This dramatic-looking creation is the Cupra DarkRebel, a show car created by committee that has been revealed at the IAA Mobility Motor Show in Munich. But what do we mean 'created by committee', we hear you ask? Well, this design has come about thanks to the input of in excess of 270,000 different configurations from the Cupra Tribe, a team of ambassadors for the manufacturer. From their choices on the online Hyper Configurator, Cupra injected much of their thoughts and wishes into the final design of the DarkRebel. And hey presto - you end up with one striking show car.
'The maximum provocation of Cupra Design'
What Cupra has ended up with here is a fully electric two-seat sports car with strong elements of that unusual breed of car known as the 'shooting brake'. Which is basically shorthand for 'a much less practical but overtly more stylish estate', if you're wondering. Anyway, Cupra is proud of the end result of the DarkRebel, as it reflects the 'passion and disruptive mindset' of the marque, as well as being the first vehicle entirely created in a virtual space that one day might be available to future drivers.
Among the 270,000 people to put their ideas forward on the Hyper Configurator were a variety of FC Barcelona players, such as Alexia Putellas, Marc ter Stegen and Ansu Fati (who is now on loan at English Premier League club Brighton & Hove Albion, but that's by the by), and also the actor Daniel Brühl, all of whom are ambassadors of the Cupra Tribe. But this is no rebel without a cause, according to Wayne Griffiths, the 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."
Light as a key part of design detail
Whether it be how it reflects off the wild exterior surfaces of the DarkRebel, or the use of physical illumination, light plays a key part in the look of this Cupra. Of course, how light is reflected is an integral part of any car's design process, but with the DarkRebel the Spanish company has gone a step further. It wants the DarkRebel to emphasise how light can 'support colours and materials, and transform the transparency of crystal-clear pieces into solid digitally coloured sculptures'.
To that end, the Cupra emblems of the DarkRebel are lit up front and rear, while the headlights employ the brand's current triangular signature in a new and dramatic fashion - as three separate triangles, these lamps are a breakdown of the actual company logo. At the rear is the almost obligatory full-width light bar, connecting the clusters, and then there's a central spine to the DarkRebel's design which is supposed to be like the keel on a sailboat. This is made of transparent material connecting the front and rear of the car, while the bodywork is finished in a mercury-like liquid body colour in a dark violet hue that further enhances various shapes and design flourishes around the vehicle's body.
A stocky thing, the DarkRebel is 4.5 metres long, 2.2 metres wide and 1.3 metres tall, although that last metric is with its dihedral doors closed; with them open, it increases to a 2.2-metre height, so it wouldn't be ideal in low-ceilinged multistorey car parks. And with the front lights supposed to be an evolution of Cupra's logo, even the wheels take up the theme - their design is a parametric extension of the main company emblem, from the structure to the aero covers and the copper highlights.
3D metal-printed central spine the highlight of interior
Minimalist and stridently futuristic, the interior of the Cupra DarkRebel is every inch the classic show-car interior - looks breathtaking, is a long way from production reality. That said, your eye can't fail to be drawn to the asymmetrical central spine of the cabin. It has been produced using the latest 3D metal-printing technology and it curves up from between the seats to embrace the driver, putting the emphasis on the lucky person behind the wheel.
Speaking of which, this isn't actually a wheel but a kind of bottomless octagon with illuminated sections on the lower arms. Its design was said to be informed by both the geometries of racing vehicles, as well as the interactivity provided by the world of gaming. Complementing this is the shift mechanism, which is mounted on the central spine and made of crystal-clear material that is illuminated. Eye-catching.
Almost as easy to behold are the Supersport bucket seats, their head restraints swaddled in 3D knitted fabric and their form made up of more transparent material and copper inserts. The seats are mounted nice and low in the DarkRebel, as befits a sports car, and they have sections in the contact zones that can adapt to embrace their occupants, offering 'maximum comfort and grip for sporty driving'.
Technology features heavily in DarkRebel
Clever technology includes a thermal camera on the roof that monitors the temperature of the cabin and then adjusts the climate control accordingly to keep the car's occupants comfortable. The DarkRebel informs its passengers of any changes in the interior temperature via the use of ambient backlighting to explain whether it's getting warmer or colder inside, and there's more communication from the vehicle to human via lights with the use of the fluid canvas on the upper wrapround dashboard.
Further highlights of the DarkRebel's interior include the extensive use of sustainable materials within - employing 90 per cent biodegradable bamboo - as well as a cutting-edge user experience and interface design. This is embodied in three different modes, known as Exponential Square, Exponential Cube and Exponential Infinite. In the first of these, a 3D customisable avatar that humanises the person-machine interface is part of the package and you can see this in action in one of the pictures of the DarkRebel's cabin.
There's no real world on motive power for the Cupra DarkRebel, other than to say it is a fully electric vehicle - like the company's forthcoming Tavascan SUV, due for launch in 2024.