The hot hatch is designed to cheap(ish) and accessible, and although you can pick up some fast wheels for under £20,000 on the new car market, you'll need to cough up more money to get the REALLY serious stuff. Honda Civic Type R, almost £31,000. VW Golf R, over £31,000. Ford Focus RS, over £32,000. Audi RS3? Forget about it.
The standard SEAT Leon Cupra 300 is a more reasonable £30,445, but even that isn't strictly cheap though. In fact, that's not much less than its Golf R cousin, which has a bit more power plus four wheel drive. The reason I mention this is because SEAT has today announced the prices of its new limited edition Cupra R.
Oh, tell me more
That I will - Powering the Cupra R is the same 2.0 litre turbocharged petrol found in the standard Cupra, only this one has been poked with a few sticks to make it angrier. The result is 306bhp and 380Nm of torque, which is fed through the front wheels via a 6-speed manual gearbox. 62mph is dealt with in 5.8 seconds and the top speed is 155mph.
So far so good.
The car will be available in two colours, Monsoon Grey and Midnight Black, both of which are included in the cost of the car. Also included are features such as 19" copper and black alloy wheels, which is complimented by the copper details on the badge, bumpers and the wing mirrors. That same copper treatment continues inside, making it look a bit more like a premium smartphone rather than an out-and-out hot hatch. Still, it looks rather stylish.
In regards to equipment, you'll get the same as what you would get on the standard Cupra 300, such as LED headlights, navigation, and front and rear parking sensors to name a few. On top of this, buyers that are lucky enough to get their hands on the keys will also be able to enjoy features such as keyless entry, wireless phone charging, heated front seats, rear view camera, Safety Pack, Beats Audio system, adaptive cruise control and an upgraded navigation system.
Right... so much is it then?!
Well I'm going to come straight out with it. It's £34,995. I don't know about you, but I simply thing that's too much, especially if you consider the rivals that can be picked up for less money. Maybe the proof is in the pudding, and maybe the fact that only 799 are being made - only 24 of which are coming to the UK - will be enough to attract buyers to this new copper trimmed model.
Let me get this straight, I am a fan of SEAT, in fact I own a 2006 Ibiza FR, but if I had the money to buy a hot hatch in this segment, would I make a bee-line for the new Cupra R? I'm afraid not. Yes, it's stylish and it comes with a good level of equipment, but can it really be better than what the Civic Type R or the Focus RS is able to offer? Honestly, I'm not so sure. Maybe I need to drive one to truly appreciate it, but it will need something biblical to outshine the Honda or the Ford, and I don't think Barcelona's finest quite has that I'm afraid.
What do you guys think? Am I being harsh? Would you pay £34,995 for this car? Let me know your thoughts in the comments section.