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CUPRA DarkRebel – The evolution of a future icon

CUPRA DarkRebel – The evolution of a future icon

The CUPRA DarkRebel is a 100% electric two-seat sports car that pushes the boundaries of design and performance. It has been produced as a show car and is the first car fully created in the virtual space through an immersive experience.

We take you through how the CUPRA DarkRebel vision was realised. We look at each stage in its evolution from the digital to the physical world, as it makes the leap from imagination to future icon.

So it begins… The ultimate interpretation of a vision

In Berlin on 21 May, 2023, CUPRA pushed the boundaries of automotive design with the unveiling of the CUPRA DarkRebel, its virtual sports car.

Embodying the unconventional challenger brand’s spirit of performance and emotion, the CUPRA DarkRebel is the first show car presented through Metahype, CUPRA’s space in the metaverse.

Wayne Griffiths, CUPRA CEO described the CUPRA DarkRebel as “the ultimate interpretation of our vision, , showing that design is a dialogue, not a process.”

An essential part of that dialogue is the Hyper Configurator - a virtual lab where the CUPRA tribe can interact in different virtual environments and experiment to create colours, materials and finishes with outstanding results.

Users were able to choose between three environments – Exponential square, Exponential cube, and Exponential infinite, in which they could transform the show car to create their very own versions of the CUPRA DarkRebel.

Upon completing the configuration, users could then share a video of their unique version of the show car to influence the design of the final physical model presented in the future.

The next stages… From the digital to the physical world

Following the launch of the CUPRA DarkRebel virtual sports car at the Exponential Impulse event in Berlin, the design vison moved a step closer to the physical world as the Hyper Configurator process came to an end.

From it emerged more than 270,000 CUPRA configurations from the CUPRA Tribe, including brand ambassadors  such as FC Barelona’s Alexia Putellas, Marc ter Stegen, Ansu Fati and the actor Daniel Brühl,  who each used the immersive virtual tool to help shape the features of the CUPRA DarkRebel.

The thousands of pieces of configuration data were collected from users all over the world, pushing their creativity to influence the final design.

Topping the table with the most configurations were Spain and Germany, along with Mexico and Turkey which also featured in the top ten.

An interesting stat to note from the Hyper Configurator experience was the 74% participation through mobile devices – a clear indication that the DarkRebel is a car designed by and for the next generation.

It’s showtime… The CUPRA Dark Rebel show makes its world debut

The CUPRA DarkRebel made its physical world debut on March 3, 2023 at the Munich based  Volkswagen Group Night IAA event. An electric two-seat sports car with a shooting brake architecture that reflects the passion and disruptive mindset of the CUPRA brand.

The car incorporates an enigmatic mercury-like exterior liquid body colour, has a heightened attention to sustainability and uses light as an almost tangible material.

The making of the  CUPRA DarkRebel 

Illuminating design

Illumination is a key element in the design of the CUPRA DarkRebel show car. It starts from the lighting of the logo, to the vehicle’s radical sharp front with CUPRA’s iconic triangular light signature emerging 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). Light also flows through the front of the cabin, below the windshield, to emerge from the sides of the seats.

The vehicle’s central spine is like a sailboat keel made of a crystal-clear transparent material connecting the front and the rear of the car. This concept emphasises the CUPRA DarkRebel’s progressive design, inspiring its sporty appeal.

It’s wheel design is influenced by the brand’s racing cars, with performance and efficiency being key attributes.

The cutting-edge exterior design is further 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. It comes to life thanks to its 1/3 cabin, in contrast to the 2/3 body proportions.

The side of the CUPRA 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, a symbol of the relationship between exterior and interior.

An Insider’s view

Inside the car, the rules of design are again challenged with a groundbreaking cockpit. 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 seats and extending forward to embrace the driver and offer the perfect position for the most important driving elements.

The steering wheel combines elements of racing and gaming technology. Its adjustment is also synchronised with sliding pedals to provide the ideal position for sporty driving.

There are bucket seats, which are mounted low and have bases much longer than normal, offering lateral support for the entire leg when driving the car. ​

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.

Further inside the car, sustainable materials made from 90% biodegradable bamboo are also used.

Features that fire the imagination

Further standout features include the shifter, located in the central spine and made of a crystal-clear transparent material, that illuminates and invites touch..

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.

Driving the future of electric cars

Wayne Griffiths, CEO of CUPRA said: "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”.

The CUPRA Dark Rebel made its official public debut last  September at CUPRA’s Open Space, at the IAA Mobility event.