The London Motor Show, being held from 18 to 30 July, is the backdrop chosen by SEAT to unveil its most powerful car to date – the León Cupra. Its 240 hp signals a landmark in the history of the Spanish maker, and the presentation of this model also coincides with the celebration of the SEAT León’s sporting success, not only at the World Touring Car Championship, but also at the British Touring Car Championship, where SEAT leads both classifications.
The new León Cupra is hitting the roads – a vehicle in which SEAT has implemented all of the knowledge gained during the current successful World Touring Car Championship season; the Spanish make is, in fact, one of the favourites for the WTCC constructors and drivers championship. For SEAT, whose goal is to create sporty cars with cutting-edge design and the latest technology, the arrival of the new León Cupra is not just a source of satisfaction and pride; it is also essential.
The new Cupra is also a record-breaking car: it is the most powerful SEAT passenger car to date. With 240 hp, the new model sits at the top of SEAT’s sporty range. The León Cupra’s advanced engineering, allied to its agile chassis, looks set to create a stir in the increasingly competitive hot hatch market.
One outstanding feature of the Cupra series has been its powerful and aggressive styling compared with the rest of the range. This is also the case for the new León Cupra.
From the outside, the León Cupra demands attention. Its exclusive front bumper has larger air intakes than usual in order to enable sufficient airflow to cool the 240 hp engine, which purrs away under the chiselled bonnet.
An outstanding feature at the rear of the car is the lower section’s black finish, which emulates the León WTCC’s diffusers. Another unique Cupra feature is the polished steel oval exhaust pipe. The word “CUPRA”, which appears below the rear logo, marks out the new model from other versions. In profile, the Cupra’s most striking feature is its stunning, exclusively designed 7.5J x 18” wheels, as well as the ‘ébano’ black door mirrors.
But to really appreciate the feeling of being in a true sports car, you actually need to step into the new Cupra. The ultra-sporty seats are the first feature which catches the eye. In fact, the Cupra’s seats are so focussed that they could genuinely be racing car seats. They surround the body and include an integrated head restraint.
The second feature that sets the Cupra apart from other versions of the León is its black interior. The car’s pillars and roof are black instead of the usual cream-grey combination. The Cupra’s interior colour scheme perfectly sets off its key features: the striking leather perforated steering wheel against a red background, the gear stick, the white instrument panel and the sporty metal pedals. Each and every one of these parts bears the unmistakable Cupra logo.
A racing car at heart
Now let’s turn to the León Cupra’s key feature, the reason why customers will go for this model over any other: its spectacular 2.0 TFSI 240 hp engine. This is the most powerful engine ever installed in a SEAT production car.
With this engine, the León Cupra achieves performance worthy of a WTCC track car with a top speed of 247 km/h, or 153 mph. The Cupra accelerates from 0 to 100 in only 6.4 seconds. Furthermore, it covers the first 1000 metres in only 26.4 seconds. In terms of in-gear acceleration, the León Cupra goes from 80 km/h to 120 km/h in fifth gear in 6.4 seconds. In sixth gear, this takes 8.2 seconds.
Even though the car’s performance is highly sporty, it is also capable of returning impressive fuel consumption, with an average of only 8.6 litres per 100 km (around 32.8 mpg). (Performances and consumption provisional).
A racing chassis
In order to successfully transfer all of the engine’s power to the road, the suspension elements of the León’s proven and effective agile chassis have been adapted, while its weight has been reduced. The power steering system has also been modified in order to give the Cupra an even sharper feel compared with other Leóns. These changes provide the highest levels of driving precision, as expected from the most focussed and sporty model in the SEAT range.
The Cupra’s high performance capabilities require brakes that are equally impressive - and the new model delivers, with a powerful system featuring striking red-painted callipers. The front ventilated discs are sized at 345x30 mm, which is larger than those used on the rest of the range. And if that was not enough, the Cupra can also be fitted with an even more capable Brembo brake system as an option. This four-piston system offers enhanced stopping performance and improved resistance to high temperatures.
Another León Cupra feature worked on by SEAT is the all-important soundtrack from the engine bay. New SEAT SOUND exhaust systems have been developed so that drivers can really experience the sporty nature of the Cupra. These systems boost the richness of the engine sound and the feeling of power at low revs, and can be experienced both outside and inside the car.
The feeling of sporty acoustics and sheer engine power is accentuated when moving off from a standing start, performing low-speed manoeuvres, accelerating and braking at full speed and at low revs.
The León Cupra, which could be called the road car version of the León WTCC, shows off the technological skills used in vehicle design, development and production by SEAT. It was created both at the SEAT Martorell site.