Currently reading: Next Seat Leon Cupra could get 261bhp 2.0-litre engine
Spanish hot hatch to go toe-to-toe with high-performance rivals
Lewis Kingston
2 mins read
11 April 2013

A Seat engineer has told Autocar that the next generation of Seat Leon Cupra may get a 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine with as much as 261bhp.

This means that the new Spanish hot hatch will go toe-to-toe with more performance-orientated competitors like the Ford Focus ST, the Vauxhall Astra VXR and the Renault Mégane Renaultsport 265.

It also means that the new Cupra will leapfrog other upcoming MQB-based alternatives like the new Volkswagen Golf GTI, be it either in standard 217bhp or 'Performance Package' 227bhp form.

To appeal to a wider audience, Seat will offer it in both three and five-door body styles. An estate version may follow, offering an alternative to the Focus ST estate.

In order to boost traction, a neccessity when transmitting 261bhp through the front wheels, the new Cupra will benefit from a mechanical limited-slip differential.

The Cupra's new power figure also represents a significant hike in output over the previous generation, which was powered by a 236bhp, 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine.

With the old model being capable of 0-60mph in 6.2sec, it's reasonable to assume that the next-generation Cupra's additional 25bhp will, in conjunction with other improvements, aid the new car in completing the benchmark sprint in around six seconds flat.

That extra power also means the new Cupra's output will match that of the previous range-topping Cupra R. Besides indicating that the new Cupra may use a development of the R's engine, it also suggests that the next R model will offer even more power.

The new Cupra is expected to be revealed in late 2013 or early 2014, with more details being released closer to the car's launch.

There's no official line on pricing but it's rumoured that the Cupra will cost around as much as the next Golf GTI, so expect a price tag in the region of £26,000 for the three-door version.

Seat's Design Chief, Alejandro Mesonero, said "The new Cupra is already more than a current Cupra R."


Find an Autocar review

Join the debate


11 April 2013

I've driven the last model Cupra R with the 265PS engine...and i thought it was superb.

I worked at a VW dealer at the time so had also sampled the Golf GTi and R...and whilst the Golfs were undoubtedly more refined and plush....the Cupra R did it for me. It was raw, fast and fun. Tremendous!

The closest match to it was the Scirocco R but it was £6k more!

Pleased to see it will be making a reappearance in this model, which is lighter so it should be even faster and have better co2 / mpg claimed figures, possibly stop/start too now i would imagine.

11 April 2013

Dear Seat

Please, please, please make the estate version available in the uk.

The Focus is just too sh!t to consider.

11 April 2013

Can't help thinking VW will be watching Seat very carefully to make sure it doesn't eclipse the next Golf R, either in performance or sporting character.

11 April 2013

Has an R been confirmed? This could be news that an R is not wanted/needed anymore by Seat due to cost.

Hope they keep focused on making their models fast as i would like to see a Mii Cupra. Although that sounds a bit like Mea Culpa.


12 April 2013

That's where it falls down, the SAME price as a Golf,areVW scared that Seat will sell more of theirs?,does Seat think it's on a Par with the Golf? (sorry, pun not noticed).

12 April 2013

What separates the GTI from all the rest is preceisly the fact that it is NOT focused on outright performance, not even with the performance pack option.  It has always been about providing that finely tuned blend of usable perforance with comfort and refinement in a car that is easy to live with, reliable, and not overy flashy.

If you want a car that is faster than a GTI, don't get a GTI.  Simple as that.





12 April 2013

I bought one of the last Mk1 Leon Cupra R variants (1.8T 20v 225PS) in mid 2005 for £16,900 from SMC. It was cheaper than the Golf back then, and with more power available, better brakes, and arguably a more interesting car than the Mk4 Golf GTi on paper and on the road it was a surefire winner.

However the Golf has returned to some form since then, and pitching the more powerful Cupra at GTi money is  big ask for the SEAT. In Mk3 form is appears to be a better product that the Mk2 it replaces, but at £27k it's not a cheap car. 

Always had a soft spot for the Leon, very capable and usually up there at the top of it's class for thrills vs. it's VAG peers, but unless dealer discounts are on offer this could be a tough sell.

12 April 2013

Sounds great - the sooner the better! After all Seat was supposed to be the sporty brand within VAG.

I had a first-gen Cupra which was great but would not have entertained the next one - mostly because of how it looked, but also because VAG seemed determined to make it less desirable than the Golf by not offering options like leather seats (my original had these, complete with electric adjustment and memory). 

Some markets even got the first-gen Leon with the V6 and 4-wheel-drive from the VR6 Golf.

Just so long as they can keep the pricing competitive I would much prefer it to an ST, VRX or Megane.


12 April 2013

I agree toptidy, as much as I'm not so keen on the Leon, I'd sooner have one over any of the others mentioned.

I just don't see how this is going to do well at the same price as a GTI unless it really does have some spectacular performance figures that justify it.  That would alter the market that the car is aimed at, and not really tred on the toes of the more sedate GTI.

You either want a GTI for what it represents, or you get something else that meets your need.  Simple really.


Add your comment

Log in or register to post comments

Find an Autocar car review