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New Cupra DarkRebel concept to use Porsche tech

Cupra’s sports car concept will become a halo model for the brand, utilising high-performance technology from the wider VW Group

Less than 24 hours after the Cupra DarkRebel was revealed at the 2023 Munich Motor Show, brand CEO Wayne Griffiths has hinted that a future production version is on the cards – possibly using battery, motor and platform tech from sports car sister-brand Porsche.

Speaking from the Cupra stand at the IAA, Griffiths said Cupra “would have to” lean on its Porsche and Audi siblings “to make [DarkRebel] viable”. However, he insisted that as it stands, the two-door shooting brake concept was a “pure show car” and that no technical decisions had been made.

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But Griffiths hastily followed this up by saying: “If you know us at Cupra, when we do concept cars and show cars, we normally end up doing them; we normally deliver.”

The DarkRebel was originally revealed in virtual form earlier this year but the Munich show was the first opportunity to see the forthcoming halo car in the metal. The DarkRebel has been designed with the help of 270,000 online configurations from fans and celebrity brand ambassadors. The DarkRebel is “an expression of where we want to take the brand, and what this brand can do”, according to Griffiths.

Despite its wild styling, the concept shares plenty of design details with Cupra production cars. The three-triangle headlight signature and the illuminated Cupra logo on the rear light bar are reminiscent of the Tavascan. Other signature Cupra traits, including heavily sculpted bodywork and plenty of copper accents.

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At 4.5 metres in length and 2.2 metres wide, the DarkRebel has plenty of presence with its long, sloping bonnet and stubby rear end. “The Cupra DarkRebel represents all of the brand’s DNA and values. With wider shoulders, a long bonnet and lower cabin, it is “focused on the driver”, according to Cupra Design Director Jorge Diez.

Inside, the driver and passenger are separated by a central spine, much like in the Cupra Tavascan SUV. The DarkRebel also gets sporty bucket seats and a 'gamifying steering wheel’, plus a driver’s screen and a 3D customisable avatar on the top of the dash.

It’s likely that the J1 platform that underpins the Porsche Taycan and Audi e-tron GT will have been updated by the time DarkRebel becomes a production reality – probably towards the end of the decade. Likewise, battery and motor technology will advance, making it impossible to suggest how much range or power the sports car might get.

Griffiths did say that Cupra’s forthcoming halo model “isn’t going to be a volume thing. It's not a car to make money with, but it's a car to lift your brand up. If you want to become an iconic brand, you need icons.”

What do you think of the DarkRebel? Let us know in the comments...

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Deputy editor

Richard has been part of the team for over a decade. During this time he has covered a huge amount of news and reviews for Auto Express, as well as being the face of Carbuyer and DrivingElectric on Youtube. In his current role as deputy editor, he is now responsible for keeping our content flowing and managing our team of talented writers.

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