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09 Jun 2017

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What We Dislike
Interior isn't as refined as the GTI

The more brutal Spanish cousin of the Volkswagen Golf GTI - the Seat Leon Cupra - gives the German hot hatch a run for its money.

Some would argue that the Volkswagen Golf GTI is all you'll ever need. That may be true but its more powerful yet lower priced Spanish cousin - the Seat Leon Cupra - has the German hot hatch in its crosshairs.

If the Cupra sounds alien to you, think of it as a detuned front-wheel drive Volkswagen Golf R.

With 290bhp and 350Nm of torque, the Cupra will outrun the Volkswagen GTI in a drag race 

Edge of your seat

Due to its relationship with its German parent company, the Cupra shares the same MQB platform, EA888 engine and other componentry with the GTI.

However, Seat has somehow managed to squeeze a whopping 290 horses out of the Cupra. This, along with 350Nm of torque, propels the Spanish hot hatch off the line and up to 100km/h in a blistering 5.7 seconds.

Put your foot down and the rev-happy Cupra just goes. It revels in the upper end of the rev range, with peak power available from 5,900rpm to 6,400rpm and peak torque from 1,700rpm to 5,800rpm.

A quick shifting six-speed DSG ensures smooth power delivery throughout the entire rev range

As expected, the six-speed DSG's lightning quick shifting allows your focus to be placed elsewhere like on braking and throttle control, especially around corners.

Controlled chaos

Calling the Cupra fast is an understatement, evident through its 0-100km/h time and top speed of 250km/h. All this power is a recipe for disaster if it can't be modulated, though.
Seat's solution? A Limited Slip Differential (LSD) lock, which comes standard, in the front axle. The front-axle differential lock puts more power to the wheel with more grip, improving traction and minimising torque steer.

Steering, although light, is quick and precise. Point the Cupra into a corner and it obeys with nary a complaint. The LSD works its magic even through the tightest of bends and helps to slingshot the Cupra out of corners.

Light but sharp steering guides the Cupra effortlessly into and out of corners

Flip of a switch

All this, of course, works best in either Sport or Cupra mode where everything tightens up; providing a stiffer and more rabid drive. Drive modes are accessible via a button displaying a flag icon, which is located on the centre console.

Besides throttle response and steering adjustments, the Cupra also allows for personalised suspension settings, thanks to its parent company's Dynamic Chassis Control - which comes standard.

Individual mode allows even more personalisation options for steering, suspension and throttle response

This means that once you're done ripping up tarmac, the Cupra's Comfort mode makes for a quiet and relaxing ride around town.

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