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310hp wagon heads new Cupra Leon range

The car formerly known as the Leon Cupra is back, now with more power, mild hybrid tech and much bronze

By Sam Sheehan / Friday, February 21, 2020

Everyone knows that, in fast car circles, any estate is immediately the coolest version available. Seemingly mindful of this - and how well received the previous car was - Cupra has announced a new fast Leon range, headed by a sharp-looking wagon with 310hp. Alongside 295lb ft from the familiar 2.0-litre EA888 turbo, all-wheel drive and a standard-fit seven-speed DSG, the Cupra Leon has the legs to hit 62mph in just 4.8 seconds. Interestingly the Leon hatch is denied all-wheel drive and only features up to 300hp, earning the wagon its halo status in the line-up both in power, price and performance.

The quickest hatch uses the same TSI-badged motor as the top estate, presumably with only a different map to ensure its power deficit, while a 245hp version of the engine is also offered as the entry point for both estate and hatch body styles. All versions get an electronic limited slip diff up front. Sitting alongside them in the range is a plug-in hybrid power plant, comprised of a 1.4 TSI four-pot, a 115hp electric motor and 13kWh lithium-ion battery. Combined output of the electrified setup is 245hp (CO2 is quoted at 50g/km), with 37 miles of pure electric running possible - and charging on a 3.6kW AC wall box takes 3.5 hours, or six hours with a domestic socket.

Underneath, the Cupra Leon models feature DCC adaptive dampers that drop the car 25mm compared to a standard SEAT Leon. As before, damping, powertrain and steering can be adjusted via drive modes: Comfort, Sport and Cupra, or separately in the Individual mode. All familiar stuff, but it comes straight out of the box in high-spec form, you'll note, illustrating Cupra's efforts to cast a premium image on the brand as well as a sporty one.

In keeping with the trend established with the Ateca, the Leon models have been given fairly discreet Cupra transformations. We'd argue that the estate in particular wears its new bits rather well, with the pinches and angles of the latest Leon design merging neatly with that 4,642mm body. Certainly, it's sleeker with the extended form, and we prefer the black quad exhaust tips of the estate to the bronze ones of the pictured PHEV hatch. As for the wheels, the hatch here wears aero-focused hybrid rims, while the multi-spokes of the estate show what's to be used on the most potent Leons. They cover a set of Brembo discs (370mm in diameter at the front) with bronze calipers.

The cabin, while strewn with Cupra details, is unquestionably that of a VW Group product. That's a given. But there are Cupra-specific sports seats, and the car's been given the very latest clutter-free centre console, headed by a 10-inch infotainment touchscreen that's accompanied by a digital instrument cluster. There are also Cupra-unique graphics for the menus, a Cupra button to shortcut to the most aggressive mode on the steering wheel, and a brushed aluminium finish to the dash. It's all rather smart and mature, and no doubt functional (although we don't spot a volume knob!) with the latest in 3D navigation maps, voice recognition tech and wireless charging, to name just three of many features.

As with all other plush VW Group products, the Cupra has also been given a long list of driver assist features, including the usual adaptive cruise, steering and lane keep assist tech that should make long distance journeys that little bit easier. If that route includes a stretch of derestricted Autobahn, top speed for the quickest variants is limited to 155mph.

While these new Leons come with a predictable setup, harvesting the best VW bits for SEAT hatches had made for some very good Cupras over the past 20 years - so why change it now? There's additional motorsport kudos now, too: see the new racing cars it's launched alongside the Leons, a 680hp e-TCR Leon for the 2021 electric series and a new 340hp petrol equivalent. They certainly look the part, and with both eco and traditional racing on the agenda, you might argue they're broadening the appeal to include old and new school enthusiasts. Plus, the company's motorsport division feeds data back to the road side, so it's more authentic than just a marketing ploy.

For the road cars, prices will be announced closer to the line-up's market launch in June. Deliveries for the range-topping 310hp estate will arrive first, likely in around October, with the other models following soon behind that. The Formentor hybrid SUV is also still en route, meaning the presently light Cupra line-up is soon to become a lot more busy. Not a moment too soon, either.

 

 

 

 

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