Combining a sporty brand image with a reputation for decent value has meant that performance-focused SEATs have always been popular. And nowhere is that truer than with the Leon Cupra, which has built a reputation for delivering big bangs for relatively small bucks.
Early versions of the first-generation Leon Cupra got between 180hp and 225hp and are a bit of a cult classic these days. They’re pretty exciting to drive, too, albeit in a rather torque-steery way. The second-gen cars were similarly exciting, only this time with up to 265hp in the Cupra R, making them properly fast. By this point, SEAT had a cut-price rival to the VW Scirocco R on its hands.
The Leon really came of age in Mk3 form, however, with multi-link rear suspension, dynamic chassis control and anywhere between 265hp and 310hp depending on the model.
As the years went by and the power outputs climbed, so SEAT refined the dynamic behaviour of the Leon. So much so that the last bronze-badged SEAT Cupra models (before Cupra became a brand in its own right) are an absolute riot to drive, and astonishingly fast point to point.