is dominated by the large mesh grille and deep bib spoiler.
The styling tricks combine to produce a striking looking performance coupe that still manages to be family friendly.
Hybrid power is complemented by a DSG twin clutch gearbox borrowed from the VW parts bin - no bad thing, as this is one of the best transmissions around. The Formentor is capable of driving about 30 miles on electric power alone.
Inside carbon fibre bucket seats are the first you notice. A ten-inch panoramic infortainment centre dominates the facia along with the digital instrument array.
With SEAT seeing its market rise to three per cent - 30,000 cars have already been sold this year - the Formentor promises to broaden its range and raise the performance profile of VW's sporting brand.