SEAT Leon Cupra 300 - Hot hatch inches ever closer to Golf R

SEAT's most powerful road car ever also gets all-wheel-drive in ST estate form

SEAT continues its surreptitious dethroning of the Volkswagen Golf R as the Group's flagship hot hatchback with another boost in power for the Leon Cupra.

Now badged Leon Cupra 300, the latest model - due in March 2017 - develops 296bhp, up from 286bhp and matching the Golf R precisely.

It would be an even closer match if the five-door Leon hatch and 3-door SC offered all-wheel drive, but both remain front-drive. Unusually, the ST estate version is available with 4Drive all-wheel drive, giving estate customers a like-for-like alternative to the Golf R Estate.

And like the Golf R Estate the Leon ST Cupra 300 is DSG-only. SEAT hasn't yet released performance figures for the new Cupra 300s, but it's reasonable to expect the ST is capable of matching the Golf's 5.1-second 0-62mph time. Front-drive models should shave a tenth or so from the SC Cupra 290's 5.8-second dash and the five-door's 5.9-second run, in manual form.

> SEAT Leon Cupra 290 review - more excitement than a Golf GTI?

Torque from the EA888 2-litre turbocharged unit has also increased, now developing 380Nm between 1800-5500rpm, compared to the Cupra 290's 350Nm. This output again matches the Golf R.

Dynamic Chassis Control, with a progressive steering system and locking differential, will be standard on Cupra 300 models, and settings for the car's behaviour can be adjusted through the Cupra Drive Profile menu options.

A suite of safety features (adaptive cruise control, Lane Assist et al) also comes as standard, as does an eight-inch infotainment screen, along with wireless smartphone charging and a GSM signal booster.

Pricing is yet to be confirmed, but expect a small increase over the Cupra 290's £28,380 and £28,680 in SC and five-door trim. The Cupra ST, formerly £29,675, should see a slightly larger jump on account of its new all-wheel drive setup.

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