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On climbing aboard the Seat Leon ST Cupra R, it felt like I was about to take control of a competition car and this was perfectly understandable as the model tested had the additional ABT tuning pack thus boosting the power to 370PS.
This model brings uniqueness, sophistication and performance to the market, mixing the qualities expected of a Leon with the high-performance attributes of the Cupra brand. The two litre TSI engine is mated with a seven speed TSI transmission and dynamic traction from its 4Drive system. Looking at performance, rest to 100kph (62mph) in under five seconds and on to a top speed of 250kph (155mph). This Seat could easily double as a track car.
Along with “push you back in your seat” performance comes comfort, and versatility in a body-style that adds practicality to the mix. The performance is both accessible and manageable thanks to the vehicle’s advanced 4Drive drive system, with an accomplished ride quality due to the specific Cupra dynamic chassis setup. In order to improve cornering speed and handling performance, new uprights have been added to the front axle that modifies the negative camber; the rear negative camber is also at 2º. Performance is matched by audio, the distinctive Cupra sound from the quad exhaust pipes at the rear of the vehicle giving drivers a sound as well as a visceral experience from behind the steering wheel.

Even at first glance this Seat distinguishes itself from the competition with a compelling exterior design. The newly developed lateral air intakes with copper colour treatment give a subtle indication of the vehicle’s heritage. Add to this the extensive use of carbon fibre to maximise the vehicle’s performance and aesthetics; the front splitter, the new rear spoiler, the side skirts and the rear diffuser all benefit from the material and the car’s confidence becomes increasingly apparent. The striking exterior appearance is amplified by an arresting choice of colours: Magnetic Tech, Midnight Black, Nevada White or Blackness Grey, an exclusive exterior colour for the vehicle. Copper logos and badges also emphasise the credentials, with the same tone used on its exclusive 19 inch alloy rims with copper hub caps which frame the front Brembo brakes, another hint to its overall performance.

Once onboard, you focus on the illuminated aluminium plaques and the interior lining of the doors is finished in fabric with carbon fibre look. Copper accents continue inside on the climate control vents, the central console, on the logo on the steering wheel and on the stitching of both the bucket seats and steering wheel. Both the steering wheel and gear knob are upholstered in Alcantara to provide a plush, tactile finish. A definite sports touch for both driver and front passenger, they are cocooned in sports bucket seats that provide the maximum amount of comfort on longer journeys whilst keeping you secure when the driving style becomes more enthusiastic.

On pressing the start button, the welcome splash screen shows an exclusive Cupra R ST display on the central console’s 8 inch colour screen. On the move ,you are given all the information and driving data from the pixel-dense digital cockpit, leaving you to enjoy the drive. Designed as a high-performance vehicle it also supplies the necessary levels of comfort and convenience that modern life necessitates with such items as keyless entry and front and rear view cameras are included as standard. This Seat integrates the latest connectivity suite meaning you can link with mobile devices to the car selected apps and increased functionality.

Finally just one niggle, the steering was heavier than I would have liked, but to be fair some might have a very different opinion.

Ian Lynas

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