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In-depth reviews

SEAT Leon Cupra (2014-2020) review - performance and 0-60 time

Acceleration times are as you would expect for the class. ST and Cupra R Estate models are far quicker

Evo rating
  • Underlying technical make-up impressive; excellent engine, brakes and chassis tune
  • Feeling its age inside; still not the most playful of hot hatchbacks

The Leon Cupra’s performance on paper is about where you’d expect this level of hot hatchback to be. The front-wheel-drive Cupra hatchbacks reach 62mph in 6.0sec and top out at 155mph. This relatively brisk time is aided by its somewhat lightweight 1431kg kerb weight, but then also limited by its two driven wheels.

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The Cupra ST puts its extra 10bhp down with the aid of an extra pair of driven wheels, reaching 62mph in 4.9sec, but for the fastest tool in this shed the Abt-fitted Cupra R will hit 62mph in just 4.5sec, feeling every bit as quick as those impressive figures would suggest. 

Over and above the on-paper figures, the Cupra’s liberal spread of power and torque across the rev band makes it immensely fast across the ground, while never feeling strained or compromised at high revs. In all-wheel-drive models, little to none of the power feels wasted getting to the tarmac.

If there is one issue with the driveline it’s the transmission’s tendency to thud itself into gears on inconsistent throttle inputs. This is not an issue confined to the Cupra, as it’s also felt in lots of other high-performance models fitted with a dual-clutch transmission. We just can’t help thinking how satisfying an Abt-fitted Cupra R would be with a six-speed manual transmission…

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