What is it?
Spot the flaw in this press release: ‘The new Seat Leon Cupra 300 is the most powerful road car in the brand’s history.’ Err, hang on chaps; back in 2008 there was the Leon 310 special edition – fair enough, only 100 were made and all for the Dutch market, but 306bhp definitely trumps 296bhp in our book.
Pedantry aside, compared with the outgoing 290, the new Cupra 300 does come with a slice of extra power (10bhp) and an added wedge of torque (22lb ft) – although the latter is available across a marginally narrower rev range.
Can the Leon handle all that, though? The old car was already a little unruly compared to the most gifted hot hatches out there. Effective, yes - as its brief Nürburgring hatchback lap record, in 280 guise, proved - but in the manner of a slightly wayward tomahawk. To guide it with any degree of accuracy needed an awfully judicious touch on the throttle to avoid the differential spinning away all its power in a haze of tyre smoke and thundering axle tramp.
However, one could argue that the Cupra’s USP was always the bang for your buck rather than the last word in handling. But now the price, even for the basic manual version we’re driving, has crept ever nearer to esteemed rivals such as the Volkswagen Golf R, Ford Focus RS and BMW M140i. So, is it still worthy of consideration?