News: Seat Leon Cupra 290 - Sharpened

With an entry-level price of 33.120 euros, anyone interested in a Seat Leon Cupra 290 will buy plenty of equipment and power as well as practicality.

For a reasonably well-equipped mid-range sedan, you have to spend a little more than 30.000 euros. Then there is space, driving comfort and reason motorization with around 150 hp. Emotions none. Such customers would like Seat like to brood. For this money, the Leon Cupra offers pure emotions. The engineers recently approved a small power surcharge, so that now 213 kW / 290 hp pull on the front wheels.

Sven Schawe from Centro Técnico, where the Seat models are developed, explains the increase in power with the omitted center silencer. Less back pressure allows the engine to breathe more freely. The exhaust system was redesigned and as a result 5 kilograms lighter. The technician also promises a more robust sound. With an entry-level price of 33.120 euros, the interested party buys a lot of equipment (including electronically adjustable dampers, LED headlights and cruise control) and power, as well as sufficient practicality. After all, there is no longer any need to discuss the space available in the modern compact class. And even if the NEDC consumption of six and a half liters is just a test bench value - the sophisticated two-liter engine is also very reluctant to consume in real consumption with a moderate driving style.

But moderate driving is of course not very high on the agenda of the Cupra. In this context, the question of how 290 full-grown horses work on the front axle is interesting. Although Seat uses an elaborate cross lock with a controlled oil-bath multi-plate clutch in the front of the strongest Leon, the Spaniard can hardly walk with power in the true sense of the word. Those who exploit the performance potential from a standing start will experience scratching hooves and a full traction control. Even in third gear, the gasoline engine still tugs the leather-covered rim with full load and steering angle. Sponge over it, but it is light and wobbles ultraflink over winding country roads. The corners of the mouth usually point upwards when the throaty hissing four-cylinder receives its fire-free command from the throttle valve. Provided the asphalt is nice and dry and the driver knows how to use the machine. If you reject manual shifting, you get a six-stage dual clutch transmission for an additional 1.700 surcharge. But you can safely do without it, because while the gears engage smoothly and precisely at the handset, the automatic often behaves hectically and is sometimes indecisive.

Beyond sporty locomotion, the fast Leon is definitely a worthy everyday vehicle. But so that no misunderstandings arise - the Cupra is not a palanquin. Even if the e-shock absorbers are at the most comfortable level, the occupants experience clearly what the condition of the road is. And the undoubtedly beautiful 19-inch standard tires don't make the situation any better. It is a good thing that the powerful sports seats also provide a minimum of comfort in addition to the lateral support that is so important in the case of strong lateral acceleration.

The Cupra look is no problem if someone feels that they have to be considerate of their neighbors. After all, there is no obligation to order colorful aluminum rims in the same signal color: the buyer cannot avoid the two striking exhaust tailpipes and the light diffuser, but a simple paint job removes the optical sharpness from the athletic Leon.

When it comes to the interior, the architects rely on classic design with analog round instruments and mechanical pointers for speed and speed. The electronics fight is mainly carried out on the large TFT screen and under the sheet. Of course there are features such as autonomous braking, cruise control with active control (560 euros in a package) or traffic sign recognition for 150 euros. On the other hand, the option of reading out the currently acting G-forces or the boost pressure is standard. It's just a shame that analogue scales in the style of additional instruments are not used, as is the case with the Ford Focus RS, for example. The Leon Cupra is also available as a practical station wagon for a surcharge of 1.630 euros and is also interesting for ambitious fathers. A test drive could convince.

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