Seat Leon Cupra R 2018 UK review

Our Verdict
Seat Leon Cupra
Seat Leon Cupra

New hot hatch promises to outgun its rivals, including the Volkswagen Golf GTI

  • First Drive Seat Leon Cupra R 2018 UK review
    Spanish manufacturer unleashes the most hardcore iteration of its hot hatch
  • First Drive Seat Leon Cupra R 2017 review
    Seat's new hardcore hatchback impresses on many fronts and is the best of the hot Leon bunch, but the Cupra R isn't quite as engaging as the cheaper H
Sam Sheehan
6 April 2018
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What is it?

This is the bells and whistles, top dog of the Seat Leon range – the most powerful, most focused and most extreme variant of the brand’s Ford Focus rival. It comes equipped with the same turbocharged 2.0-litre engine as the supercar-aping Volkswagen Golf R, as well as a whole host of performance hardware to make a base-level Porsche Cayman sound under-gunned.

We first drove it in Spain late last year and were impressed by its eye-widening cross-country pace and quickened responses. But now, with all 24 UK-bound examples of the model sold out, we have our first go in one on British roads to really test how the addition of unique adaptive dampers and some pretty extreme (by production car standards) negative camber affect its real-world performance.

The car’s engine produces 306bhp, identical to the Golf R, but there’s no Haldex clutch to juggle power between the front and rear axles here, because drive is sent exclusively to the front wheels. Torque is controlled through an electronic locking differential that’s taken straight from the Cupra 300.