The Leon Cupra packs a hefty 240bhp punch and gives this most sporty of SEATs the clout to top 150mph flat out and accelerate from 0-62mph in 6.4 seconds.
All of which is impressive stuff and places the Cupra firmly in the hot hatch superpower set, along with the Ford Focus ST, Vauxhall Astra VXR and Megane Renaultsport, all of which offer considerably more than 200bhp.
All of that power comes from a reworked version of the turbocharged 2.0-litre FSI engine which sees service in many Volkswagen Group products, from Skoda to Audi.
However, this engine will be available exclusively to SEAT, and builds on the 200bhp offered by the Leon FR thanks to a larger turbo, reworked internals and a reprogrammed ECU.
The chassis has also come in for attention and is 7mm lower than the FR’s, while the brakes are upgraded to cope with the extra power.
Visual changes include bespoke 18-inch alloys, deeper front air intakes to create a more aggressive look, while inside are Cupra-branded instruments, steering wheel and gearknob, plus more hugging bucket seats and metal-covered pedals.
SEAT has enjoyed much success among user-choosers with the previous Leon, and it expects to do even better this time around with it and its FR siblings.
Around 1,000 Cupras will make their way to the UK in 2007, with 35-40% being bought with company money. Add in 60% of the 3,500 FRs sold going to fleets and the two sports models will make up around 45% of Leon sales in the UK during 2007.
Behind the wheel
WITH front-wheel drive and 240bhp to distribute, you’d think the Leon would be a torque-steering monster, always struggling for grip as the accelerator is pressed.
This isn’t the case, as SEAT has refined the chassis and traction control systems to make deploying all that power fuss-free.
And that’s where the Cupra falls down slightly. It offers too much of a compromise to being comfortable to mark it out as a real superhatch like the Astra VXR.
SEAThas already devised a fast and comfortable formula in its Leon FR models, and the Cupra was a chance for it to really go to town and make this a fast and furious hot hatch. In the end it doesn’t feel too much different from the 200bhp FR Leon in performance terms, with all that refinement masking the extra 40bhp on tap.
THERE’S no doubt that the Leon Cupra offers a lot of car for the money, but it doesn’t feel that much quicker than the FR. However, the added visual drama makes it stand out on the road.
Model: Leon Cupra
Max power (bhp/rpm): 240/5,700
Max torque (lb-ft/rpm): 221/2,200
Max speed (mph): 154
0-62mph (secs): 6.4
Fuel consumption (mpg): 34.0
CO2 emissions (g/km): 199
On sale: March Price (OTR): £19,595