CUPRA triumphs at the 2021 Golden Steering Wheel awards. The Spanish challenger, which places emotion at the heart of driving, celebrated a triple victory, making it the most successful brand at one of the most important global competitions in the automotive industry.
The gala event, held on 9 November at the Axel-Springer-Haus in Berlin, was presented by German television personality Barbara Schöneberger.
Successes in three competitive categories
The CUPRA Leon won the Golden Steering Wheel in the “Small & Compact Cars” category, while the CUPRA Born, the brand’s first all-electric model, came out top in “Small & Compact Electric Cars”. To round things off, the 287 kW (390 PS) CUPRA Formentor VZ5 came out on top in the star-studded “SUV” category.
“Three years ago, a group of believers had a dream: to create an entirely different brand. Big dreams start with a few believers “said Wayne Griffiths, CEO of CUPRA. “The CUPRA Formentor VZ5 is the ultimate statement what CUPRA is capable of achieving in the combustion world. Racing is part of CUPRA’s DNA and we will continue this way with our future electric models: the CUPRA Tavascan in 2024 and our CUPRA Urban Rebel in 2025.The hattrick with three Goldene Lenkräde shows that the CUPRA Formentor is not a one hit wonder and that more and more customers are looking to join the CUPRA Tribe.”
The CUPRA Formentor VZ5 faced stiff competition in the “SUV” category. Voters had a total of 17 cars from 12 different brands to choose from in the first stage, with the top three making it through to the final at the Lausitzring circuit in northeast Germany. There, the most powerful CUPRA of all time impressed with its 2.5-litre five-cylinder engine, with 287kW (390PS) of power and maximum torque of 480Nm. The design, interior, safety and technical features also contributed to the expert jury naming the CUPRA Formentor VZ5 the winner.
Best “Small & Compact Electric Car”
There may have only been five candidates in the “Small & Compact Electric Cars” category, but all of them were strong vehicles from renowned competitors.
This category showed, however, how the CUPRA Born is shifting the market as the impulse of a new era. The first 100% electric vehicle from the unconventional challenger brand delivers an emotional design and instantaneous performance, while challenging the status quo.
“We believe electric vehicles shouldn’t be boring. For this reason, we’ve developed a car with a strong CUPRA character that proves that electrification and performance are a perfect match,” said Dr Werner Tietz, Vice-President of R&D at CUPRA. “The CUPRA Born is the brand’s first 100% electric model and the impulse in the EV sector. It is leading the brand’s expansion into new markets, delivering new business models and marks an enormous shift in the industry. The CUPRA Born is a game-changing vehicle; environmentally conscious while inherently dynamic and exciting.”
Best “Small & Compact Car”
The CUPRA Leon is the first Leon to feature the CUPRA badge and is setting new standards in its segment when it comes to design, connectivity and safety. “Auto Bild” readers had a choice of 11 competitors, plus the Leon, in this category, with only three qualifying for the final at the Lausitzring circuit– where the CUPRA Leon won over the expert jury.
“Together with Wayne, I am one of the co-founders of the CUPRA brand and these 3 years have been a crazy journey inspiring the world from Barcelona,” said Antonino Labate, Director of Strategy, Business Development and Operation at CUPRA. “We are here representing the whole CUPRA Tribe, a group of rebels with a progressive mindset that loves to challenge the status quo making incredible things happen. The CUPRA Leon or, as we like to call it, the King of Leons, is helping us to win over even the most demanding car enthusiast, grow the brand, and take its vehicles to an even broader audience.”
Customer and expert jury ratings combined
The “Golden Steering Wheel” competition was set up by Axel Springer, Europe’s largest publishing house, in 1976. Long established as the most important award in the automotive industry in Germany, its combination of reader and expert jury votes makes it so highly coveted. Editors make the initial vehicle selection before “Auto Bild” and “Bild am Sonntag” readers vote for their top three in the various categories. These finalists are then put through their paces and rated by an expert jury at the Lausitzring. This year’s jury included former racing drivers Hans-Joachim Stuck and Maximilian Götz, TV-host Lina Van de Mars and TV Chef Steffen Henssler, current racing drivers Isolde Holderied and Sophia Flörsch, and many other experts.
Twelve different categories
A total of 12 “Golden Steering Wheel” awards were presented this year. As well as gold in the eight vehicle classes “Small & Compact Cars”, “Small & Compact Electric Cars”, “SUV”, “Electric SUV”, “Mid-Range and Premium Class”, “Electric Mid-Range and Premium Class”, “Sports Cars” and “Vans/Family Steering Wheel”, there was a “Golden Steering Wheel” for the “Innovation of the Year”. The “Most Attractive Car” category was a reader’s choice award. The “Best Car up to 25,000 Euros” and the “Best Car up to 35,000 Euros” awards were decided by the editors of “Auto Bild”.