265bhp Leon Cupra in development for 2014
Mark Tisshaw
25 September 2013

The Seat Leon Cupra has been photographed for the first time.

Due to go on sale early next year, this early prototype sports large air intakes, significantly lowered suspension and a new rear exhaust design. The new Leon Cupra will be front-drive only, but still pack around 265bhp from its 2.0-litre turbo engine.

As with the standard car, power is expected to be transmitted through either a six-speed manual or six-speed DSG gearbox.

The car's interior is expected to receive bespoke elements to seperate it from the standard Leon and three-door Leon SC

An even hotter version of the Leon, the Cupra R, is also in development. Rumours suggest it will be a 300bhp, all-wheel-drive Leon, and will act as a performance flagship for the new Leon line-up.

The model would be equipped with a highly tuned 300bhp version of the new Volkswagen Golf GTI’s EA888 engine hooked up to a dual-clutch DSG gearbox and all-wheel drive. A 0-62mph time close to 5.0sec is being indicated by sources, as is a top speed in excess of 155mph.

Other features of the Cupra R prototype, our sources indicate, include launch control and a special ‘Cupra’ driving mode that significantly sharpens up the driving experience.

Quad exhausts, lowered sports suspension and a subtle bodykit are also expected for the Cupra R, as are sports seats and new sporty trim for the interior. Three- and five-door versions of the Cupra R are plotted.

Internet rumours suggest the Cupra R will launch in 2014, after the launch of a non-R Cupra for three- and five-door and estate body styles.

Elsewhere in the Leon line-up, the Leon ST estate is in line for four-wheel drive next year, although it has yet to be decided whether this will be offered in the UK. Seat is also planning an ST with Audi Allroad-style body cladding and raised suspension for a rugged, off-road look. 

Our Verdict

Seat Leon 5dr hatch

Seat's third-generation Leon is attractive and capable, but it can't quite reach the benchmark set by the imperious Volkswagen Golf

Join the debate


31 July 2013

So now more than ever, SEAT is a VW with a less posh badge. Can one of them not have a unique vehicle? The only one that doesnt have a rebadged twin is the TT.

I understand why they do it but it makes the cars feel a lot less special

31 July 2013

@Paul896. +1

31 July 2013

As much as this car sounds great, I'd be extremely surprised if it were ever to happen.

If it does though, I could be interested.

31 July 2013

I guess it's more cost-effective for VAG to lob in a Haldex set-up compared to developing front struts that'll enable an FWD to cope with 300bhp?

Let's hope VAG has learned some lessons from Merc's AMG A45 re how to configure Haldex effectively.

1 August 2013

When you have a car with a certain modicum of power, you have two options in terms of driven wheels. You either have RWD or 4WD. Never FWD. The Oldsmobile Toronado was an American muscle car with FWD. Huge power (for the day) and FWD. The world assumed that it had gone mad. Which it appeared to have done.

Bodge to the Future

1 August 2013

And 220bhp in an Ibiza?......

Peter Cavellini.

1 August 2013

The Cupra R remains on the drawing board at present however, Autocar understands, with no confirmation on when it might be signed off.

1 August 2013

horses wrote:

The Cupra R remains on the drawing board at present however, Autocar understands, with no confirmation on when it might be signed off.


Why waste time posting in order to advertise selling horses from the USA on an English car magazine website. Don't you know, we only use horses here for food?

1 August 2013

It would be fantastic if they did bring it out. I heard rumores that it will use the same 4 wheel drive system as the Golf R (would make sense for VW's economies of scale) although i suspect that would be hard for VW to justify. With the Golf R approaching 40k, this could become the hot hatch bargain alternative of the century (if priced below 30k). Seat have done an excellent job engineering the Leon to be good to drive and they could do an excellent job with Cupra R. The only problems i can see with this car is the Seat brand (as people continue to be ignorant and badge snobs) and therefor price could become an issue, and apperance. If SEAT design the Cupra and the Cupra R to look like the Ibiza Cupra, it would turn people off. The Cupra R would have to look special to justify a higher price tag and to represent the SEAT brand as a halo model. SEAT desperately needs a real halo model. 

25 September 2013

Sadly this looks like another too big, too fast, too heavy, too complicated and too expensive hot hatch. And probably uninsurable for most of the target market. Do we really need it, and is it any wonder that none of these cars seem to be selling too well?
What made the original Golf GTi so appealing was that it was simple, light and affordable - and plenty fast enough to be fun. The only modern equivalent I can think of is the Suzuki Swift Sport, but I haven't seen many of these around either.
Has the hot hatch simply had its day?


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