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New SEAT Leon Cupra R revealed in Frankfurt – 306bhp for SEAT's hottest hatch

Jordan Katsianis
11 Sep 2017

Limited edition SEAT Cupra R is the most powerful SEAT ever – to reach customers at the end of 2017

SEAT has revealed a new and more intense version of its Leon Cupra creatively called the Cupra R. Available in limited numbers, the harder-edged Cupra R will be offered in both manual and DSG form, exclusively with front-wheel drive. We've been taking a closer look at the hot Leon at the 2017 Frankfurt motor show.

Utilising a subtly upgraded version of the standard Cupra’s 2-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine, power has been raised from 296bhp to 306bhp. Oddly, SEAT has confirmed that the raised power output will only apply to models equipped with the six-speed manual; DSG cars will do without the modest power upgrade. As a result, the manual Cupra R is officially SEAT’s most powerful car ever.

> Click here to read our review of the SEAT Leon Cupra R 

SEAT has yet to release performance figures, but we are expecting subtle improvements on the standard Cupra 300’s 5.8sec 0-62mph time for the manual, whereas the DSG equipped car should maintain a 5.7sec 0-62mph time. 

Like the standard Cupra 300, the R utilises adaptive dampers, albeit in re-calibrated form to suit the extra camber that SEAT engineers have dialled into the front axle. A limited-slip differential should help quell excessive wheel-spin and improve traction, while the exhaust system has also been modified to provide an even fruitier note. 

More substantial are the styling changes made to the Cupra R, building on the standard car's subtle looks with some dramatic upgrades. Most obvious are the new flared wheel-arches, giving the Cupra R a more aggressive stance on the road.

> Click here for our review of the Volkswagen Golf GTI Clubsport S

The new arches are supplemented by a redesigned front bumper with larger intakes and carbonfibre detailing, while at the back a larger rear wing and carbonfibre trimmed diffuser set off new, round exhaust tips. Some very in-vogue copper detailing also features on the lower bumpers, badging and bespoke 19-inch wheels. 

Available in black or dark grey as well as the optional matt grey hue pictured in our images, the Cupra R definitely has that little bit of extra visual punch to help distinguish it from lesser models. Carbonfibre and copper detailing is also prevalent in the interior, too.

Deliveries of the Cupra R are due for the end of this year, but SEAT is remaining coy about the number of cars it will produce in right-hand drive for the UK market. With the success of other limited run hot hatchbacks like the Golf GTI Clubsport S, we suspect that the Leon Cupra R will do pretty well in the UK, provided the Cupra R is as good to drive as it looks.


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