The new Seat Leon Cupra hot hatch will be launched by early 2014, senior company officials have confirmed. At the other end of the line-up, there will also be a new super-frugal Ecomotive model with sub 89g/km CO2 emissions.
Speaking to Autocar on the launch of the new third-generation Leon five-door, design chief Alejandro Mesonero said the new Cupra line-up would encompass all three of the new Leon’s bodystyles: the SC three-door, the five-door hatchback and the ST estate.
The standard three-door model is due to be revealed at the Geneva motor show in March 2013, and the estate at Frankfurt in September 2013. The Cupra models are expected to be shown in late 2013 or early 2014, R&D chief Matthias Rabe confirmed.
Mesonero said the styling of the new Seat Leon Cupra was already complete, describing it as “stunning”. Expect alloys of 18in in size, a lower ride height and a bodykit for each of the three Leon Cupra models, plus bespoke flourishes such as different finishes for the front grille and other exterior and interior trim additions.
In terms of dynamics, Rabe said the new Cupra would likely match the performance of the current Cupra R. However, it’s likely to be down on power on the current 261bhp turbocharged 2.0-litre Cupra R, producing around 240bhp from a 2.0-litre turbo engine. Even so, the new Cupra’s lighter weight should mean it matches the more powerful model for performance.
Rabe, who has already driven test mules of the car, said the longer wheelbase and wider tracks of the new Leon made the new Cupra an even more dynamic proposition than the existing Cupra R. “The new Cupra is already more than a current Cupra R,” he said.
Both Rabe and Mesonero played down the potential launch for a Cupra R successor in the short-medium term, but sources have previously indicated a version of the new Leon is in the product plan.
Rabe also confirmed the new Seat Leon Ecomotive would have “less than 89g/km CO2 emissions”. It’s likely to match or come close to matching the new 85g/km, 88.3mpg VW Golf BlueMotion that’s launching in the middle of next year.
Mesonero said there were no real styling changes for the Ecomotive. Instead, modifications from the standard car will be restricted to technical updates such as low rolling resistance tyres and optimised aerodynamics.
The decision to expand the Leon line-up to three models has been made so the five-door model no longer has to perform the split roles of sporty hatch and family transport; the hidden door handles of the five-door, for instance, have been canned as Seat says it no longer has to hide the car’s family hatchback intentions.