3 July 2014

We pit two of the most powerful hot hatchbacks currently on sale head-to-head around Cadwell Park to answer that all-important question - which is fastest? Steve Sutcliffe finds out.

Read the Autocar Volkswagen Golf R review.

Read the Autocar Seat Leon Cupra review.

Join the debate


3 July 2014
can we see the video of the Golf trying to catch the Leon that was waved under our noses at the end !

3 July 2014
I think the SEAT Leon Cupra 280 could easily be the best hot hatch on sale at the moment in respects to everything and could become a hot hatch classic with a similar aura to the GTI. Despite the Golf R being ranked higher in the VW universe and the GTI being the face of the modern day hot hatch, the Leon Cupra is better and has in my opinion, stolen the baton. The Leon Cupra 280 does everything the GTI does but is slightly better in most areas and is faster around the track than a Golf R while being affordable and as practical. It is also the fastest normal fwd car (the Megane is too expensive for what essentially is a shell with only front seats) around the Nurburgring. Seat have put so much effort with this generation of Leon Cupra that it deserves success and i hope it rakes in some profits for the brand.

3 July 2014
Good video, but can someone please tell me how the Golf basically costs £5000 more? 3-door Lean Cupra 280 DSG £28530 vs 3-Door Golf R DSG £31315. That's a difference of £2785, which is some way off of 5 grand. Spec for spec is different, but if the Golf holds its value a little better than the Seat, then a leasing deal won't be much different. It would be a tough call to choose between them both, but I think the Golf might just win it for me if it was leased.

However, The Leon 280 is less than £800 more expensive than a Golf GTi DSG, and in that scenario, I think I would go Seat.

3 July 2014
I think that the price difference could be accounted for by the four wheel drive system, higher grade trim, badge... Both wonderful cars but I'd take the Golf.

3 July 2014
Can we get some different people doing videos?

Also, do any women write for autocar these days? It appears to be a complete sausage-fest at autocar HQ.

4 July 2014
The video only proves Steve is quicker than the other driver.
Unless there is published lap times for both cars?

4 July 2014
AutoExpress did timed laps of these cars with the Leon Cupra being faster that day too

4 July 2014
The Golf R has recorded 8.14 round the ring where the performance version of the Leon Cupra (Cup tyres and beefier brakes which are now official options) has obviously done it in sub 8.

So not that much in it there but without the extra complexity and weight of the 4wd system (which tends to act like a fwd system most the time anyway being Haldex) the Golf will be slower than the Leon on track in the dry at least.

Mr average driver in the wet on a uk backroad i'm pretty sure the Golf would be much more effective A to B.

4 July 2014
This debate is moot stateside. In my humble opinion where the Golf R sits there is no true competitor, having owned the R32, and being in a mountainous region there isn't another car at the 33K price range worth looking at. Sure you can have a STI (exorbitant insurance) but lacks refinement. You could even go after the Lancer EVO, however it seems as though the company is near folding here. The S3 will be 10K dearer, the BMW equivolent will be dearer still. The dollar buys you a very capable car, with plenty of everything. This yank is truly excited at this "awesome prospect" to use my native colloquialism.

4 July 2014
Polo R would be worth comparing when available.


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