Seat has announced details of the new Leon Cupra performance hatchback that will go toe to toe with the VW Golf R, BMW M135i and Honda Civic Type R.
The Leon Cupra’s predecessor was a Nurburgring record-holder for a while so Seat could have been lazy, but instead it has upped the power output to 290PS (286bhp) of the 2.0-litre TSI petrol to ensure it stays with the pack.
In doing so 0-62mph takes 5.7 seconds (the same as the old Leon Cupra 280) with the DSG automatic and 5.8 seconds with the manual. Top speed is restricted to 155mph, while torque is 350Nm from 1,700rpm ─ lower down than the previous Leon Cupra.
Fuel economy remains a strong point, with a claimed 42.8mpg available if you take it steady (slightly less than the previous 44.1mpg), while the CO2 emissions come in at 149g/km rising to 156g/km for the manual (about the same), thanks to Stop/Start fuel-saving goodness.
Aesthetic and performance tweaks are subtle and include Cupra 290 badges on the tailgate, a retuned exhaust system that is said to give ‘an even more refined tone’ and full-LED headlamps and rear lights.
It also gets sports seats in Alcantara, a Cupra steering wheel, navigation via a 6.5-inch colour touchscreen linked to an infotainment system, red brake calipers, 19-inch alloy wheels and ambient lighting that either glows white in the standard setting and red in Cupra mode.
Cupra mode, for the uninitiated, is a sports setting that heightens the throttle response and adjusts the gearbox for a sportier, more aggressive drive.
The new Leon also benefits from a new front-axle differential lock that can send 100 per cent of power to just one wheel and progressive steering that steers more with less input so there’s less need to let go of the wheel to adjust your grip.
Those who crave even more performance-oriented gubbins can go for the Sub8 performance packed (named so because the old Leon lapped the Nurburgring in less than eight minutes), which adds Brembo brake calipers, unique alloy wheels and special tyres ─ most likely Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2.
No word on a price just yet, but we hazard a guess it will remain around the £27,000 mark for the manual rising to £28,000 for the automatic. In the meantime, have a look for yourself.