Spanish automaker Seat recently announced that its Leon ST Cupra 280 wagon has lapped the Nurburgring in 7:58.12 minutes, making it the fastest estate ever to go round the infamous German race track. Not only did the five-door missile manage to trump the AWD, V-8-powered Audi B7 RS4 on its way to snatch the title, it also outpaced its lighter and shorter hot-hatch stablemate by a few fractions of a second, despite the three-door setting a new FWD record last year. 

At the helm was Spanish racing driver and Seat spokesman Jordi Gene, who commented on the blistering time in a press release, saying: “It was an indescribable feeling to get the best out of this car and to be the first to achieve this record.” 

To help him eke out every tenth, the Cupra was outfitted with the optional £2,025 ($3,190 at current exchange rates, 5/14/15) Sub8 Performance Pack, which adds larger Brembo brakes and 19-inch alloy wheels. Gummy Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires, a £460 ($725) option, were on hand for contact-patch duties. The wagon also benefitted heavily from its limited-slip front differential, which made the most of available traction offered from the front-wheel-drive layout.

“The Leon ST Cupra reinforces that an estate car doesn’t have to be a compromise,” said Dr. Matthias Rabe, Seat Vice President for Research and Development, in a press release, adding, “The [ST Cupra 280] is a sports car for the whole family.”

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Why it matters

While some out there are annoyed by the auto industry’s obsession with Nurburgring lap times, it’s hard to deny its utility as a performance benchmark. It’s true that optional packages (like semi-slick tires) and professional race drivers (like Gene) can be used to skew the results, and magic flying laps are not always easily repeatable, but at least a ‘Ring time gives us some general idea where a car will land when evaluating its speed potential.

Mere mortals like you and I may drool over the prospect of getting behind the wheel of a Nissan GT-R or Viper ACR, but making a wagon fast can be quite the interesting endeavor as well..

And personally, I find the times more useful for cars like the Cupra than mega-horsepower exotics. Mere mortals like you and I may drool over the prospect of getting behind the wheel of a Nissan GT-R or Viper ACR, but making a wagon fast can be quite the interesting endeavor as well. Enthusiasts the world over strive to turn their grocery-getters into track-assault vehicles, and Seat is capitalizing on this by bringing the Leon ST Cupra 280 to Austria for its world debut at this year’s Worthersee Treffen car show.

With an expected gathering of some 200,000 gearheads, the Worthersee show will host five Leon variants. Included will be an SC Cupra 280 decked out in the “Orange” Performance Pack, which adds visual flair via an orange grille, orange mirrors and orange wheels, all of which offset a Dynamic Grey paint job. Also on display will be the Black Line package, which adds new door sills, rear side spoilers, and high-gloss black 19-inch wheels. Finally, Austrian racing driver Mario Dablander will make an appearance alongside his Leon Cup race car.

One final word on the wagon’s time. You might be scratching your head trying to figure out how it managed to oust Seat’s smaller and lighter three-door. Apparently, the answer lies in aerodynamics and balance, as Gene explained to Top Gear in an interview: “In high speed corners the ST rear axle is more progressive, and the top speed is higher with the better drag coefficient. What we lose exiting some corners we get it back in high-speed turns and on the straights,” he said. “With the longer body here we can play with the rear end, to help position the car. It is a very nice racing feeling when you disconnect the ESC.”

Seat Leon ST Cupra 280

2015 Seat Leon ST Cupra 280 High Resolution Exterior
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First we get the VW Golf R Variant, and now, as expected, Seat releasese its own hot-wagon version of the Leon.

While unfortunately denied to those of us stateside, the Leon ST Cupra 280 should provide a good deal of entertainment to Europeans looking for a heady blend of speed and practicality. These two attributes come courtesy of a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine up front and up to 52 cubic-feet of storage room in the back. Output is measured at 276 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque, which is routed through either a six-speed manual or DSG transmission. A sprint to 60 mph takes around six seconds flat, while top speed is electronically limited to 150 mph. Despite the performance, this dual-purpose five-door still manages to get 35 mpg.

Read our full review here.

Jonathan Lopez
Jonathan Lopez
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Press Release

With a record-breaking time of 7:58.12 minutes, the SEAT Leon ST CUPRA 280 is the fastest estate car around the Nürburgring Nordschleife. Making its world debut at this year’s Wörthersee Treffen in Austria, the latest addition to the CUPRA stable is set to make the hearts of the expected 200,000 car fans and tuners from a host of different countries beat that little bit faster. Showcasing a total of five impressive variants from the Leon range, SEAT will travel from Martorell in Spain to Reifnitz, some 1,515 kilometres away.

2015 Seat Leon ST Cupra 280 High Resolution Exterior
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An approachable star – the SEAT Leon ST Cupra

On 13th May, there will be 280 PS rolling through the small town, where the SEAT Leon ST CUPRA 280 will celebrate its debut at the legendary meeting. Speaking about the record which he set, using the standard front-wheel-drive production estate with manual transmission and Performance Pack, Spanish racing driver and SEAT brand ambassador Jordi Gené, said, “It was an indescribable feeling to get the best out of this car and to be the first to achieve this record,” said Jordi Gené. The sports tourer benefits significantly from the Limited Front Slip Differential (VAQ) of the SEAT Leon CUPRA 280 and the six-speed manual gearbox – systems that enable it to ensure a secure grip on the road, even under difficult conditions. “The Leon ST CUPRA reinforces that an estate car doesn’t have to be a compromise. This record time is not only another symbol of our claim ‘Technology to Enjoy’, but also sets new standards. The SEAT Leon ST CUPRA is a sports car for the whole family,” said Dr. Matthias Rabe, SEAT Vice President for Research and Development.

2015 Seat Leon ST Cupra 280 High Resolution Exterior
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At this year’s cult event, the the Leon ST CUPRA 280 will also be showcased with the “Black” Performance Pack. Painted in Dynamic Grey, it is sure to cut a sleek figure with its 19-inch alloy wheels, BREMBO high-performance braking system and body-colour side skirts. Through its sublime blend of power and comfort, the SEAT Leon ST CUPRA 280 achieves a perfect balance which appeals to both the heart and the head. Not only is there space for the whole family, the powerful 280 PS engine also delivers thrilling performance.

Traditionally, SEAT shows something extreme at the Wörthersee Treffen and this year is no exception. Austrian racing driver Mario Dablander, who is a touring car racing driver in the 2015 SEAT Leon Eurocup, will bring his SEAT Leon CUP RACER to the event after the race in Portugal.

The extraordinary in the ordinary – SEAT Leon SC Cupra and SEAT Leon Cupra

This year, SEAT is presenting two particularly attention-grabbing models in Dynamic Grey and Blanco Nevada paintwork. The SEAT Leon SC CUPRA 280 provides visual impact with an “Orange” Performance Pack. The three-door sets sporty accents with the orange front grille, colour-coordinated mirrors and orange rims against the flat grey paintwork. In addition, the high-performance brake system, along with the 19-inch high-performance tyres and side skirts likewise deliver a strong presence. The Leon five-door CUPRA 280 is no less impressive. The Blanco Nevada colour concept, in combination with the Black Line package, gives the model a mean look. Particularly eye-catching are the entry sills at the front, rear side spoilers and the 19-inch alloy wheels painted in high-gloss black. Beyond their sporty design and 280 PS performance, both model variants are also optionally equipped with the well-known highly innovative assistance systems.

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