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The 365bhp Leon Cupra R estate is the fastest Seat ever

A Cupra that's still a Seat. Huh? Yours for £38k

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This whole Cupra thing is confusing us. Mere months into the dawn of Seat’s performance sub-brand - which has eschewed all Seat badging in favour of a copper tribal tattoo design, in a bid to be seen as a different entity - we have a brand new Cupra that’s still a Seat.

Only we’re not sure it’s really brand new, either. Last year, Seat applied some of the Leon Cupra R’s carbon bodywork and its Brembo brakes to the Cupra ST estate, calling it the Carbon Edition.

Now, it’s launched a Cupra R ST and - more aggressively cambered, copper-coloured wheels aside - it appears to be pretty much the same thing, right down to an identical 296bhp output and 4.9sec 0-62mph time. So as well as being 10bhp down on the Leon Cupra R hatch, it’s also eschewed its front-wheel drive and manual gearbox, keeping the regular ST’s four-wheel drive and paddleshifter.

But then you look closer at the spec sheet and realise, for an additional £500 on top of its £37,975 price tag, Seat will rope in tuners ABT to up its power to 365bhp, and thus bring its 0-62mph claim down to 4.5secs. And all without affecting the warranty.

Can our cyncism be cancelled out by throwing a gobful of power at something? Um, maybe. Especially when the car itself ought to be excellent. Every version of the Leon Cupra - right from the 260bhp launch car to that hyper-aggressive Cupra R hatch - has been superb fun, and we’re all for a fast estate (with more power than a Supra!) rather than a fast SUV.

Mind, Cupra also makes two of those. But without Seat badges. We feel hungover.

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