One of the big surprises when SEAT revealed the new Leon hatchback last month, was the fact the ST estate model was announced at the same time.
We’ve become used to manufacturers drip-feeding variants into the release of a new model, yet SEAT seems happy to be going all-out at once.
Despite it only being a few weeks, SEAT – sorry, Cupra – has revealed the new performance version of the Leon in hatchback and ST estate form. If you didn’t already know, EngageSportMode is a big fan of quick wagons.
We might, one day, eventually get used to referring to hot SEATs by their special Cupra name. The Spanish company seems keen to make the performance sub-brand stick, including the badge inspired by a tribal tattoo from the 1990s.
Names aside, the new Cupra Leon sounds like it has the potential to seriously impress us. There is even the option of a plug-in hybrid model, should ESM feel the need to gain some important eco-credentials.
The hybrid model uses a 1.4-litre turbocharged petrol engine with 150 hp, combined with a 115 hp electric motor. Combined, the two produce 245 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque, and the ability to cover up to 37 miles on battery power alone.
If the thought of a hybrid is still too much, Cupra will offer the new Leon in pure petrol flavours as well.
All use the 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine, with the entry-level model packing 245 hp and 273 lb-ft of torque. Hatchback buyers can also opt for a 300 hp version, which also boasts 295 lb-ft.
Choosing the Leon ST estate unlocks the most power potential on offer, with a 310 hp model. This also has 295 lb-ft of torque, but benefits from all-wheel drive instead of the front-wheel drive setup found on the others.
Forget any thoughts of shifting gears manually. All Cupra Leons will use a DSG dual-clutch transmission, with the front-wheel drive versions incorporating a limited-slip differential.
An Adaptive Chassis Control system will offer four different driving modes, including Sport, and will allow drivers to tailor the Leon to suit their tastes. Suspension is lowered by 25 mm compared to the regular Leon, whilst Brembo brakes with 370 mm discs sort the stopping.
SEAT Cupra has not confirmed all performance details for the new Leon, it notes that a 0-62 mph time of 4.8 seconds is the best on offer. Top speed is limited to 155 mph.
Cupra has given the Leon a comprehensive makeover, with an aggressive front grille and larger splitter. Fancy wheels, and a large rear diffuser, also make the most of the already attractive new Leon. Call us biased, but we prefer the shape of the ST estate better than the hatch.
Yes, those Cupra badges are still there, as is the glut of copper detailing. We’re thinking of it as a grown-up version of the orange branding found on the previous-generation Cupra.
We are, however, totally sold on the steering wheel inside the new Cupra Leon. Carbon fibre trim, copper detailing, and buttons to change the performance mode make for our kind of helm. There are also paddles for the DSG transmission, too.
SEAT has not yet released any prices for the new Cupra Leon yet. On past experience, we would expect these to be competitive, along with considerable finance offers available from the off.
What the Cupra Leon will need to do, particularly in ST form, is deliver on meeting that “all the car you’ll ever need” cliche. That was what helped its predecessor clinch our prize for the ‘Best Overall Car Driven’ back in 2015.
We’ll have more information on the Cupra Leon when it appears. This could already be one of ESM’s most anticipated cars of 2020.