SEAT S.A. is taking the lead on development of a new entry-level electric vehicle (EV) platform for the Volkswagen Group, and its boss has suggested it could incorporate all-wheel drive if the business case stacks up.

    While the larger MEB architecture used by various Group brands supports both rear- and all-wheel drive, the first MEB Entry (aka MEB-21) models have been confirmed to feature front-wheel drive.

    “I think for the smaller cars, particularly in an urban city environment, I think a front-wheel drive car is probably the best option. However, the most exciting thing for me and Cupra is neither the rear-wheel nor the front-wheel, but the four wheel,” said Wayne Griffiths, CEO of SEAT S.A. which includes both the SEAT and Cupra brands.

    “That would be the one to get to, because then you can really have fun and the thing does drive like a go-kart.

    “So that’s something I’ve always been pushing and I haven’t managed to yet, because it’s very difficult on the MEB 21 platform to get a four-wheel drive, but that is something I would really be wanting to have.”

    He said it is technically feasible, but a business case needs to be made.

    “It would have to be something at a Group level that other brands want to use as well, I think because for us on our own to afford that development would be difficult,” he added.

    “And the platform has not been laid out to do that, because one of our biggest objectives with that platform has been to make electric cars accessible in terms of price level.

    “And to do that, you obviously have to make some compromises,” he continued, indicating the platform has been developed with “affordable urban mobility” front of mind.

    “We have to make the Cupra version out of that as much like an electric go-kart as we can. Whether we need all-wheel drive to do that, I don’t know.

    “We’ll see how far we can get with the front-wheel drive, but I would keep it open as something we need to look at over time. Four-wheel drive could be interesting.”

    Cupra is no stranger to hot front-wheel drivers, however. Its Leon hatch range is offered exclusively with front-wheel drive, while some Formentor models drive the front wheels only.

    The MEB Entry platform has been confirmed for both the production UrbanRebel, due here in 2025, and the production version of this year’s Volkswagen ID.2all concept.

    The latter is being described as having an interior “as spacious as a Golf, but outside as cute and small as a Polo”. To that end, Volkswagen is reportedly weighing calling the production model the ID.2 Golf.

    Skoda is rumoured to be getting an MEB Entry model as well.

    SEAT S.A. will build MEB Entry models at its retooled Martorell plant in Spain by 2025, thanks to an investment of €3 billion (A$4.86bn).

    Its medium-term target is for the plant is an annual production volume of 500,000 vehicles.

    William Stopford

    William Stopford is an automotive journalist based in Brisbane, Australia. William is a Business/Journalism graduate from the Queensland University of Technology who loves to travel, briefly lived in the US, and has a particular interest in the American car industry.

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