The covers are off for the CUPRA DarkRebel show car. Created from obsession, it is the maximum provocation of CUPRA design. A sports car that pushes the boundaries of design and performance, and questions the way cars will be imagined and created in the future. It’s the physical translation of the first car fully created in CUPRA’s virtual space, for a future generation of drivers.
More than 270,000 CUPRA configurations from the CUPRA Tribe, including brand ambassadors such as FC Barcelona players Alexia Putellas, Marc ter Stegen and Ansu Fati, and the actor Daniel Brühl, helped shape the design of the CUPRA DarkRebel show car. Data collected from the online Hyper Configurator was injected into the final design, which has now moved from the virtual to the real world with the reveal of the physical version of the CUPRA DarkRebel show car at the IAA in Munich.
The result is a 100% electric two-seat sports car with a shooting brake architecture that reflects the passion and disruptive mindset of the CUPRA brand, as well as incorporating an enigmatic mercury-like exterior liquid body colour, the use of light as an almost tangible material, and a heightened attention to sustainability.
According to Wayne Griffiths, CEO of CUPRA: “Thanks to the passion and creativity of the CUPRA Tribe, we have been able to turn one of our most powerful obsessions into a real show car. The CUPRA DarkRebel is the maximum provocation of CUPRA design. It is a rebel with a purpose: to prove that electric cars in the future can be sporty, sexy, and emotional”.
Illumination is a key element in the design of the CUPRA DarkRebel show car, starting from the lighting of the logo. It highlights the dialogue between material and immaterial, showing how light can support colours and materials and transform the transparency of crystal-clear pieces into solid digitally coloured sculptures. The vehicle’s radical sharp front look is focused by CUPRA’s iconic triangular light signature as it emerges from the body, bringing the car to life. The lighting concept is based on breaking down the CUPRA logo into three triangles, which are then applied as DRLs (Daytime Running Lights).
The vehicle’s central spine, like a sailboat keel made of a crystal-clear transparent material connects the front and the rear of the CUPRA DarkRebel. This concept emphasises the vehicle’s progressive design, inspiring its sporty appeal.
Sensual surfaces with a strong combination of sharp lines create tension in the design, expressing a concentration of energy and purpose. All underscored by the enigmatic liquid body colour.
The fluid character of the dark violet tone evolves and changes depending on how environmental light touches the vehicle’s body, enhancing the strong stance and setting the tone for the DarkRebel as a sports car created to drive.
Seating the DarkRebel to the ground, its wheel design is influenced by the brand’s racing cars, with performance and efficiency being key attributes. The triangular shaped CUPRA logo is expanded parametrically through the whole wheel, from the structure to the aero covers and design copper parts.
The CUPRA DarkRebel’s cutting-edge exterior design is enhanced by its dimensions: 4.5 metres in length, 2.2 metres in width, and 1.3 metres in height, with a height of 2.2 metres when its doors are open. The DarkRebel comes to life thanks to its 1/3 cabin in contrast to the 2/3 body proportions and strong shoulders that deliver its sporty soul.
“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,” said CUPRA Design Director Jorge Diez. “The CUPRA Dark Rebel is designed to enter a new dimension where desire, emotion and pushing without limits are our obsession.”
The side of the DarkRebel is characterised by the connection of the body with the front and back through channels sculpted on the surface that reveal all the technical elements, as a symbol of the relationship between exterior and interior.
The CUPRA DarkRebel challenges the rules of design in its interior, too. Through the duality of muscle and skeleton, body and structure, an unexpected and ground-breaking cockpit is created. Its use of parametric design and additive manufacturing delivers a more substantive approach to sustainability. Entering the vehicle, passengers find themselves in an embracing, radical, extreme environment delimited by an elegant canvas outlined with dynamic forms, from which raw, light structures emerge. Crowning the whole are the driving components, true gems of design, which provide precision with their shapes and cutting-edge technology, thus completing a unique interior.
Inside the show car, the simplicity and purity of the cabin is complemented by the careful craftsmanship of certain key elements for the driving experience.
The key element of the cabin is the central spine with its asymmetrical shapes, lightness, and sculptural appearance. Produced using the latest 3D metal printing technology, it provides structural performance with maximum lightness, emerging from between the base of the seats and extends forward to embrace the driver. Offering the perfect position for the most important driving elements. Thanks to its longitudinal adjustment, synchronised with the sliding of the pedal cluster, it provides the ideal ergonomic adjustment for sporty driving.
Another key element in the interior is the Supersport bucket seats, with headrests covered with 3D knitting fabric and supported by a structure made from a crystal-clear transparent material and copper inserts. The bucket seats are mounted low and extend beyond their limits with their lightweight shape, offering lateral support for the entire leg. From their base, they emerge towards the top and take shape in a surprising yet exciting way. In their contact zones, they adapt and embrace the occupants to offer maximum comfort and grip for sporty driving.
One of the main protagonists inside the CUPRA DarkRebel is the steering wheel, which combines geometries from the world of racing with the interactivity of the world of gaming. The hands are perfectly matched to its ergonomics and the driver gets to feel from the very first moment all the power and control while the show car is on the move.
At this moment, the driver’s next point of attention is the shifter, which is in the central spine and made of a crystal-clear transparent material, that illuminates and invites touch.
A performance focused sports car both on the road and in terms of technological advancement. On the roof, a thermal camera monitors the condition of the cabin, and the intelligent climate control system adjusts the temperature and airflows accordingly, with the air exiting through gills located under the windscreen. The gills, lined with a breathable stretch fabric developed in the world of high-performance sport, push and become visible depending on the amount of air supplied. Finally, the colour of the ambient backlighting in this area explains whether the interior is heating up or cooling down.
Communication through lighting continues thanks to the use of a fluid canvas on the upper wraparound of the cabin that creates a perfect template for lighting effects, boosting the emotions and experiences of the occupants. In the interior, sustainable materials made from 90% biodegradable bamboo are also used. Light flows through the front of the cabin, below the windshield, emerging from the sides of the seats, the seat backs are crowned with light, creating a vibrancy that can switch colour between dark blue to a shimmering reflective magenta and violet. Components such as the steering wheel, add to the effect glowing with energy.
The CUPRA DarkRebel offers a cutting-edge User Experience (UX) and User Interface (UI) design. Embracing CUPRA’s distinct mindset and digital DNA, the CUPRA DarkRebel redefines the automotive experience, seamlessly blending the physical and digital worlds. By integrating a gamified experience, users are not just driving; they are engaging in an ongoing, immersive connection with the CUPRA Tribe.
The CUPRA DarkRebel’s UX/UI journey offers three unique experiences: Exponential Square, Exponential Cube, and Exponential Infinite:
- Exponential Square: amplifies the experience through a modern digital cockpit, with futuristic graphics as well as a 3D customisable avatar that humanises the experience.
- Exponential Cube: the vehicle embraces its racing DNA, offering an electrifying experience taking inspiration from the high-performance racing cars and the gaming world: real-time racetrack positioning, lap timing, and performance data.
- Exponential Infinite: ventures into the uncharted territory of connected mobility. While the car is parked and charges, users can enter Metahype, CUPRA’s space in the metaverse. The car offers users the opportunity to interact with the CUPRA Tribe.
These three experiences, controlled from the steering wheel, adapt the complete car from the exterior, interior, lighting, and sound, as well as exclusive functions for each experience.
The CUPRA DarkRebel show car was unveiled at the Volkswagen Group Night and will be presented to the public at the CUPRA Open Space at the IAA Mobility 2023 in Munich, Germany (4–10 September).