SEAT’s performance flagship, the Leon CUPRA, has received a power upgrade, taking it to the heady heights of 290 PS. Offering outstanding performance paired with excellent efficiency, the stunning design, individual equipment options and excellent quality are further points that make the Leon CUPRA a very special proposition indeed.
Among journalists and customers alike, the SEAT Leon CUPRA has attracted hordes of admirers, whether as a Sport Coupé, five-door, or the recently launched Sports Tourer version. In the trade media across Europe, the CUPRA immediately became a consistent winner in comparison tests; while its owners love its design and handling.
A concentrated hi-tech package guarantees the enormous performance of the new Leon CUPRA, with the 2.0 TSI engine, featuring dual injection and variable camshaft timing, delivering an output of 290 PS. The DCC (Dynamic Chassis Control), front differential lock, progressive steering, CUPRA Drive Profile and standard-fit full-LED headlamps are further examples of its state-of-the-art technologies.
CUPRA stands for power, performance, dynamics – and the Leon CUPRA fulfils all these promises perfectly. The CUPRA 290 with optional DSG transmission catapults from 0-62 mph in just 5.7 seconds, and in 5.8 seconds with the manual gearbox. The regulated top speed of 155 mph is a matter of course. Its maximum torque of 350Nm is now available across an even broader rev range from 1,700 to 5,800 rpm, guaranteeing impressive pulling power in every situation. Against this, the new Leon CUPRA 290 is astonishingly efficient, delivering 42.8 mpg with DSG transmission and 42.2 mpg in manual guise (Leon SC) . This equates to CO2 figures of just 149 and 156 grams.
The performance of the Leon CUPRA 290 can be raised even further with the optional Sub8 Performance Pack, which includes a set of Brembo brake callipers, an exclusive wheel design and special tyres.
From the outside, the revised version of SEAT’s swiftest hot hatch is immediately recognisable from the CUPRA 290 lettering on the tailgate. Inside, it boasts chromed trim elements, with high-gloss black available as an option. The increased power output is audible, too – a retuned exhaust system gives the sports engine an even more refined tone.
As a true sports engine, the 2.0 TSI reacts spontaneously to every pedal input and is deliciously high revving. The all-new power unit with its exceptionally responsive turbocharger is packed full with hi-tech and groundbreaking features – in the dual-injection system, the gasoline direct injection is complemented under partial load by manifold injection. Its optimum set-up reduces fuel consumption and particulate emissions. Cylinder fill is always in the optimum range – the camshafts are adjustable, with the valve lift system regulator opening on the exhaust side. The exhaust manifold is integrated into the cylinder head and is part of the innovative thermo system. A new kind of coating on the aluminium pistons and the bearings keeps friction to a minimum. The CUPRA efficiency package also includes the start/stop system and brake energy regeneration.
CUPRA has always been synonymous with outstanding dynamics, precise agility and amazing sporting character. The Leon CUPRA manages to set the bar a good deal higher – in every dimension. With the DCC, front-axle differential lock and progressive steering all fitted as standard, the new Leon CUPRA achieves considerably faster laps on the track than its already impressive predecessor. At the same time, it is significantly more relaxed to drive, with a surprisingly refined level of comfort even on long motorway journeys. Safe and reliable deceleration comes courtesy of the CUPRA-specific, high-performance brake system, recognisable through its red callipers.
The key fundamentals of the dynamics are low weight and a stiff structure. The systematic lightweight design of the Leon family is also evident on the CUPRA. The new generation of DCC developed specifically for it is even more sensitive and responsive, adapting the chassis characteristics to the prevailing conditions in a matter of milliseconds. The same applies to the driver’s preferences – with CUPRA Drive Profile permitting extensive individualisation scope.
The new front-axle differential lock significantly improves the traction and handling of this front-wheel-drive car. The system uses a multi-plate package that is hydraulically actuated and electronically controlled. The maximum locking force is 1,600 Nm and, in extreme cases, 100 per cent of the drive can be sent to one wheel. The differential lock is integrated into all the handling systems like ESC and EDS. It improves not only the traction, but also reduces torque steer. Furthermore, its sensitive control has no negative impact on steering feel.
Also included as standard equipment, the progressive steering improves the agile handling of the new Leon CUPRA. The driver experiences a precise and relaxed steering feel, less steering movement is required, reducing the number of grip changes, especially in cornering or parking manoeuvres. The steering in the new Leon CUPRA works with a progressive ratio through variable toothing on the rack.
The ESC handling system has been further developed specifically for the Leon CUPRA and enables a very sporty driving style with full retention of safety functionality. For extremely dynamic use, such as on a race track, it can also be deactivated in two stages – the first stage deactivates the traction control and puts the ESC into sport mode, permitting greater yaw angles. The second stage deactivates the ESC completely.
The CUPRA Drive Profile enables the characteristics of the Leon CUPRA to be adapted across a very wide range to meet the individual preferences of the driver. Alongside the Comfort and Sport modes, the CUPRA mode was, of course, a focal point for the engineers in Martorell. Throttle response is particularly sensitive in this setting, while the DSG operates in its sportiest shifting mode and the sound actuator supports the full tone of the turbocharged engine. DCC, progressive steering and the front-axle differential lock also operate at their sportiest settings.
The Leon CUPRA also states its position as the top model in the SEAT range through the progressive steering, dynamic chassis control, front-axle differential lock, CUPRA Drive Profile and high-performance brake system with 19-inch wheels.
Also standard equipment, are the full-LED headlamps and the LED rear lights. Alongside their distinctive design, LED headlamps have many further benefits – they illuminate the road ahead at a colour temperature of 5,300 Kelvin. Because this is very similar to daylight, it places very little strain on the eyes. When it comes to efficiency, the LEDs consume minimal energy – dipped beam, for instance, draws just 20 watts per unit.
The top sports seats in Alcantara, the CUPRA steering wheel and the Satellite Navigation System with a 6.5-inch colour touchscreen are all among the standard interior features in addition to the extensive base equipment of the Leon FR. One particular feature in the CUPRA interior is the ambient lighting. LEDs in the door panels emphasise the contours of the interior design and add to the premium feel of the passenger compartment. At the same time, the ambient lighting offers occupants improved orientation and an even greater sense of spaciousness. The colour of the LEDs can be adapted via the CUPRA Drive Profile – they glow red in CUPRA mode, with the standard setting being white.