It’s very rare for a car to come along and put in a serious challenge to Volkswagen’s hot hatch king, the Golf GTI, enough to give it cause for concern. Most attempts from rivals fall short across a number of areas including style and comfort. That is until now, and the challenger that ought to be taken seriously comes from SEAT, in the form of their Leon Cupra R. For the first time, it’s a car that could persuade me from choosing a GTI, I never thought I’d say that (sorry VW).
The Leon Cupra R has some similarities to the GTI, one such is it doesn’t shout about its sporting potential with oversized spoilers and a tartly body kit. SEAT’s Cupra R has some subtle ‘R’ badges on its exterior, the main clues to this car’s high performance are the oversize brake callipers which sit tightly behind 19” Potenza alloys. The driving position is the Cupra R is spot-on, your eyes are drawn to the centrally mounted rev counter, as your held firmly in place thanks to immense sports seats. There’s a decent level of equipment supplied as standard in the €39,525 Cupra R, with climate control, usb connectivity and cruise control just some of the quality accompaniments. It’s only inside that the Cupra R has some ground in terms of fit and finish to catch up with the GTI.
I can’t praise the SEAT Leon Cupra R highly enough in terms of the driving experience it instils in you. It’s 2.0l turbo charged petrol engine produces 265hp and combined with 350Nm of toque makes for GTI beating pace, infact it’s more akin to Golf’s R than the GTI. If you can overcome the high annual road tax (band F €1,050), then the Leon Cupra R is deserving of a test drive.
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