RE: SEAT Leon Cupra Sub8 | Spotted

RE: SEAT Leon Cupra Sub8 | Spotted

Sunday 8th December 2019

SEAT Leon Cupra Sub8 | Spotted

The nearly 'ring record car, now with £15k off



Poor old SEAT. Remember when it proudly claimed a Nurburgring front-wheel-drive record, the first to go under eight minutes, only for it to be scrutinised more rigorously than any previous attempt? The saga dragged on and on, various rumours about plastic windows, boosted engines and hooky tyres abounding until most credibility was lost. Then everyone else got in on the act, with Renault Sport, Honda and even VW - there went SEAT's role as the sporty one in the group - surpassing its Nordschleife achievements.

Which, really, was a bit of a shame for the Leon Cupra. Because it was a pretty decent machine as standard, doing what Cupras always have in offering a slightly lairier, yet still quite sensible, Golf GTI derivative. Given the Mk7 GTI was about as good as it's ever been, it made the cheaper, more powerful Leon a very alluring proposition indeed.


In an attempt to cash in on - or perhaps validate - the Leon's success, SEAT created a 'ring record Cupra. Trouble was, in another damaging move for its reputation, it wasn't the full Trophy-R style circuit warrior special; instead there were two option packs, the Sub8 Performance Pack and the Ultimate Sub8 Performance Pack. The latter ditched the stereo speakers and air-con, then added big brakes and Cup 2s, offering the closest set-up available to whichever one it was that went around the 'ring. It also cost an additional Β£4,210 over the standard car. We drove it back at the end of 2015, describing it as "fantastically thrilling", if not quite the match of the Civic and Megane. But that's an extremely high bar.

Sadly, this Spotted isn't quite that full-fat Sub8, instead being the regular upgrade that got you the bigger wheels to accommodate chunkier Brembo brakes, plus what looks like the optional bucket seats. Those brakes, don't forget, were denied to the Golf Clubsport S; from memory they're still a bit abrupt, but the performance is enormous. Get the Continentals off this car and something more focussed on and you'll be well on the way to a properly capable track hatch.


Because that's what everyone forgets about the Leon - it's a great hot hatch. Losing out to the Megane Trophy and Golf Clubsport S is about the best third place it's possible to get, this certainly a valid alternative to them both (as well as the Civic) with its pace, doggedly determined front end and lightweight agility. Of course it has flaws, but what car doesn't? Where Leons were once the darlings of the UK hot hatch scene, this latest one has floundered to some extent, when - especially with either of the 'ring packs - it really shouldn't have.

This one has the DSG gearbox, which won't be ideal to some, but it is a smart-looking three-door hot hatch - good luck finding one of those again soon. The mileage is about average, it's already got about Β£14k off the list price and those tyres are apparently new - selling those with the wheels could free up some money for a racier set...

So yeah, don't dismiss the Leon simply because you don't see many of them around. It's fast and fun - and easily made more so - as well rare and interesting, particularly with that whole Nurburgring palaver around it. Besides, from what Cupra is producing nowadays it looks like this batch of Leon 280s, 290s and 300s might be the last of their breed. A pretty good send off if that is the case, though surely somewhere in Martorell is a person who wants their 'ring record back? We're waiting with baited breath...




SPECIFICATION - SEAT LEON SC CUPRA 290
Engine:
1,984cc 4-cyl turbo
Transmission: 6-speed DSG, front-wheel drive
Power (hp): 290@5,700rpm-6,200rpm
Torque (lb ft): 258@1,750-5,600rpm
MPG: 42.8 (NEDC combined)
CO2: 149g/km
First registered: 2016
Recorded mileage: 29,000
Price new: Β£31,440 (PH test car)
Price: Β£17,395

See the original advert here.

Author
Discussion

PGNSagaris

Original Poster:

2,209 posts

115 months

Sunday 8th December 2019
quotequote all
Hmm. The DSG option feels like buttering your corn flakes. All wrong.

tim-jxv5n

51 posts

45 months

Sunday 8th December 2019
quotequote all
Theres a manual in dynamic grey on autotrader for £15.5k. Brembos, no armrest or climate. I dont think the seller knows what it is because there's no mention of sub8

irish boy

2,499 posts

185 months

Sunday 8th December 2019
quotequote all
Always liked these. Especially an early 280 manual estate with the 19”s. Lovely.

CharlieAlphaMike

433 posts

54 months

Sunday 8th December 2019
quotequote all
tim-jxv5n said:
Theres a manual in dynamic grey on autotrader for £15.5k. Brembos, no armrest or climate. I dont think the seller knows what it is because there's no mention of sub8
Brembo's were an option on the Standard model for a while so it's quite likely that the car you're talking about isn't a Sub8.

AJB88

4,821 posts

120 months

Sunday 8th December 2019
quotequote all
tim-jxv5n said:
Theres a manual in dynamic grey on autotrader for £15.5k. Brembos, no armrest or climate. I dont think the seller knows what it is because there's no mention of sub8
Link? I cant find it.

tim-jxv5n

51 posts

45 months

Sunday 8th December 2019
quotequote all

tim-jxv5n

51 posts

45 months

Sunday 8th December 2019
quotequote all
Seller doesn't know what it is because they're Evan's halshaw. They know d!ck all about cars!!

AJB88

4,821 posts

120 months

Sunday 8th December 2019
quotequote all
Hasn't got the aero thins on the rear glass for some reason.

Hub

4,474 posts

147 months

Sunday 8th December 2019
quotequote all
PGNSagaris said:
Hmm. The DSG option feels like buttering your corn flakes. All wrong.
Clutches are stronger though!

AJB88

4,821 posts

120 months

Sunday 8th December 2019
quotequote all
Hub said:
Clutches are stronger though!
Exactly mine ran Stage 2 for about 3.5 years no issues at all, APR DSG map on it as well, with the motorsport limiter.

Vimes

295 posts

133 months

Sunday 8th December 2019
quotequote all
tim-jxv5n said:
The car for sale is not the one in the picture. Description says grey with climate, picture show a white car without climate control. It also says pictures of actual car available


Edited by Vimes on Sunday 8th December 14:54

tim-jxv5n

51 posts

45 months

Sunday 8th December 2019
quotequote all
AJB88 said:
Hub said:
Clutches are stronger though!
Exactly mine ran Stage 2 for about 3.5 years no issues at all, APR DSG map on it as well, with the motorsport limiter.
I looked at a manual earlier in the year, 3 years old, 17000 miles and the clutch was slipping. Put me off manual cupras/golf r's/s3's straight away

AJB88

4,821 posts

120 months

Sunday 8th December 2019
quotequote all
Vimes said:
The car for sale is not the one in the picture. Description says grey with climate, picture show a white car without climate control. It also says pictures of actual car available


Edited by Vimes on Sunday 8th December 14:54
It is Grey, its a strange colour, in some lights it looks white, in some pale blue, in some grey.

Dynamic Grey its called.

greenarrow

1,872 posts

66 months

Sunday 8th December 2019
quotequote all
I like these... I remember the 3 way EVO test back in the day with the Sub 8 Leon, Megane Trophy R and I think it was the Civic Type R. The Leon was the quickest on track. When you see the price of the latest Megane Trophy, it makes this seem an absolute bargain.

tim-jxv5n

51 posts

45 months

Sunday 8th December 2019
quotequote all
Vimes said:
tim-jxv5n said:
The car for sale is not the one in the picture. Description says grey with climate, picture show a white car without climate control. It also says pictures of actual car available


Edited by Vimes on Sunday 8th December 14:54
It says photos of actual car, and dynamic grey is like white in some lights. Do you work for evans halshaw?

scottygib553

215 posts

44 months

Sunday 8th December 2019
quotequote all
That’s a big nope from me. I dislike the dashboard on these and then the styling extras for this model are awful.

Kolbenkopp

1,945 posts

100 months

Sunday 8th December 2019
quotequote all
tim-jxv5n said:
I looked at a manual earlier in the year, 3 years old, 17000 miles and the clutch was slipping. Put me off manual cupras/golf r's/s3's straight away
Well known issue -- maaany of these will have been remapped and sadly the clutch on the manual will not cope with the big extra torque. Either keep it standard, or for the dedicated, swap to Sachs Performance parts.

Personally I really like the Leon. Compared to the Mk7 Golf, dash layout is IMO better (screen better positioned), all come with larger turbo and diff, and the general equipment level is pretty good (LED headlamps, Alcantara....). Wouldn't pay more for a "sub8" trim level though. Soo much stuff out there to better tweak the MQB things...


Onehp

1,200 posts

232 months

Monday 9th December 2019
quotequote all
Running a manual estate since 3,5 years. If a Cupra is underestimated, the 'hot estates' are even more, now the only manual fwd left is the Focus ST. Peeps want fast and easy to drive (and fancy dashboards), not involving and light.
And for the space (fam car with near 600l boot) it is light, coming in under 1400kg kerb in a time where performance estates regularly flirt with 2 tonnes. And being MQB and a strong engine (if not the clutch), there are a tonne of parts to finetune the car to ones own desires for, in the larger scheme of performance cars, litte money.

As of now, I don't see an upgrade path for these criteria, and only one replacement path, shame.

xjay1337

13,394 posts

67 months

Monday 9th December 2019
quotequote all
Kolbenkopp said:
Well known issue -- maaany of these will have been remapped and sadly the clutch on the manual will not cope with the big extra torque. Either keep it standard, or for the dedicated, swap to Sachs Performance parts.

Personally I really like the Leon. Compared to the Mk7 Golf, dash layout is IMO better (screen better positioned), all come with larger turbo and diff, and the general equipment level is pretty good (LED headlamps, Alcantara....). Wouldn't pay more for a "sub8" trim level though. Soo much stuff out there to better tweak the MQB things...
Helix clutches are much better on this platform!

Onehp

1,200 posts

232 months

Monday 9th December 2019
quotequote all
xjay1337 said:
Helix clutches are much better on this platform!
Many are going for RTS as it has oem pedal feel... I'm fine with my Sachs...