SEAT has begun a new chapter with its iconic CUPRA sub-brand through the unveiling of its first ever high performance estate, the Leon ST CUPRA. Combining effortless performance with style and spaciousness in spades, the latest addition to the Leon stable boasts a load space of up to 1,470 litres and can shift from nought to 62 mph in just 6.0 seconds – only a shade, 0.2 seconds, slower out of the blocks than its five-door sibling.
The SEAT Leon CUPRA range already has hordes of admirers, from media all across Europe to those who sample their charms on a daily basis. The new Leon ST CUPRA adds a new dimension. For work and family, for sports and hobbies – with its added versatility, it’s the ideal everyday sports car.
“The new Leon ST CUPRA is the perfect complement to our high-performance model line-up. The combination of refined performance and expressive dynamics with relaxed long-distance comfort and compelling utility make it utterly unique,” says Jürgen Stackmann, President of SEAT S.A. “The Leon ST CUPRA shows the SEAT brand values at their best. We are proud of the technical excellence and quality it conveys.”
In the UK, the ST CUPRA’s 2.0 TSI engine with dual injection and variable camshaft timing will be tuned to 280 PS. The Dynamic Chassis Control (DCC), front differential lock, progressive steering, CUPRA Drive Profile and standard-fit full-LED headlights are further examples of its state-of-the-art technologies.
“The new Leon ST CUPRA is pure SEAT – emotion and performance, design and dynamics deliver driving fun mile after mile. It boasts state-of-the-art technology evident in its great precision, but also in its amazing efficiency,” stresses Dr. Matthias Rabe, Vice President for Research and Development. “We have invested a great deal in the fine details to ensure the Leon CUPRA has the same ride and the same athleticism in its estate form – but with plenty of additional utility.”
With the new Leon ST CUPRA, a success story is moving onto the next level. The first generation was launched in 1996 with the Ibiza, followed since by an array of dynamic CUPRA models which have developed to become icons of the SEAT brand. In the latest generation, the Leon three-door is being offered for the first time as a CUPRA - and now the Leon ST is too.
The Drive – high performance as standard
CUPRA stands for power, performance, dynamics – and the new Leon ST CUPRA fulfils each of these promises perfectly. The ST CUPRA 280 with optional DSG transmission, the brand’s top model, catapults from zero to 62 mph in just 6.0 seconds (6.1 seconds with the manual gearbox). Its broad spread of torque, ranging from 1,700 to 5,600 rpm, guarantees impressive pulling power in every situation.
Against this, the new Leon ST CUPRA is astonishingly efficient, with fuel economy of 42.8 (DSG) and 42.2 (manual). This equates to CO2 figures of just 154 and 157 grams per kilometre.
Making it even more intriguing is the availability of the ‘Sub8 Performance Pack’ on ST CUPRA. The optional pack includes larger Brembo brake callipers, specially-designed 19-inch multi-spoke alloy wheels in either black or orange and body-coloured side skirts. For £2,025 including VAT. Semi-slick Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tyres, as fitted to SEAT’s fastest production car when it became the first front-wheel-drive production car to dip under the then elusive eight-minute Nürburgring Nordschleife circuit lap time, are available for £460.
Hi-tech engine components
As a true high performance engine, the 2.0 TSI reacts spontaneously to every brush of the accelerator pedal and is deliciously high revving – paired with a rich and refined sound that is aided and modulated by a sound actuator. The all-new power unit with its exceptionally responsive turbocharger is packed full with hi-tech and groundbreaking features – in the dual-injection system, the gasoline direct injection is complemented under partial load by manifold injection. Its optimum set-up reduces fuel consumption and particulate emissions. Cylinder fill is always in the optimum range – the camshafts are adjustable, with the valve lift system regulating opening on the exhaust side. The exhaust manifold is integrated into the cylinder head and is part of the innovative thermo management system. An improved coating and alloy for the aluminium pistons and the bearings keeps friction to a minimum. The CUPRA efficiency package also includes the start/stop system and brake energy regeneration.
The Chassis – hi-tech for precision and dynamics
CUPRA has always been synonymous with outstanding dynamics, precise agility and sporting character. The latest Leon CUPRA, however, manages to set the bar a good deal higher – in every dimension. With Dynamic Chassis Control, front-axle differential lock and progressive steering all fitted as standard, it achieves considerably faster laps on the track than its already impressive predecessor. At the same time, it is significantly more relaxed to drive, with a surprisingly refined level of comfort even on long motorway journeys. Safe and reliable deceleration comes courtesy of the CUPRA-specific, high-performance brake system, recognisable by its red callipers.
DCC (Dynamic Chassis Control)
The key fundamentals of the dynamics are low weight and a stiff structure. The systematic lightweight design of the new Leon family is also evident on the ST CUPRA. The new generation of Dynamic Chassis Control developed specifically for the CUPRA is even more sensitive and responsive, adapting the chassis characteristics to the prevailing conditions in a matter of milliseconds. The same applies to the driver’s preferences, with the CUPRA Drive Profile able to be tailored specifically to their mood.
Front-axle differential lock
The new front-axle differential lock significantly improves the traction and handling of this front-wheel-drive car. The system uses a multi-plate package that is hydraulically actuated and electronically controlled. The maximum locking force is 1,600 Nm and, in extreme cases, 100 per cent of the drive can be sent to one wheel. The differential lock is integrated into all the handling systems like ESP and EDS. It not only improves the traction, but also eliminates torque steer. Furthermore, its sensitive control has no negative impact on steering feel.
Also included as standard equipment, the progressive steering improves the agile handling of the new Leon ST CUPRA. The driver experiences a precise and relaxed steering feel, less steering movement is required, reducing the number of grip changes, especially in cornering or parking manoeuvres. The steering in the new Leon CUPRA works with a progressive ratio through variable toothing on the rack.
The ESP handling system has been further developed especially for the new Leon ST CUPRA and enables a very sporty driving style with full retention of safety functionality. For extremely dynamic use, such as on a race track, it can also be deactivated in two stages – the first stage deactivates the traction control and puts the ESP into sport mode, permitting greater yaw angles. The second stage deactivates the ESP completely.
CUPRA Drive Profile
The CUPRA Drive Profile enables the characteristics of the new Leon ST CUPRA to be adapted across a very wide range to meet the individual preferences of the driver. Alongside the Comfort and Sport modes, the CUPRA mode was, of course, a focal point for the engineers in Martorell. Throttle response is particularly sensitive in this setting, while the DSG operates in its sportiest shifting mode and the sound actuator supports the full tone of the turbocharged engine. The Dynamic Chassis Control, progressive steering and the front-axle differential lock also operate at their sportiest settings.
The Design – emotional and powerful
Emotional design is a great strength of the Leon family. For the new CUPRA, this has been developed one step further. The stretched silhouette of the ST estate version fits perfectly to the big, distinctive wheels. The new front end with its large air intakes and full-LED headlamps ensures a powerful look, as do the rear skirt with its diffuser effect and the two oval end pipes. The alloy wheels are exclusive to the CUPRA, while the red brake callipers and tinted side and rear windscreen underline its individuality.
The focus of the interior is on the CUPRA sports steering wheel in its own unique design complete with shifting paddles for the optional DSG transmission, as well as the top sports seats in black Alcantara finished with white stitching. Black leather upholstery, likewise with white stitching, is also available. For extreme lateral grip, there are optional bucket seats. The pedals and door sills are made from aluminium.
The ST CUPRA 280 is visually differentiated through its unique 19-inch wheels with a titanium paint finish, the Aerodynamic Pack with the spoiler on the rear roof edge, CUPRA lettering on the brake callipers and black door mirror housings. The trim elements in the cockpit of this top sporty variant are a deep glossy
The Equipment – exclusive and individual
The Leon ST CUPRA 280 also states its position as the top model in the SEAT range through the progressive steering, dynamic chassis control, front-axle differential lock, CUPRA Drive Profile and high-performance brake system with 19-inch wheels.
Also standard equipment, are the full-LED headlamps and the LED rear lights. Alongside their distinctive design, LED headlamps have many further benefits – they illuminate the road ahead at a colour temperature of 5,300 Kelvin. Because this is very similar to daylight, it places very little strain on the eyes. When it comes to efficiency, the LEDs consume minimal energy – dipped beam, for instance, draws just 20 watts per unit.
The top sports seats in alcantara, the CUPRA steering wheel and Media System Plus with a 5.8-inch colour touchscreen are all among the standard interior features. One particular feature in the CUPRA interior is the ambient lighting. LEDs in the door panels emphasise the contours of the interior design and add to the premium feel of the passenger compartment. At the same time, the ambient lighting offers occupants improved orientation and an even greater sense of spaciousness. The colour of the LEDs can be adapted via the CUPRA Drive Profile – they glow red in CUPRA mode, with the standard setting being white.
The look of the Leon ST CUPRA can be enhanced with the optional White Line, Black Line and Orange Line packs. The surrounds of the radiator grille and door mirrors and parts of the two-tone aluminium wheels are painted in the respective colour – with the Orange Line standing for Cup Racer orange.