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The Motorists Guide

Cupra Leon eHybrid plug-in hot hatch launched with 242bhp

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leon_e-hybrid_3.jpg?itok=bJyVdN7F First hatchback and estate to wear a Cupra badge also arrives with up to 306bhp petrol power

Fledgling performance brand Cupra has expanded its line-up with the Cupra Leon hot hatchback, its first model to be offered with a plug-in hybrid powertrain.

Based on the fourth-generation Seat Leon revealed last month, it will be the first Leon to wear the Cupra badge and will be available as both a five-door and an estate, with a selection of petrol engines as well as a PHEV variant.

The Leon e-Hybrid plug-in pairs a 1.4-litre, 148bhp petrol engine with a 113bhp electric motor and 13kWh battery pack, for a combined 242bhp and 295lb ft of torque. It will be capable of a WLTP-tested 37 miles of electric range, with CO2 emissions below 50g/km.

The standard Cupra Leon uses the tried-and-tested 2.0-litre turbocharged ‘EA888’ TSI petrol engine, available with 242bhp or 298bhp, in both hatchback and estate guise. A more powerful 306bhp variant is exclusive to the estate, which also gets 4Drive all-wheel drive. All versions use a dual-clutch DSG automatic gearbox and feature an electric limited slip differential. Suspension is by MacPherson strut front and multi-link rear, with adaptive damping adjusted via four user-selected drive modes.

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A larger front splitter, expanded air intakes, roof spoiler and Cupra badging set the Cupra Leon apart from the Seat car on which it is based. It has a 3mm lower roofline, sits lower to the ground (25mm on the front axle, 20mm on the rear), and gets a bespoke exhaust - twin tailpipes for the 242bhp engine, and quad pipes for more powerful variants. All models have full LED headlights, plus a rear LED lightbar that stretches across the entire width of the tailgate. It rides on 18in alloy wheels as standard, but can be optioned with 19in alloys and uprated 370mm Brembo brakes.

Inside, the Cupra Leon gets sports seats, a steering wheel with engine start and drive mode select buttons, a 10.1in central infotainment touchscreen and fully digital instrument cluster with bespoke Sport view mode. Android Auto and wireless Apple CarPlay are also available. The cabin features LED ambient mood lighting, along with copper and dark chrome accents that match the exterior trim, while the estate sees boot space increased by 30 litres over the hatchback.

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“The Cupra Leon’s design is the result of the combination between athletic physiognomy and striking elegance,” Alejandro Mesonero-Romanos, Cupra director of design, said. “Smooth flowing lines and well-trained muscles reflect perfectly the way it drives on the road.”

The previous generation Leon Cupra, which wore a Seat badge, sold around 44,000 units across its lifetime. 

“The Leon Cupra has been a bestseller,” Cupra CEO Wayne Griffiths explained. “With the launch of the new Cupra Leon, we will strengthen the Cupra brand, by giving a new identity to a very emblematic car.”

All Cupra Leon models will be built at Seat’s Martorell facility in Barcelona. It is set to go on sale in the summer, with customer deliveries due in the following months. As with the fourth-generation Seat Leon, prices for the Cupra models are expected to increase over the outgoing model, suggesting a starting price of around £32,000.

READ MORE

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View the full article

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