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The Leon Cupra R is Seat's most extreme road car yet

Cupra gets more power, a harder cored chassis and much carbon and copper

The Frankfurt Motor Show has proved a rich vein for new hot hatchbacks, and one of the most exciting is a grey Seat. This is the new Leon Cupra R, and it’s the most extreme fast Leon yet, as well as Seat’s most powerful car ever.

Its 2.0-litre turbo engine produces 306bhp, up 10bhp on standard and enough to put the Cupra R on level pegging with the latest VW Golf R and Audi S3. They’re both four-wheel drive, but the Leon sticks with front-wheel drive.

Helping it put the power down is a new suspension set up, wider tracks and different wheel camber, while there’s a new steering setup. The chassis modifications far outstrip the power upgrade, and ought to make this the hardest cored Seat hot hatch yet.

A manual gearbox comes as standard, and is described by Seat’s R&D boss, Dr Matthias Rabe, as the “purists’ choice”. You can specify a twin-clutch automatic, but the engine’s output drops back to 296bhp if you do.

The Cupra R comes in a relatively subdued matt grey paint scheme, which rather hides the bespoke bodywork – wheel arch extensions for the wider axles, carbon aero elements front and rear – though the copper detailing is reasonably bold. The entire steering wheel rim is wrapped in Alcantara, which is usually the sign of something pretty serious.

It’s been developed and built by Seat’s racing division, Seat Sport, whose smaller manufacturing facilities limit its production run to 799 cars. Rabe expects most of those to be manuals (hurray!) though we’ve no word on how much you’ll need to pay for one. Around £35,000 would seem a good bet given how much of the Cupra R is bespoke.

Like what you see? Or are you more interested in the latest RenaultSport Megane?

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