New 2020 Cupra Leon revealed ­– Cupra hits back with hot hatch and estate

Cupra’s launched not just one, but a whole range of hot Leons to rival the rapidly expanding hot hatch class in 2020

SEAT’s performance brand Cupra has unveiled its take on the all-new Leon, launching not just one, but four different models with varying outputs and drive systems. Combined with the Leon’s new chassis, design and interior, it’ll enter 2020 on the back of the previous Leon Cupra’s impressive 44,000 sales with a whole new arsenal of tricks ready to rival the new Civic Type R, Volkswagen Golf GTI and Ford Focus ST.

The first upgrade is the new bodyshell, which is 90mm longer than on the previous-generation Leon, and shaped somewhat differently with a more upright windscreen, longer bonnet and 50mm longer wheelbase. Its chassis is shared with the standard SEAT Leon (and other Volkswagen Group MQB products), but the Cupra sits lower on its larger wheel and tyre packages by 25mm and 20mm at the front and rear respectively, and with slightly wider tracks. The electronic power steering system has also been fettled, while the dynamic chassis control has been engineered to give the Cupra Leon a wider remit across the different driver modes, all of which are now more accessible through a new steering wheel-mounted mode switch.

Subscribe to evo magazine

Subscribe today to our exclusive new offer and SAVE 39% on the shop price, get evo for its original cover price of £3.00 an issue, plus get a FREE gift worth £20!

The major driver for the variance between drive modes is the Cupra’s standard adaptive dampers, which now not only change depending on the selected mode, but also monitor the road surface and actively adjust the stiffness based on the road conditions. The brakes are also new, with four-piston Brembo calipers gripping 370mm front discs. 

> New Volkswagen Golf GTI teased ahead of Geneva motor show

Advertisement - Article continues below

As with hot Leons of the past, Cupra is offering a range of different powertrains, including a new plug-in hybrid option for the first time. The entry Cupra Leon features a 242bhp 2-litre turbocharged four-cylinder that will also be seen in the new Golf GTI, while the Leon PHEV introduces a plug-in hybrid powertrain to Cupra that combines an electric motor and battery pack with a 1.4-litre turbocharged four-cylinder, again producing a 242bhp peak power figure. This powertrain is incidentally also shared with a hot Golf, this time the GTE. Both these powertrains power the front wheels via a dual-clutch transmission – a six-speed unit for the PHEV and a seven-speed unit for the other.

The two other powertrain options take things up a notch though, starting with a 297bhp version of the same 2-litre engine powering the front wheels through a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission and electronically controlled limited-slip differential. These three powertrain options are available in either five-door hatchback or estate form. Finally, topping the range is the estate-only 306bhp Cupra ST 4Drive, which sends its power to a Haldex all-wheel-drive system via another DSG ’box. Performance figures for this flagship model are rated at 4.8sec to 62mph, 0.1sec faster than the current model, while top speed is limited to 155mph. No range-wide performance or key weight figures have been released so far. 

These two hotter engine variants might be familiar to you from the current Leon Cupra, but that’s no bad thing, as the current Leon’s strong EA888 engine and slick DSG ’box are, and always have been, close to the top of the class in terms of performance and usability.

What’s more dramatic is the Leon’s design inside and out. All models receive an aggressive new bumper set, bespoke colour options and plenty of copper-accented trim and badging to denote the Cupra status. Both 242bhp versions are fitted with 18-inch wheels as standard, while the higher-output models replace these with 19-inch units for an even tougher stance. The minimalist interior is shared with the standard Leon, but accessorised by yet more copper detailing, Alcantara trim on the seats and door cards and a bespoke steering wheel fitted with an engine start button and mode switch as mentioned above.

> New 2020 SEAT Leon revealed – the Golf’s Catalan cousin gets a makeover

Tech has also improved, moving across to the new 10-inch floating infotainment display familiar to the standard Leon (and Golf), paired to a new digital driver’s display.

Advertisement - Article continues below

The new Cupra Leon is available for pre-order now, and will reach UK showrooms later this year. Final UK prices and specifications have yet to be announced, but we suspect the slight value edge that Leons have traditionally had over their hot VW Golf cousins will remain, and hopefully too their slightly more boisterous personalities.



SEAT Leon Cupra

335bhp Cupra Leon Competicion adopts 3D printed components

26 Mar 2020
SEAT Leon Cupra hatchback

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

25 Mar 2020
SEAT Leon Cupra

SEAT Leon Cupra R ST Abt 2020 review – spicy Spanish dish gets even more sizzle

23 Jan 2020

Most Popular

Porsche 911 Turbo

New Porsche 911 Turbo gains Lightweight and Sport packages 

The 2020 Porsche 911 Turbo hasn’t been with us for long, but a raft of packages and optional extras are already in the pipeline
26 Mar 2020
Land Rover Defender

New Land Rover Defender X P400 review

Land Rover’s all new Defender proves to be worth the wait and is now as capable on road as it is off it. It’s no driver’s car but as a do everything m…
25 Mar 2020

1200bhp Hennessey C8 Corvette shown testing on video

The C8 Corvette has only just hit showrooms, but Hennessey Performance already has big plans...
26 Mar 2020
Hyundai i30 N hatchback

Hyundai i30 N versus Hyundai i30 TCR

Can Dickie Meaden beat Steve Sutcliffe in a straight(ish) race? We sent them to the Circuit Nuvolari with a pair of Hyundai i30 Ns to find out.
20 Sep 2019