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Video: the 'Ring's fastest wagon
Meet the Nürburgring’s fastest estate car. Seat has swiped the record from the Audi RS4 with its Leon Cupra ST, the load-hauling version of the 276bhp 2.0-litre turbo hot hatch it took to the Green Hell in 2014.
And despite its extra weight and length – 45kg and 27cm, to be precise – the Cupra estate has gone quicker than its dinkier three-door sibling. Its 7:58 dead is 0.4sec swifter than the Cupra SC, a car which took front-drive cars under the eight-minute mark at the Nordschleife for the first time last March.
The man behind the wheel, Spanish racer Jordi Gené, extols the virtues of the ST’s improved aerodynamics as well as its greater handling balance over the SC, as he told Top Gear.
“In high speed corners the ST rear axle is more progressive, and the top speed is higher with the better drag coefficient. What we lose exiting some corners we get it back in high-speed turns and on the straights.
“With the longer body here we can play with the rear end, to help position the car. It is a very nice racing feeling when you disconnect the ESC.”
Our hunch is that a few doezen more laps of testing at the Nürburgring, its 13 miles and 73 corners infamously tricky to get a grip of, has also helped up Gené’s commitment to find those extra tenths over the hatch. “It’s like playing golf, every day you can do something better at the Nordschleife,” he told us.
Below is a glimpse at what extracting an AWD V8 Audi-ousting time from a FWD 2.0-litre Seat looks like. And TG was there as Seat claimed estate car honours: you can get behind the scenes of the Leon Cupra ST’s record – and quite what times set at the Nürburgring actually mean – in the June 2015 issue of Top Gear magazine, on sale Wednesday May 20.