SEAT Leon Cupra R
Generations Timeline, Specs and Pictures
In 2017, SEAT unveiled the most powerful version of a road-car ever produced by the Spanish company: the Leon Cupra R.
It was based on the regular Cupra, but it was closer to the Golf R.
After Volkswagen bought the SEAT brand, it started to slowly increase its image on the market. Even though all of them featured powerplants and transmissions and parts from other Volkswagen Group brands, it had its development strategy that involved racing. Its sportier versions were appreciated by its customers. That made them try a new approach, with the Leon Cupra R.
From the outside, the main difference between the Leon Cupra and the R version was the color. There was a choice of three special colors to chose from Midnight Black, Pyrenees Grey (neither with extra cost), and the exclusive Matte Grey. In the back, under the bumper, the Leon Cupra R featured four exhausts for the four-cylinder engine.
Inside, there were few differences, starting with a better look for the sport-bucket seats. They featured an integrated headrest. But the rear bench was just as regular as in any other SEAT Leon, with a nicer upholstery. The instrument cluster featured some copper-like details, just to remind the driver that that is a Cupra (copper) car.
The 2.0-liter engine offered 310 hp for the manual version and 10 hp less if the car was equipped with the 7-speed DSG (dual-clutch) gearbox.
It was the Spanish brother of the Volkswagen Golf GTI and it shared the same mechanical drivetrain and platform with it.
The 2009 SEAT Leon Cupra R was an unsung hero of the hot-hatch segment.
The SEAT brand was in need of an image vector and that image was the Leon. So, the SEAT received the same platform as the Volkswagen Golf and, along with that, came the special 2.0 TFSI engine installed in the GTI.
From the outside, the Leon Cupra R had some details to tell the difference from a base model. It featured specific 19” light-alloy wheels, a roof spoiler, an “R” badge on the honeycomb grille and on the tailgate. There were some other specific Cupra R details such as the black rearview mirror case, the word CUPRA on the tailgate and a steel oval exhaust pipe.
Inside there were a lot of differences, starting with the very nice sport bucket-seats. Those were massive and it affected the rear passenger’s view and took some of the legroom. But they were meant to hold their occupants in place while hard cornering.
Under the hood, there was the 2.0-TFSI engine upgraded from the Cupra 240 hp version to 265 hp. But there were more performance-oriented upgrades. The gearbox was slightly adjusted and the traction system was adjusted via an XDS system that mimicked a self-locking differential. The suspension was tuned and the car was lowered 17 mm (0.6”) when compared with a standard Leon. A new, high-performance braking system with larger discs front and back helped the car stopped better.
SEAT Leon Cupra R is regarded as the sportiest version of Leon, excelling in most areas, including handling, safety and comfort.
The Cupra R comes with Brembo brakes with ventilated discs, as well as with ABS and electronic brake distribution. Moreover, it features a 6-speed gearbox which improves both the performance and the fuel consumption. For example, it is said that this transmission allows the driver to shift to second gear when the car is reaching 100 km/h, underlining the power developed by the engine and the gearbox. Beside the mentioned features, the Cupra R comes with sport suspensions, anti-roll bar and 18-inches wheels.