The same thing always happens when SEAT present a new model to the press. The first question is usually the same one; “Will there be a CUPRA version?” Nowadays the CUP RACER acronym has become much more than just a version in the SEAT range; the CUPRAS are much sought after models, the ultimate expression of its sports heritage combined technology, functionality and reliability. A CUPRA, in other words, is the best example of the perfect balance between emotion and reason.
The Leon CUPRA has always stood out for its performance and its equipment, without forgetting its design and its excellent price/quality ratio. All of this has now been taken a step further. Although the CUPRA is already a successful model, we have managed to improved even further.
A complete success
As demonstrated by the sales of 9.000 units around the world in 2016 (of which 8.300 were in the European market) the success of the SEAT Leon CUPRA is undeniable. These figures put the sportiest model of the brand in the top 5 of its market segment in Europe.
In this sports car, you will find power, an amazing driving experience and the most advanced technology. This is how the driving experience of the Leon CUPRA is defined, while users of the rest of the Leon range prefer terms such as safe, reliable, elegant and functional. Now, thanks to the inclusion of the most advanced technology in safety, connectivity and multimedia, the new Leon CUPRA can offer everything without compromising intensity. The Leon CUPRA offers versatility thanks to its availability in three different body types; the 5-door version, the SC and the family ST version. The 5-door offers the possibility to add a more intense drive to your day to day life, the SC represents design and performance in its purest form and the ST combines versatility and dynamism to perfection.
SEAT’s most powerful car to date
With its 2.0 TSI engine that puts out 300 horsepower, the new Leon CUPRA is not only top of the range, but it’s now also the most powerful model in the series ever produced by SEAT. The figures related to this achievement in engine power deserve a special mention. Not only is the engine 10 horsepower more powerful (up from 290 to 300) but more importantly is the increase in maximum torque, that has increased from 350 Nm to no less than 380 Nm. This maximum torque is available in an incredibly wide range of revolutions, from 1800 to 5500 rpm. With such a wide range of use, the result is a convincing and powerful response from the engine barely ticking over all the way up to hitting the rev limiter. This is thanks, among other things, to variable valve timing on the camshaft and direct and indirect injection. Both technologies allow optimum performance to be extracted from the engine, achieving exceptional results.
The maximum speed is electronically limited to 250 km/h regardless of which gearbox is chosen, which can be either manual or automatic, both of which are 6-speeds. This performance is achieved of course with a high level of efficiency, as shown by its CO2 emissions; between 153 and 164 g/km of CO2; depending on the model. Average consumption for the SC version with automatic gearbox remains between 6.7 l/100 km and 6.8 l/100 km for the 5D version. Average consumption goes up to 7.2 l/100 km for the CUPRA ST DSG 4Drive.
The SEAT Leon CUPRA will also get four wheel drive in the family ST version together with the double-clutch DSG. Fans will surely remember that back then in 2000, the first generation of the Leon CUPRA had four wheel drive too. Now with 4Drive traction, the latest in driver assist technology, the Leon CUPRA ST DSG 4Drive will be a true exponent in terms of sports vehicles, safety and versatility.
|kW/PS||Nm @ rpm||Vmax||CO2|
|2.0 TSI||221/300||380 1800–5500||250||158|
|2.0 TSI DSG||221/300||380 1800–5500||250||153 -164|
A chassis of the highest calibre
To get the most out of such a brilliant machine, the Leon CUPRA comes with its own specific electronically controlled shock absorbers. Adaptive Chassis Control (DCC) to achieve the best degree of efficiency and control at the same time, guaranteeing not only superlative efficiency but also a smooth ride due to the fact that it can adapt to road conditions and driver style in milliseconds.
The new SEAT Leon CUPRA of course comes with the Progressive Steering System as standard. This system makes steering even easier, gives the car more agility on the trickiest of roads, gives more poise when driving quickly and parking manoeuvres can be done with fewer turns of the wheel. This all makes for a more comfortable driving experience.
Another key element is the Haldex VAQ self-locking differential. It’s characterised by its hydraulic function and electronic control. It’s also worth pointing out that its function isn’t as passive as other systems that utilise the ESP sensors to slow the inside wheel when taking a bend and deliver more power to the exterior wheel. In this case, after analysing each tyre’s grip, the Haldex clutch’s disks open and close in order to deliver 100% torque to only one wheel. Its functioning is of course perfectly coordinated alongside the rest of the electronic assist systems and takes care of applying and withholding power, thus eliminating sudden jerks when exiting tight corners. This allows the brakes to be used less frequently and means fewer interruptions to power delivery. The driver will simply notice the complete disappearance of understeer and the excellent engine performance in any given situation.
The dynamic qualities of the model can be adapted to the drivers’ tastes thanks to the CUPRA Drive Profile. There are five modes to choose – Comfort, Sport, Eco, Individual and CUPRA. The accelerator, gearbox, DCC, The Progressive Steering System and the self-locking differential have a sportier response when the CUPRA mode is in use.
The Stability Control System (ESC) can be adjusted to the demands of the driver, and there are three settings available. Upon starting the engine, the ESC system is completely connected, giving a sporty driving experience while at the same time ensuring a high level of safety. For much more demanding, dynamic use such as a race track, it can be deactivated on two levels; the first switches off traction control whilst keeping on the ESC; the second goes a step further, deactivating the ESC altogether.
The best tech
As with the other models in the new SEAT Leon range, the CUPRA comes loaded with the latest in technology and functionality. Without overlooking that are available in the current CUPRA 290, such as the Radio Media System Plus, Adaptive Cruise Control or Front Assist, we can add new improved lights thanks to the Full LED headlights that now come with the new SEAT Leon CUPRA. The indicators are now integrated with the Full LED daylights, the fog lights are also LED, and the rear indicators are LED and bigger.
In the interior, the electric handbrake, the Keyless Entry System, the wireless phone charger and the 8 inch colour touchscreen with all the latest in in-car tech, are situated on the central console. The interior lighting also employs LED technology, with the possibility to choose between 8 colours and can be adjusted along with intensity to suit any mood.
In addition to all this, the new Leon CUPRA comes with the most advanced driving assistance systems, multimedia and connectivity technology. Updated cameras and radar have been added for the Pedestrian Protection and Emergency Assist systems, and offer more precision and better accuracy for the Traffic Sign Recognition system. Traffic Jam Assist is available for the DSG versions that offer more comfort in stressful traffic jam situations.
An exclusive design with a resemblance to the Leon family
Another aspect that makes the new SEAT Leon CUPRA stand out from the rest is its enormous personality while still keeping with the design of the new Leon. On the exterior, new Full LED head-lights, including front fog lights, the B and C pillars in black and the front and rear bumpers are all exclusively designed by SEAT for the CUPRA version. Not only that, but the CUPRA gets larger air intakes at the front, double exhaust system in chrome, red brake callipers complete with the CUPRA logo, aluminium doorstep with CUPRA logo in the front door sills, as well as a rear spoiler exclusive to the CUPRA and tinted windows. There is also a Performance Pack for the new SEAT Leon CUPRA, offers an extra step up to the sportiest model in the series, black gloss 19-inch alloy wheels and with side mouldings matching the colour of the bodywork and red or black Brembo brake callipers.
Inside, the CUPRA logo dominates the white-stitched leather steering wheel. The door panels are upholstered in Alcantara® with carbon fibre details that are repeated in the sports seats. These are also upholstered in Alcantara® with perforated leather with the CUPRA logo displayed on the backrest; Alcantara® bucket seats are also an option. The pedals and footrest are aluminium plated, and there is also a second STD port available.
The exterior colour range has been expanded with two new metallic paints available; Mystery Blue and Desire Red.