New five-cylinder Cupra Formentor SUV spotted at the Nurburgring

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Cupra has hinted that it will soon launch a new, range-topping version of the Formentor, which will sit about the current 306bhp turbocharged 2.0-litre flagship variant. 

A spokesman for the brand has confirmed the project’s existence to Auto Express, but skirted around any powertrain specifics, saying: “We are considering a more powerful version of Formentor, the ultimate expression of high performance from the Cupra brand.”

However, our spy photographers reported that the mule in these images had a distinct five-cylinder exhaust note – meaning Cupra may soon drop the turbocharged 2.5-litre engine from the Audi RS Q3 into the nose of the Formentor, creating a new rival for its VW Group stablemate and the Mercedes-AMG GLB 45 in the process. 

The Cupra Formentor is based on the same MQB underpinnings as the Audi RS Q3 and the upcoming Volkswagen Tiguan R – but the Spanish brand has already used the capability of the latter car’s 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine in the current range-topping Formentor and the Cupra Ateca.

Audi’s turbocharged 2.5-litre five-cylinder petrol engine is the only other unit in the Volkswagen Group’s arsenal which is compatible with the Formentor’s platform and powerful enough to provide a significant enough jump in performance over the current flagship model.

In the Audi RS Q3, the five-pot has an output of 395bhp and 480Nm of torque – enough for a 0–62mph time of around five seconds and an electronically limited top speed of 155mph. The unit will also be used in the upcoming RS3 hot hatchback, where it will develop 415bhp and 500Nm of torque.

Keen-eyed readers will also note that the Tiguan R’s engine produces 316bhp, while the Formentor’s only has 306bhp – suggesting there’s still some performance left to unlock in the unit. However, this detuning is a deliberate move by Volkswagen, as the former car sits above the latter in the Group’s pecking order. 

Cosmetically, little appears to have changed between this Formentor mule and the current production model. Aside from the sacrificial test car alloy wheels, the only other change is a tweaked exhaust system, which features a set of staggered quad-exit tips rather than the standard car’s horizontal units.

What do you make of the new five-pot Cupra Formentor? Let us know in the comments section below… 

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