BMW M235i vs SEAT Leon Cupra: drag race video

Sports car vs hot hatch, rear vs front-drive: it's BMW M235i vs SEAT Leon Cupra in our drag battle video

Hot hatchback versus sports car – it’s a debate that’s been swirling around for some time. Especially as more often than not, it involves an intriguing discussion about the respective pluses and minuses of front and rear-wheel drive. This track battle involves all of those elements, while pitting two cars with pretty similar performance against each other on the near-two-mile runway of Bruntingthorpe in Leicestershire.

Our hot hatch contender is the SEAT Leon Cupra. One of a number of brisk hatches spun from the VW Group MQB platform and box of bits (see also VW Golf GTI, Skoda Octavia vRS, Audi S3), it’s here in its most potent ‘Cupra 280’ guise, which means 276bhp, 258lb ft of torque and a claimed 5.8sec 0-60 time. Top speed – while not completely relevant in this drag race – is a limited 155mph. Our test car is fitted with the optional six-speed DSG paddleshift gearbox (a six-speed manual is standard), which drops the sprint to 60mph by 0.1sec. Weighing 1320kg, it returns a power-to-weight ratio of 212bhp/ton. It’s priced from £26,945, though this DSG five-door comes in at £28,530.

Subscribe to evo magazine

evo is 21 and to celebrate, we're returning to 1998 prices! Subscribe now to SAVE 39% on the shop price and get evo for its original cover price of £3.00 an issue, plus get a FREE gift worth £25!

In the sports car corner, it’s the new BMW M235i. The coupe sibling of the M135i hatch, its rear wheels are powered by a 321bhp, 332lb ft 3-litre straight-six turbo engine. Performance figures? A quoted 5.0sec 0-60 time and an electronically limited 155mph top speed. Here we have a six-speed manual, but an eight-speed automatic is optional. So it’s up on power compared to the Leon Cupra, but with a 1455kg kerb weight, its power-to-weight ratio is relatively close, at 224bhp/ton. The extra cache of its coupe body style and BMW badge ensure it’s costlier, with a basic price of £34,250.

So which is your money on? Watch the drag battle above to see which streaks ahead, and to work out which will serve you best in a traffic light grand prix – front or rear-wheel drive.

Advertisement
Advertisement - Article continues below
Advertisement
Advertisement

Most Popular

Visit/mercedes/18211/mercedes-amg-one-hypercar-shown-in-new-teaser-video
Mercedes

Mercedes-AMG One hypercar shown in new teaser video 

AMG’s F1-powered ultimate hypercar has been shown on track in a new clip
6 Dec 2019
Visit/nissan/gtr/21433/limited-run-nissan-gt-r50-to-enter-production-in-2020
Nissan GT-R coupe

Limited-run Nissan GT-R50 to enter production in 2020

First customer GT-R50s set to hit the road next year, with prices starting beyond the €1million mark
5 Dec 2019
Visit/buying-advice/19675/used-car-deals-of-the-week
used cars

Best used cars for sale this week

We’ve delved into the classifieds and chosen our favourite cars for sale this week
5 Dec 2019
Visit/hyundai/201819/hyundai-i30-fastback-n-versus-the-nurburgring
Hyundai i30 N

Hyundai i30 Fastback N versus the Nurburgring

We brought the Hyundai i30 Fastback back to its spiritual home in Germany's Eifel mountains, where there is a racing track you might well have heard o…
7 Oct 2019