New SEAT Leon Cupra 290 gets power hike

Our favourite hot SEAT gets more power to take on the Golf R

There’s a more powerful SEAT Lean Cupra on the way, as the Spanish manufacturer continues to chase the competition in the fiercely contested hot hatch market. Making its debut at next week’s Frankfurt Motor Show, the Leon Cupra 290 will reach the UK by the end of the year.

SEAT has given the outgoing Leon Cupra 280 a 10bhp boost, taking power to 286bhp over the outgoing car’s 276bhp, which is just 10bhp shy of Volkswagen’s Golf R, 15bhp more than Renault’s Megane Trophy and 40bhp more than Ford’s Focus ST. The Cupra 290’s torque figure remains the same as the outgoing car at 258lb ft.

Both a six-speed manual and dual-clutch gearbox will be available with the Cupra 290, the latter resulting in a 0-62mph time of 5.7-secs and a 155mph maximum, the former time a tenth of a second quicker than the outgoing Cupra 280.

The SEAT Leon Cupra 290 comes with an electronically controlled mechanical limited slip differential as standard, the same unit that is fitted to the Skoda Octavia VRS 230. The Sub8 Performance Pack is also available as an option, bringing with it larger Brembo brakes, different wheels and ultra-high performance tyres.

The Cupra 290’s power increase is courtesy of a mild remap, but there’s also a retuned sports exhaust to boost the sound track. Visually only the Cupra 290 badge on the tailgate gives the game away.

Being the range topper the Cupra 290 comes well stocked with standard kit, including dynamic chassis control, LED front and rear light, alcantara sports seats and Cupra steering wheel, and what Seat calls Cupra Drive Profile, which offers three modes – Comfort, Sport and Cupra – that allow you to switch between different throttle and, where fitted, DSG shift modes.

The outgoing SEAT Leon Cupra 280 was one of our favourite hot hatches and a bit of cult hero because of the unassuming way it went about its business of being an engaging and driver-focussed hatch. Recent wheel time in the Sub8 Ultimate model has reinforced how good the Leon Cupra range is, and while 10bhp may not be a quantum leap in power output it will be another layer of polish to one of sector’s best hot hatches.

Prices have yet to be announced for the SEAT Leon Cupra 290, but expect it to be close to the Cupra 280’s £27,210 list price. We expect order books to open in November.

Recommended

Litchfield Toyota GR Yaris 2021 review – superstar hatchback picks up expert UK-tuning
Litchfield Toyota GR Yaris – front cornering
Toyota GR Yaris

Litchfield Toyota GR Yaris 2021 review – superstar hatchback picks up expert UK-tuning

Litchfield’s been fiddling with Toyota’s brilliant GR Yaris with predictably fantastic results
31 Jul 2021
Honda Civic Type R review
Honda Civic Type R GT MY21 – front
Honda Civic Type-R

Honda Civic Type R review

The Civic Type R is one of the most alluring performance cars on sale regardless of price
20 Jul 2021
New Audi RS3 revealed – AMG’s A45 S rival returns fitter and faster
2021 Audi RS3 Sportback – front tracking
Audi RS3

New Audi RS3 revealed – AMG’s A45 S rival returns fitter and faster

After months of tech insights, we now finally get to see the all-new Audi RS3 in its finished form
19 Jul 2021
Honda Civic Type R Sport Line 2021 review – to wing or not to wing
Honda Civic Type R Sport Line – rear
Honda Civic Type-R

Honda Civic Type R Sport Line 2021 review – to wing or not to wing

Another cracking Honda Civic Type R, and its extra civility doesn’t come at the expense of capability
17 Jul 2021

Most Popular

Mercedes S-class 2021 review – the ‘best car in the world’ just got better
Mercedes S-class – front tracking
Mercedes

Mercedes S-class 2021 review – the ‘best car in the world’ just got better

It may be slipping out of fashion, but the institution that is Mercedes’ S-class is only getting stronger
22 Jul 2021
Lotus Emira makes world debut – all-new coupe to rival Alpine A110
Lotus Emira
Lotus

Lotus Emira makes world debut – all-new coupe to rival Alpine A110

Lotus's first all-new car for a quarter of a century comes AMG power and sub-£60,000 price tag
13 Jul 2021
New Audi RS3 revealed – AMG’s A45 S rival returns fitter and faster
2021 Audi RS3 Sportback – front tracking
Audi RS3

New Audi RS3 revealed – AMG’s A45 S rival returns fitter and faster

After months of tech insights, we now finally get to see the all-new Audi RS3 in its finished form
19 Jul 2021