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Cupra adds high-performance versions to Seat Leon range

Date: 21 February 2020   |   Author: Illya Verpraet

Details of the Cupra Leon, the sporty version of the Seat Leon, have been announced. For the first time, it can be specced as a plug-in hybrid, which might give it some appeal for the user-chooser.

If you haven't been the slightly odd strategy behind Cupra, here's a reminder: Cupra used to simply be a label for high-performance Seats, like GTI for VW or AMG for Mercedes. A few years back, it was spun off as its own car manufacturer, but in practice it still just makes sporty versions of Seats - just with a slightly more confusing name.

The Cupra Leon that'll have the most appeal as a company car will be the eHybrid. Available as both a hatchback or an estate, it uses fundamentally the same layout as the regular Seat Leon eHybrid, but it gets a more powerful electric motor. Together with the 150hp 1.4-litre petrol engine, the system puts out 245hp.

VW will be presenting a Golf GTE with the same powertrain at the Geneva motor show next month.

Thanks to a 13kWh battery, it can travel in electric mode for up to 37 miles. Using a wallbox charger, it can be topped up in 3.5 hours. All Cupra Leons come with a DSG dual-clutch automatic gearbox as standard.

Cupra will also offer three traditional petrol powertrains for the sporty Leon. All are 2.0-litre TSI units. For both the hatchback and the estate, customers can choose between 245hp or 300hp. The most powerful engine is found only in the estate. It has 310hp and is always paired to a '4Drive' all-wheel drive system. 

As befits a hot hatch model, the Cupra Leon gets sporty styling, upgraded and re-tuned suspension, more powerful brakes, a wider track, 18in or 19in wheels, and sports seats. The pure-petrol models also get a limited-slip differential.

The Cupra Leon gets fairly generous standard equipment, including a 10in infotainment system, voice recognition, a smartphone companion app, full-LED front and rear lights and keyless entry. The seats are cloth as standard, though leather is an option.