This is the Cupra DarkRebel, and it’s a car that doesn’t exist. Some form of potentially immobile show car based on it may exist in the future, but for now, the DarkRebel is a car for the internet. Well, not really for the internet, but on the internet. In the words of Seat-spinoff Cupra, the DarkRebel is “a fully-virtual sports car,” which means it only currently exists in your browser.
The general idea is that configurations generated by people should theoretically have some impact on an eventual show car and people can configure a Cupra DarkRebel at – wait for it – hyperconfigurator dot metahype dot com. Once you punch this mildly nauseating combination of buzzwords into your browser, you’re greeted with a screen that says the following:
Select your degree of exponentiation and create your own Cupra DarkRebel. Your version, as well as the ones from the Cupra Tribe, will influence the character of the final physical model.
Degree of exponentiation? I know that PR wants to make this stunt seem futuristic but all the copy around it has the same idle-minded inauthenticity as a movie character trying to “hack the mainframe” while clearly punching gibberish into MS-DOS.
Hit start on the configurator, and you’re presented with what I can only assume are three hypothetical trim levels of Cupra DarkRebel: Two, three, and infinite. Except the first to are actually called square and cube. Try to prevent your eyes from rolling so far back into your head that your spine slides out your anus. The two and three look kind of like concept cars that could actually exist, but the infinite has more glowing surfaces than a public toilet under a blacklight.
Select a trim level, let the next screen load, and a disclaimer pops up saying that “You have 3 minutes left to finish your Cupra DarkRebel. Please hurry up!” I’m sorry, what? Three minutes? When was the last time you did anything in under three minutes, much less configured a car you’ve never seen before in your life? Still, it’s worth a shot, so let’s find out what’s what.
After hitting enter, the virtual gates open to a configurator that’s surprisingly clunky and imprecise. There are colors to choose from although you need to move vaguely-marked sliders to select one, and the exterior lighting has a handful of patterns that can be cycled through. In addition, certain surfaces on the virtual car look unfinished, like the jagged edge near the bottom of the front bumper. If this impresses anyone, old flash-based configurators will blow their wormholes into alternate dimensions.
Weirdly enough, interior view doesn’t let you do anything but look around, and some random avatar is waving at you from atop the steering column. Frankly, the graphics in here could be a lot better, as some of the shadows have jagged inconsistencies and surfaces like the upholstery are lacking detail. It all feels very state-of-the-art circa 2011.
At the moment, the Cupra DarkRebel is part of the greater metaverse concept, integrated into a world of NFTs and virtual experiences. We’re talking about a digital place where users could theoretically eat virtual food without any of the glorious flavors and aromas of actual food, wear virtual outfits that cost as much as real clothes, and look at virtual cars that will never be tangible. What pathetic bastard looks at the world we live in and thinks things would be better online? Have they never smelled full-bodied petrichor before a summer storm, run their hand through the breeze, laughed with good friends at last call or pondered the stars?
People who are too afraid to live can keep their perpetual hell of microtransactions, their toasters connected to the internet for some reason, and their paranoia of camera doorbells and neighborhood social media. I’ll take the real thing every single time, which is why I’m not having this virtual DarkRebel concept until Cupra builds a real one. Give me a real shitbox over a virtual sports car any day of the week.
(Photo credits: Cupra)
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