SEAT Leon Cupra 2.0

TSI

SEAT Leon Cupra, front
SEAT Leon Cupra, front
SEAT Leon Cupra, front
SEAT Leon Cupra, front
SEAT Leon Cupra, side
SEAT Leon Cupra, rear
SEAT Leon Cupra, rear
SEAT Leon Cupra, rear
SEAT Leon Cupra, interior

SEAT'S Leon Cupra has always been there or thereabouts when it comes to desirable hot hatches and the latest version is no exception.

A power upgrade means the Cupra is now packs an impressive 300ps, which puts it on a par with a Volkswagen Golf R.

The uprated 2.0 TSI turbo engine manages to deliver an extra 10ps than previously and maximum torque has increased from 350Nm to 380Nm.

It will complete the 0-62mph sprint in 5.8 seconds and reach a top speed of 155mph.

When it arrived the Cupra was SEAT'S most powerful road car to date, though it was slightly outdone by the Cupra R, which puts out 310ps.

The differences between the Cupra and Cupra R are marginal though and it's academic anyway as all 24 Cupra Rs which made their way to the UK some time back were snapped-up.

On paper there's very little between them, though the Cupra R's suspension and aerodynamic upgrades give it a slight edge.

To complicate matters further, and somewhat bizarrely, the estate version of the Cupra is actually the most powerful version you can currently buy, due to the fact the ST comes with Haldex four-wheel-drive mated to a double-clutch automatic gearbox.

Putting all that power through four wheels rather than two makes a lot of sense and gives it a distinct advantage.

It will take you from 0 to 60mph in just 4.9 seconds making it a rather unusual estate car.

Four-wheel drive is only available on the ST.

Going back to the Cupra R, it boasted some more sporty styling flourishes including wider wheelarches, a deeper front bumper, extended side skirts and a tailgate spoiler.

While they had a dual styling and aerodynamic purpose the standard Cupra in many ways benefits from not being too over the top.

It is not one of those garish hot hatches that draws attention - rather it is understated and almost sedate.

To my mind this is a good thing. There are plenty of people who want pure performance without exaggerated features and the Cupra does just that.

Even the 19-inch alloys and red brake callipers don't overstate things.

On top of that you get all the practicality of a regular Leon family hatchback - even more in the ST.

The Cupra 300 comes with dynamic chassis control, a progressive steering system and electronic self-locking differential as standard.

It features a multi-mode drive control system allowing the driver to choose from comfort, sport, individual and Cupra modes.

As one might expect the last of those offers a more extreme driving experience.

Comfort is suited to everyday motoring and ensures the Cupra copes admirably as an everyday motor.

The sport setting is fun and suitably engaging while Cupra mode takes it to a more fun level and makes for an exhilarating drive.

If you are pushing it you can rest assured that the Cupra offers plenty of reassurance, unless you switch everything off - which is an option.

Safety and driving aids include traffic jam assist, lane assist, adaptive cruise control and pedestrian protection, electric parking brake and keyless entry.

There is also an integrated media system, an infotainment system with eight-inch screen and a connectivity hub that comprises a smartphone wireless charger and a GSM antenna amplifier to boost signal coverage.

FAST FACTS

SEAT Leon Cupra 2.0 TSI

Price: £30,495

Mechanical: 300ps, 1,984cc, 4cyl petrol engine driving front wheels via 6-speed manual gearbox

Max Speed: 155mph

0-62mph: 5.8 seconds

Combined MPG: 40.9

Insurance Group: 33

C02 emissions: 158g/km

Bik rating: 35%

Warranty: 3yrs/60,000 miles

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