DT Garage: Goodbye Seat Leon Cupra R Estate 4Drive, but hello new one (soon)
This year has sucked in many ways, but the new Cupra Leon will be out by the end of the year
This year has been crap for so many reasons: global pandemic, lockdown, panic buying… and having to give my Seat Leon Cupra R ST 4Drive Abt back.
It’s the Leon Cupra we’ve loved for a long time now, in even cooler fast estate form, with Millennial-spec grey bodywork and copper-coloured details. Ok fine, so I know most of you probably hate the copper bits, but I personally think they look excellent.
While the Leon Cupra might be getting on a bit now – I liked to think of myself as its carer for the few months it was with me – the cheery news is that there’s a brand, spanking, shiny new one on the way later this (not so) fine year.
What's new pussycat?
Having lived with the outgoing one for three months, there’s a few notable updates on the way with the new model. First of all, the name will be getting drastically – drastically, I tell you – shorter. It was hard to remember Seat Leon Cupra R ST Abt 4Drive (I’m still not sure I’ve got that right), but going forward, it will possibly be… Cupra Leon ST 4Drive. Way more catchy, right?
That’s right, officially no more Seat. The new model is going to be Cupra through and through.
Even more interestingly, Cupra’s taking its hot hatch, and hot estate, in a more eco direction. It’s not often you hear the words ‘economical’ and ‘hot hatch’ in the same sentence, but the new Cupra Leon will be available as… wait for it, a plug-in hybrid.
The Cupra Leon eHybrid will also be available as the estate version (potentially the Cupra Leon eHybrid R ST Abt 4Drive eventually perraps? Ok, so we haven’t dropped any words here…).
It’s almost the car equivalent of the classic WFH Zoom call outfit – business professional on top, party (well, pyjamas) on the bottom. This thing will calmly and quietly give you electric power when you want to be holier than thou, and crazy turbocharged fun when you need it.
Why'd you do this to me RON?
I’m not against it. The fact my Seat Leon Cupra R ST Abt enjoyed devouring 98 RON made me wince a little every time I filled up, especially when petrol prices inexplicably dropped quite dramatically, but good ole 98 RON stayed up around the 140p per litre mark. Thanks Ron. I just don’t know how sporty the new one will feel or be with that extra weight. If Cupra can get it right, and ensure it doesn’t unsettle the ride, it’ll be really ace though.
You’ll apparently be able to do 37 miles of zero-emission electric driving after charging up with a household socket for six hours. It’ll be powered by a 1.4-litre turbo four-cylinder engine with 150hp and 184lb ft. Add to that a 13kWh lithium-ion battery powering a front-mounted 115hp e-motor and you get 245hp and 295lb ft of torque.
But you don’t have to go for the eHybrid if you don’t want to. For the ‘standard’ Cupra Leon, there’s also a 2.0-litre petrol powered number with 245hp, a bit less torque, but a whole lot less weight. And a more feisty 300hp version, FWD and 7-speed DSG.
Estate only, you can get the top 310hp version – that’s 10 more hp than the ‘normal’ R outgoing model, and there’ll probably be another Abt tuning pack to add on top, to squeeze an extra 50 or so hp out. A la my Leon ST.
And it’s good to know they're keeping the EA888 and excellent DSG gearbox for the hotter variants of the upcoming model. Some people may want to see a more dramatic change, but why bother when it’s such a good engine?
Being a Cupra through and through, those copper highlights are going to be available across alllllllll models, yay, but you can spec your new Leon Cupra without as well, boo.
They're bringing copper back, yeh...
I’d already made up my mind after month one, but this is one of a handful of (new-ish) cars I’d hand over my own cash for… if I had £38,475 somewhere. Sadly I don’t. Journalism (like crime) doesn’t pay, kids. It’d be pretty hard to find one as well, there are only 150 of them in the UK. I passed one of the other 149 while out and about, and the other driver and I had a nice little wave to each other… and admired each other’s copper-coloured wheels…
Since it’s gone, there have been times I’ve woken up in the middle of the night, calling its name: “SeatLeonCupraRStAbt4Drive, where are you?”… which I hope is more reassuring to my other half than “Juan” or “Dave”. He hasn’t mentioned it yet, anyway.
For now I’ll have to patiently wait until I can get my hands on the next one… It’s been a blast.