By Nick Jones
I’ve always been a fan of Seat, what with their quirky styling, strong engines and cheaper price tag than parent Volkswagen.
I also liked the more lurid paint schemes too, come to that.
So when my latest request for a ‘quick’ Seat arrived at the marque’s UK press office they did not disappoint and sent me their most powerful model to date, the Leon Cupra R – with a juicy 261 horses under the bonnet.
The less powerful FR model packs upwards of 210bhp, with the Cupra variant taming 240 steeds. With near ten per cent more get up and go under the right boot, the ‘R’ version promised to be even more outlandish than its stablemates... and it was.
The 2.0-litre engine it uses is an excellent powerplant and is used in the previously-mentioned models but thas been tweaked to give the ‘R’ badge that something extra.
The changes are mainly in the engine management mapping system. You can’t see anything different but you sure can feel it.
Add increased turbo pressure and a tweak to the fuel injection pump and from low down in the revs (at just 2,500 rpm) it delivers a great punch of torque which gives it a real advantage when using it on the road.
It hits 62 miles per hour in just over six seconds from standstill and hits the limiter in sixth gear at 155mph.
Perhaps the only thing lacking at this point is a four-wheel-drive system, but the front ones cope well with all that power.
It sounds nice to – it has a certain roar at full throttle, and you don’t need to drop a gear to make it go faster, simply keep your foot planted and it soon achieves what you wanted it to do.
The suspension is somewhat firm. To be frank, don’t buy one if you want a comfy ride or want to get your eggs home from the supermarket undamaged.
Same goes for the inside; it’s hardcore – fantastic seats, chunky wheel, styling bits here and there... it’s a properly sorted out-of-the-box sports car.
It will set you back £26,000 – that’s £4,000 more expensive than the Cupra version, but you get great set of 19in alloy wheels that really set it apart, a great suspension set up if you’re not an egg and monster brakes plus all the bells and whistles you’d expect from a car at this price.
This is the ultimate Leon and it’s a bit naughty. It annihilates most cars on the road today, and exudes that ‘bad boy’ image that I just love.
All that with the promise of better than 32mpg... I just love it!