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

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."

Join the debate

Add a comment…
GTIMan1973 12 April 2013

Definitely no ST, VRX or Megane

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.


toptidy 12 April 2013

Next Leon Cupra

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.


warren_S3 12 April 2013

A bit pricey

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.