Roughly six months before spinning off Cupra as a standalone performance brand, Sociedad Española de Automóviles de Turismo (SEAT) introduced this bad boy at the 2017 Frankfurt Motor Show. The Leon Cupra R is the hottest of the SEAT hatchbacks and packs the same 310-horsepower punch as the Volkswagen Golf R. But while its cousin from Wolfsburg has all-wheel drive, the limited-run special edition of the Leon comes with a FWD layout. If you want the all-paw system, the Leon Cupra R ST wagon is the one to have and it comes along with a much bigger trunk.
YouTube's AutoTopNL specialized in pushing interesting cars to their limits managed to get his hands on one of the 799 examples of the five-door hatch. It's worth mentioning this particular car doesn't have the aforementioned 310 hp as it's down on power by 10 hp. Why is that? Because only the version equipped with the standard six-speed manual gearbox packs the full power whereas the DSG model seen here is rated at a lower-but-still-impressive 300 hp.
It's one thing to read an official technical specifications sheet and another to actually put those numbers to the test. With launch control turned on, the DSG-equipped Leon Cupra R hit 62 mph (100 kph) from a standstill in about 5.3 seconds and completed the 0-124 mph (0-200 kph) task in 17 seconds before reaching 160 mph (258 kph). Most likely, the driver noticed traffic up ahead – presumably and hopefully he was at the Nürburgring - and decided to slow down.
Eventually, he managed to reach 169 mph (272 kph), which is pretty impressive considering the Leon is at its core a sensible compact five-door family hatchback. A new generation has already been announced for a 2019 launch and you can rest assured there will be a Cupra-badged performance version further down the line.