While the North American market is prepping for the upcoming 2014 Detroit Auto Show , in European people are focusing on the 2014 Geneva Motor Show , which is set to open its doors later in March. Seat is one of many automakers heading to Switzerland, and it till bring one of the most powerful Leon’s ever: the new Leon SC Cupra 280.
As you probably have guessed it, the name says it all, as it will be a sports coupe with no less than 280 horsepower — get it, SC 280! This output will come from a 2.0-liter, turbocharged four-cylinder engine combined with a six-speed manual gearbox.
Along with this powerful engine, the new Leon SC Cupra 280 will also be equipped with a sport suspension, a limited-slip differential, a set of 19-inch alloy wheels and a high-performance brake system. Seat will also install a sporty aerodynamic package and liven up the interior a little.
On the British market prices for the new Leon SC Cupra 280 will start from £26,940 - or about $44k at the current exchange rates.
Updated 01/08/2014: This review was updated with the official details, images and prices.
Click past the jump to read more about the 2014 Seat Leon SC Cupra 280.
The new Leon SC Cupra 280 is distinguished by a new front end that features large air intakes and full-LED headlamps. The rear end is updated with a new skirt that houses a diffuser and two oval tailpipes.
Also, when compared to the rest of the Cupra models, the new 280 version gets an Aerodynamic Pack that includes a new spoiler on the rear roof edge, black exterior mirror housing and new 19-inch wheels with a titanium paint finish and Cupra lettering on the brake calipers.
For the interior the SC Cupra 280 will add sports seats in standard dark grey Alcantara finished with white stitching or optional black full-leather upholstery with the same white stitching.
Other updates include a sport steering wheel with shifter paddles for the optional DSG transmission, plus aluminum pedals and entry sills.
Under the hood of the new SC Cupra 280, Seat placed a new 2.0-liter turbocharged engine that delivers a total of 280 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque between 1,750 rpm to 5,300 rpm. The engine is mated to a standard six-speed manual gearbox or an optional DSG transmission.
With the DSG gearbox, the Cupra 280 goes from 0 to 60 mph in 5.7 seconds and 5.8 seconds with the manual gearbox. Top speed is limited to 155 mph.
Drivetrain Specifications |
| Engine Type | 2.0-Liter TSI Four-Cylinder |
| Output (Horsepower @ RPM) | 280 @ TBA |
| Torque (LB-FT @ RPM) | 258 @ 1,750 - 5,300 |
| Standard Transmission | Six-Speed Manual |
| Optional Transmission | Six-Speed DSC |
| Acceleration (0-62 MPH) | 5.8 Sec (Manual) / 5.7 Sec (DSG) |
| Top Speed | 155 MPH (Electronically Limited) |
Suspension and Brakes
When compared to the previous generation, the new Cupra will be about 121 pounds lighter, thanks to the use of a systematic lightweight design. As a standard feature, the model will offer Dynamic Chassis Control, a front-axle differential lock and progressive steering, which all help achieve faster laps on the track.
Another feature included is the ESC handling system offered in two stages. Stage one deactivates and the ECS is in sport mode, while the second stage deactivates the ESC completely.
The new Seat Leon SC Cupra 280 will be priced at £26,940 (about $44k at the current exchange rates). Customers can place their orders now, and first deliveries will be made in early March 2014.
|SC Cupra 280||3||£26,940|
|SC Cupra 280 DSG||3||£28,225|
|Cupra 280 DSG||5||£28,525|
With its 280 horsepower, the new Leon SC Cupra 280 aims against the most powerful hatchbacks on the European market. One of these models is the new Golf R which gets a 2.0-liter four-cylinder with 296 horsepower at 5,500 rpm and 280 pound-feet of torque delivered between 1,800 and 5,500 rpm.
Thanks to its extra 16 horsepower, the Golf R is a little bit faster, with a 0 to 60 mph sprint time going down to 4.9 seconds, while top speed is still limited to 155 mph.
Gallery Volkswagen Golf R
Another cool hatchback offered in Europe is the Focus RS. Ford is currently working on a new generation, that seems to be a little bit more powerful than the current model. It will get a 2.3 liter four-cylinder engine with an output increased to 320 horsepower - up 20 horsepower from the current generation.
Gallery Ford Focus RS
The new Seat Leon SC Cupra 280 is a more powerful version of the new-generation Leon Cupra, with a more powerful engine, improved performance figures and a more aggressive exterior look.
- Powerful engine
- Both manual and DSG gearbox
- Improved aerodynamic features
- Not as fast as competition
Gallery Seat Leon SC Cupra 280
SEAT today unveils the quickest and most powerful series production car it has ever made: the SEAT Leon Cupra 280.
Every Leon Cupra completes the benchmark 0-62 mph sprint in less than six seconds, while all manual versions return exceptional 44.1 mpg average fuel consumption.
But the Leon Cupra is a car whose development was led by the pursuit of dynamic excellence. To that end, every Leon Cupra comes as standard with a mechanical front axle differential lock, a progressive steering system that sharpens the turn-in for improved agility, DCC dynamic chassis control to alter the suspension settings between sportier or more comfort-oriented, and two-stage deactivation of the electronic stability control (ESC) – including the ability to turn it off entirely.
These are on top of fundamental changes compared to the previous Leon Cupra: the new Leon is built on an all-new chassis, with a wider front track and fully independent suspension front and rear.
“The new Leon Cupra is pure SEAT: emotion and performance, design and dynamics combine to deliver driving fun mile after mile. State-of-the-art technology is evident in its enormous precision, but also in its compelling efficiency,” stresses Dr. Matthias Rabe, Vice President of SEAT S.A. for Research and Development. “The new Cupra is a sports car for every day; it feels just as much at home on the race track as it does on the long haul.”
The Leon Cupra models embody the SEAT brand values in the best possible way. They combine exhilarating dynamics, state-of-the-art technology, stunning design, premium quality, outstanding efficiency and excellent everyday usability.
“With the new Leon Cupra, the SEAT brand is once more taking a major leap forward. The Cupra is a refined, high-performance car that combines its expressive dynamics with relaxed long-distance comfort and a compelling, high-quality feel,” says Jürgen Stackmann, CEO of SEAT S.A. “Driving fun and great design comes with every Leon, but the new Cupra displays SEAT expertise in a whole new dimension. We are proud of this new brand icon and certain of its success.”
The drive: stunning performance as standard
Cupra stands for power, performance and dynamics – and the new Leon Cupra and Cupra 280 have all those qualities in abundance. The Cupra 280, with optional DSG transmission, catapults from zero to 62 mph in just 5.7 seconds, or 5.8 seconds with the six-speed manual gearbox equipped; every Cupra model has a 155 mph limited top speed.
The 350 Nm maximum torque of both versions spreads from just 1,750 rpm all the way up to 5,300 rpm, guaranteeing impressive pulling power and overtaking flexibility.
Against this, the new Leon Cupra is astonishingly efficient. The average fuel consumption for both power variants is just 44.1 mpg with a manual gearbox equipped, and 42.2 mpg with DSG. This equates to CO2 figures of just 149 g/km and 155 g/km; by comparison the second generation Leon Cupra R with 265 PS emitted 190 g/km CO2.
The engine: cutting edge technology
As a true sports engine, the 2.0 TSI turbo petrol unit of the Leon Cupra and Cupra 280 reacts spontaneously to every movement of the accelerator pedal and is wonderfully high revving. This is paired with a rich and refined sound that is aided and modulated by a standard sound actuator.
The all-new power unit, with its exceptionally responsive turbocharger, is packed with hi-tech and ground-breaking features. The dual-injection system, for example, combines direct injection with manifold injection under partial load, which optimises fuel economy and reduces particulate emissions. Cylinder fill is always in the optimum range: the camshafts are adjustable, with the valve lift system regulating opening on the exhaust side. The exhaust manifold is integrated into the cylinder head and is part of the intelligent thermal management system. In addition, a new kind of coating on the aluminium pistons and the bearings keeps friction to a minimum.
And like every other Leon in the range, the Cupra efficiency package also includes Start/Stop and Energy Recovery systems.
The chassis: dynamic precision
The key fundamentals of the dynamics are low weight and a stiff structure. The systematic lightweight design of the new Leon family is evident in the Cupra: despite considerably improved equipment, the new generation weighs 55 kg less than its comparable predecessor.
The Cupra name has always been synonymous with outstanding dynamics, precise agility and amazing sporting character. In every way, the new Leon Cupra manages to set the bar a good deal higher than any of its predecessors. With DCC dynamic chassis control, a 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 comfortable, with surprising refinement on long motorway journeys. Safe, strong and consistent stopping power comes courtesy of the Cupra-specific, high-performance brake system, recognisable by its red callipers.
DCC dynamic chassis control
The new generation of the DCC dynamic chassis control developed specifically for the Cupra is even more sensitive than that available with the Leon FR, adapting the chassis characteristics to the prevailing conditions in a matter of milliseconds.
Front-axle differential lock
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% 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 eliminates torque steer. Furthermore, its sensitive control has no negative impact on steering feel.
Also included as standard equipment, the progressive steering system improves the agile handling of the new Leon Cupra. The driver experiences a precise and relaxed steering feel because less steering movement is required, which reduces the number of grip changes, especially in cornering or parking manoeuvres. The system works using a progressive ratio through variable toothing on the rack.
The ESC handling system has been further developed specifically for the 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.
Cupra Drive Profile
The Cupra Drive Profile enables the characteristics of the new 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 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 accentuates the full tone of the turbocharged engine. DCC dynamic chassis control, progressive steering and the front-axle differential lock also operate at their sportiest settings.
The design: emotional and powerful
Emotional design is a great strength of the Leon family. For the new Cupra, this has been developed one step further. The new front end, with its large air intakes and full-LED headlamps, ensures a powerful look, as does the rear skirt with its diffuser effect and the two oval end pipes. The alloy wheels are exclusive to the Cupra, while the red brake callipers and tinted side and rear windows underscore its individuality.
The focus of the interior is on the Cupra sports steering wheel in its own unique design, complete with shifting paddles for the optional DSG transmission. The sports seats, in dark grey Alcantara finished with white stitching, are another interior highlight. Black full-leather upholstery, likewise with white stitching, is also available. The pedals and entry sills are made from aluminium.
The Cupra 280 is visually differentiated by its unique 19-inch wheels with a titanium paint finish, plus the Aerodynamic Pack, which comprises a spoiler on the rear roof edge, Cupra lettering on the brake callipers and black exterior mirror housings. The trim elements in the cockpit of this top sporty variant are a deep glossy black.
In the UK, additional standard equipment for the Leon Cupra over and above the FR model (and the aforementioned styling details) includes 18-inch alloy wheels, full-LED headlights, DAB digital radio, SEAT Media System Plus, aluminium front door sill trims with Cupra logo, rain-sensing wipers and automatic headlights.
The Cupra 280 is distinguishable by its standard 19-inch alloy wheels, gloss black mirror caps, black exterior mouldings and frames, black rear roof spoiler, red brake callipers with Cupra logo, and black interior inserts. Satellite navigation comes as standard with the Cupra 280, too.