SEAT Leon ST Cupra 280 is the Nurburgring’s fastest estate

Estate Cupra 280 sets fastest ‘Ring lap time

The SEAT Leon ST Cupra 280 has set the fastest Nurburgring lap time for an estate, navigating the Green Hell in a recorded 7min 58.12sec. This not only tops the time sheets for an estate, but also beats the 280 hatch, which recorded a time of 7min 58.44sec in 2014.

SEAT puts the estate’s faster time down to its progressive rear axle and its longer, more aerodynamically-efficient body. We're not so sure - given that the circuit is 13 miles long and the lap times were recorded more than a year apart, yet the difference between hatch and ST is a mere 0.3sec, we’d say the times are well within a standard margin of error. Any difference is as likely down to the driver and conditions as physical differences between the cars.

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There's certainly not a great deal to separate the hatchback and ST on paper. The Cupra ST 280 features the same 276bhp 2-litre TSI engine and gearbox as the Cupra 280 hatch. Both ‘Ring lap times were set with the DSG gearbox, as opposed to the standard-fit six-speed manual.

Admittedly, the estate car weighs 45kg more than its truncated counterpart. But performance figures are close, with the ST 280 taking a claimed 6sec to sprint from 0-62mph, three-tenths down on the hatch. Top speed for both is 155mph.

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The Leon ST Cupra 280’s lap time pushes the previous estate record-holder, the Audi RS4, into second. This means that in the world of estates at least, a front-driven 276bhp four-cylinder SEAT is now faster around the ‘Ring than a four-wheel drive, 444bhp V8 Audi.

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