After a decade of not probably advances, it feels fancy development is stalling in the hot hatch world. For the most recent batch of potent C-segment contenders, energy will increase are modest, and a form of them wish to make screech of sound-sapping particulate filters their predecessors did without. With many, there’s a feeling of the recent automotive merely picking up where the extinct one left off.
One who appears to fit this invoice is the Cupra Leon. The last one, is named the Seat Leon Cupra (we’ll win to the title change rapidly), used to be a expansive soar forward from the extinct automotive. For the length of its time on sale, the Leon Cupra used to be undoubtedly one of the correct, most fun hot hatches money may maybe maybe purchase. However the recent one? All of it appears very familiar.
Over again now we relish an EA888 inline-four turbo engine, which produces 296bhp – 10bhp up on the outgoing Cupra 290, and the same output to the quick-lived Cupra 300. As sooner than, energy goes to the entrance wheels via a ‘VAQ’ electronically-managed locking differential, or if most current, a entrance-biased all-wheel pressure system.
So far, so familiar, however in some methods, there had been some backwards steps. That that you just can well maybe also no longer relish a handbook gearbox, shall we embrace – when you don’t desire a seven-mosey twin-grab gearbox, that’s tricky excellent fortune. Plus, there’s the branding to procure in mind. This isn’t a Seat, it’s a ‘Cupra’. We’re level-headed in two minds in regards to the total opinion, and no longer each person appears to fret in regards to the badging.
That’s why a left-hand pressure Cupra Leon finds itself here this day next to the previous-generation Cupra R. That would seem unfair since we’re comparing the fashioned model of the recent one to the last expression of the extinct, however hear me out. If the most recent Cupra’d Leon has moved the game on, it may maybe well level-headed level-headed be roughly on par with the extinct R.
Sliding behind the wheel of the senior of the two, I’m offered with a cabin that’s already starting up to feel dated no matter being historical in autos that relish completely very currently long past off sale. It’s noteworthy more useable than the more recent interior although, that includes gasps bodily buttons and dials for valuable functions. They haven’t been stuck in no longer very factual touchscreen fancy the recent Leon, the recent Skoda Octavia and the recent VW Golf.
That that you just can well maybe also in the starting up spec the Cupra R with a twin-grab computerized gearbox, although doing so intended the capability dropped to 296bhp. Fortunately, Seat UK made up our minds its press automotive, which used to be saved and added to its press swiftly, mandatory to be a handbook. Hello 306bhp and an extra layer of mechanical engagement.
There are larger shifts accessible, however having driven all forms of recent MQB+EA888 things over the last eight or so months with computerized gearboxes, it’s a joy to make screech of. The throw in all fairness quick, every ratio engages neatly, and supreme of all, when you leave the shift too gradual you win a ‘BABABABABA!’ originate of noise because the engine smashes into its no longer easy rev limiter.
The guidance’s light, however it for certain does give a obscure hint of solutions via the wheel. It’d feel larger level-headed if it used to be carrying the optionally accessible Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tyres, and the entrance conclude may maybe well be noticeably stickier. On some less focused Pirelli P Zeros, there are times when you’re left attempting for a contact more traction.
It’s easy sufficient to tailor your bear riding profile, which ideally involves turning every little thing up to the angriest atmosphere bar the suspension. The adaptive dampers are supreme left as gentle as imaginable, leaving them level-headed somewhat firm but properly immune to body roll. Beyond that, the Cupra R factual will get too melancholy.
The recent Cupra Leon feels, as you’d query, noteworthy more up-to-the-minute interior. The dashboard has a natty, minimal create, which I’d substitute in a heartbeat to win those lacking knobs and switches lend a hand. The cowl is fiddly and takes an age to load anything, however howdy, at the very least you win factual buttons on the guidance wheel and no longer those dreadful haptic pads VW is putting in its autos for the time being. The wheel-mounted engine commence and Cupra buttons are contact, too, fancy the Leon is channelling its inner R8.
Straight away, although, the lower in internally combusted fanfare is noticeable. The Cupra R consistently pops and bangs when you take hold of off the throttle, however in the Leon Cupra, you completely win the occasional crackle. This isn’t the more recent automotive’s fault – fancy the outgoing Cupra 290, it has a particulate filter (GPF). The R used to be lucky sufficient to win away that destiny, launching a year sooner than Seat used to be forced to fit GPFs for the incoming WLTP regime.
As a change, you win this not probably ‘woosh’ in the cabin as use gasses bustle via the pipes beneath you, at a volume I’ve no longer skilled since I drove a Renault Megane R26R 18 months in the past. Some sound augmentation makes the inline-four sound good and grumbly, too, and yes, the Cupra does feel jolly fleet. Open cleanly sufficient off the road, and 0-62mph is imaginable in 5.7 seconds. Deserve to decelerate? The brakes are mighty, and there’s a tight quantity of pedal development to trip.
You don’t moderately win that feeling of come-infinite traction that you just be successful in with the decidedly more severe Honda Civic Kind R, however the entrance conclude does seem to relish a tiny more bite in it than the R. The sliding scale for the adaptive dampers is a natty characteristic, too – a pair of notches above ‘comfort’ affords a unbelievable balance between crawl comfort and composure.
Total, it’s the more stable-feeling, unflappable automotive of the pair. However the most fun? Now not moderately. The livelier nature of the R makes it more though-provoking, and when switching lend a hand to the Cupra Leon, you be successful in omit that handbook ‘field. The DSG unit isn’t a atrocious transmission, however there are snappier, more dramatic-feeling twin-clutchers accessible. The fact that it shifts up for you at the dwell conclude even when in ‘handbook’ mode irks, too.
For the most section, although, the Cupra Leon does sufficient to ward off an assault by the correct model of its predecessor, which feels fancy an achievement. It’s also ever so a tiny bit sweeter to pressure than the VW Golf GTI Clubsport, which has the identical 296bhp I4/VAQ combo.
The caveat is it level-headed feels fancy there’s room for something spicier. So, pricey Cupra, how about a brand recent R? Preferably one with a handbook gearbox, too. Thanks in advance.