Seat is launching the fastest-yet Leon at the Madrid show next week.
There will be both petrol and diesel FRs. The TFSi petrol has a 197bhp turbocharged petrol that takes it, Seat claims, to 60mph in 7.3 seconds.
The TDi takes 8.2 seconds over the same increment, but has considerably more torque: 258lb ft versus 207.
The honeycomb front air intake has apparently been inspired by the company's touring cars.
Prices are to be announced after the Madrid show, but expect a £500 premium for the diesel and a list price of around £17,000 for the petrol FR.
Vauxhall wants £17,875 for the Astra SRi petrol, which gets to 60mph in 7.9 seconds; VW asks £17,300 for its 150bhp Golf GT. The bargain remains the entry-level specification Focus ST, for which Ford demands £17,495 - it gets to 60mph in 6.5 seconds.
The range-topping Cupra is not due for launch until the end of this year or the start of 2007. It will be the car to fight the likes of the Golf GTi, Focus ST and Astra VXR.