Seat launches 237bhp Leon Cupra
18 July 2006

This is the new Leon Cupra, the much-anticipated go-faster version of Seat’s Focus-sized hatchback, revealed at the British motor show this morning (18 July).

Although it looks similar to the warmed-up Leon FR launched earlier this year, under the bonnet is a more powerful version of the 2.0-litre turbocharged TFSI engine, pumping out 237bhp. That makes the new Leon Cupra the most powerful production Seat ever.

Performance is brisk, with a 153mph top speed and 0-62mph in 6.4 seconds. Average fuel consumption is an impressive-for-the-performance 32.8mpg.

The chassis is lowered and lightened, with a modified power steering system that is claimed to improve feel. Stopping power is provided by 345mm ventilated discs up front, with an uprated Brembo brake system available as an option.

As you’d expect for a sporting flagship, the Leon has pumped-up styling, with extended front and rear bumpers, side skirts and a jutting exhaust pipe, while Seat is especially proud of the ebony black door mirrors and special 18-inch alloys. It does look very similar to the FR, though – and nowhere near as dramatic as the Supercopa Leon racing car.

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Inside there are deep bucket seats, red highlights on the wheel and gearstick, white instruments and a black rooflining.

Seat’s touring car drivers James Thompson and Jason Plato, unveiled the car at ExCeL. The firm’s President of the Executive Committee Dr Andreas Schleef said, “We had two reasons for unveiling the car here in London. Firstly, the UK is the strongest market for the Cupra brand. We have always been successful here in that area of the market. And secondly, the Leon is leading not only the World Touring Car Championship but also the British Touring Car Championship.”

The Leon Cupra should be on sale by January, with prices expected to start at around £20,000 – about the same as the 40bhp less powerful VW Golf GTi, but around £1000 more than the three-door only Vauxhall Astra VXR, and £2k more than the base Ford Focus ST.

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