Sam Philip02 March 2014

Seat Leon Cupra sets Nurburgring record

276bhp hot hatch laps Nordschleife in 7m58.4s, the fastest ever by a front-drive production car

Just as the McLaren P1/Porsche 918 Nordschleife lap time fisticuffs had finally calmed down, get ready for another Nurburgring lap time war.

Seat today revealed to TG that its new Leon Cupra 280 has lapped the Green Hell in a time of 7m58.4s, setting a record for front-wheel-drive production cars.

In the hands of Seat touring car champ Jordi Gene, the 276bhp hot hatch hustled round the 12.8-mile track at an average speed of 96.3mph, hitting a maximum 150.4mph through the Tiergarten section.

Seat reckons that 7m58.4s lap time lops around 10 seconds from the previous FWD record, the 8m07.97 clocked by the Renault Megane RS Trophy back in 2011.

We're told the track was dry, with an air temperature of 10*C and a track temperature a couple of degrees below that. The Cupra was wearing the optional Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tyres and, beyond that strange camo paintjob, was standard production spec.

Now then. As we have stated many times, there is no official Nurburgring lap time governing authority to validate lap times. In fact, there's not even agreement on exactly where a Nurburgring lap should start and finish.

Even so, there's no question that under eight minutes for a front-drive hot hatch is a mighty, mighty quick time. Quicker - if you believe these things can be accurately compared - than the last-gen Dodge Viper, quicker than an Aston DBS, quicker than the Cadillac CTS-V.

Take a look at the exclusive video above and tell us: do you reckon there's any front-driver out there that can top the Cupra's Ring time?

Now share it...

What do you think?

This service is provided by Disqus and is subject to their privacy policy and terms of use. Please read Top Gear's code of conduct (link below) before posting.