Last week, you hot-hatch maniacs out there will have been chomping at the bit to get a first look at the all new SEAT Ibiza Cupra in the flesh. Whilst we won’t have to wait long at all before the pocket-sized rocket makes its debut at the upcoming 2015 Frankfurt Motor Show, here’s another hot-off-the-press hot-hatch headliner form Spain that’s sure to get pulses racing; the all-new SEAT Leon Cupra 290.
The second performance helping from SEAT in as many weeks, the Leon Cupra ups the size, speed and power compared to its smaller sibling. Top of the bill is the all-new turbocharged 2.0 litre power unit, shared by the Leon Cupra’s close cousins the VW Golf GTI and the Skoda Octavia vRS. Equipped with new tech such as dual injection and variable camshaft timing, it’ll eke out an extra 10bhp compared to its predecessor, ramping up the new Leon Cupra’s overall output to 286bhp. Maximum torque stands at 258 lb/ft, a further enhancement over the previous model, and it’s now on tap all the way from 1,700 to 5,800 rpm. On the road, the torquier, more potent Cupra 290 will sprint from 0-62mph in just 5.7 seconds if equipped with an automatic gearbox, that’s one tenth quicker than its manual counterpart. Top speed is pegged at 155mph.
Available in Sport Coupé, five-door, or Sports Tourer guise, the new Leon Cupra 290 benefits from a host of handing enhancements including Dynamic Chassis Control, a front-axle differential lock and progressive steering. These standard issue systems work in tandem to optimise the front-wheel-drive Cupra’s traction and cornering, sharpening up steering response and ultimately shaving several tenths off lap times on the track.
Comfort and Sport settings deliver the best results on the road but on the track you’ll be reaching for the Cupra drive mode toggle. In this, the most untamed setting, throttle response is optimised, shift time minimised and the turbo roar turned up a few notches as the Leon Cupra’s sound actuator kicks in.
Brembo brake callipers and a set of exclusive 19-inch wheels are added with the optional Sub8 Performance Pack, whilst squinting LED headlamps and tail-lamps mirror the styling changes found on the new Ibiza Cupra.
Inside, the Leon Cupra 290 gets an array of chromed trim elements, with high-gloss black available as an option. Leather sports seats complement the familiar Cupra steering wheel and a 6.5-inch colour touchscreen caps off the sporty interior revamp.
The new Leon Cupra 290 is the most powerful ever to come out of the SEAT stable and a very welcome addition to the ‘must-have’ lists of hot-hatch fanatics everywhere. UK sales are expected to get underway in early 2016, around the same time as its sparring partner the Ibiza Cupra.