We know you might be thinking that this is just another Volkswagen Golf clone. But what you're actually looking at is the new King of the Ring.

That is, as far as hot hatches go. Because here in Geneva, VW's Spanish subsidiary Seat has confirmed what we reported a couple of days ago: that the Leon Cupra has taken the new lap record for front-drive production cars at the Nürburging. The Cupra 280 equipped with the new Performance Pack clocked a time of 7:58.4, making it not only the quickest front-driver ever to lap the vaunted Nordschleife, but also the first to crack the eight-minute barrier.

Based on the same MQB architecture as the Golf, the amped-up Cupra version of the new Leon packs a 2.0-liter turbo four available with either 261 or 276 horsepower, with three doors or five, and with a six-speed manual or DCT. Unfortunately we don't get any of these versions in North America – where we'll just have to settle for the more powerful VW Golf R – but you can scope it out in the gallery of live images above. Oh, you can also see what happens when you connect that Cupra 280 engine to a washing machine in the video below.
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Leon CUPRA sets new Nürburgring record

Geneva, 04/03/2014. - SEAT presented its 'Leon CUPRA Performance Pack' at the Geneva Motor Show today. The Leon CUPRA has already proven its incredibly sporty performance on the Nürburgring, the world's most demanding race track. It lapped the famous Nordschleife circuit in a time of 7:58.4 minutes, beating the previous best time for front-wheel-drive vehicles by around ten seconds. The thorough, painstaking work done at the German circuit has been applied by SEAT to its series-production model, another of the brand's attractions at the Geneva Motor Show, where its performance, compelling design, everyday usefulness and top-quality places it in a class of its own.

The Spanish brand is also putting the new Leon Cup Racer on show at Geneva, the competition vehicle developed and built by SEAT Sport, and which will be the major player in the Leon Eurocup, to begin in May. Another attraction on the SEAT stand is the new Mii by MANGO, a fashion edition city slicker created in collaboration with the design label MANGO, present in 104 countries around the world.

SEAT is currently demonstrating impressive performance in its sales figures. With 355,000 vehicles delivered worldwide, the Spanish manufacturer achieved growth of 10.6 in Europe. In Germany, for instance, SEAT achieved a market share of 2.8, placing it in the top ten. In United Kingdom, registrations of the brand increased around 17 in its home market of Spain. The new Leon family made a major contribution to this success. No less than 102,000 new SEAT Leon were marketed in 2013, 44% more than in the previous year.

"SEAT clearly has positive sales momentum. The new Leon family is a key contributor to this growth. We are about to create a second strong pillar of business next to the Ibiza family. We expect to continue this success with the new Leon ST launched in the past months. First customer reaction is very positive, with over 20,000 factory orders already since launch period. We have momentum and plan to continue our growth path in 2014," states Jürgen Stackmann, President of SEAT S.A. "SEAT is a young spirited brand made in Barcelona. This young spirit is defined by two dimensions: we are design driven and we are dynamic. Our ultimate expression of the successful Leon formula is the all new Leon CUPRA. It is the fastest and the most powerful car we have ever built and yet is a comfortable family car. The CUPRA is our new icon."

State-of-the-art technology and stunning design, coupled with compelling performance and perfect everyday usability – the new Leon CUPRA embodies SEAT's brand values in the best possible way. With up to 206 kW / 280 PS, the new CUPRA is not only the clear top model in the exceptionally successful Leon family, it is also the brand's most powerful ever series-production car. And the fastest, too. The Leon CUPRA's drive and chassis guarantee precision driving fun of the highest order. With its extensive equipment and excellent quality, the new CUPRA represents exceptionally good value-for-money. This new sports icon from the SEAT range is offered for the first time as a five-door and as the Leon three-door Sport Coupé.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 13 Comments
      turbomonkey2k
      • 9 Months Ago
      This must be what Russia will give to their copper medal winners.
      Rob K
      • 9 Months Ago
      It's SEAT; not Seat. When will you guys ever learn?
        aatbloke1967
        • 9 Months Ago
        @Rob K
        While technically Seat's name is an acronym, as is the case with Fiat, in reality it is used as a proper noun instead in general use - including its own sales literature.
      Frisky_Dingo
      • 9 Months Ago
      Now even the hot hatch segment is getting caught up in the meaningless Ring wars. Pretty soon we're gonna have 450hp FWD hatches with MRC that cost 55K.
      timber
      • 9 Months Ago
      Nobody mentions that the Renault Megane RS didn't use road legal semi slick tyres (Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2) like the ones the Cupra used (which are an option making their use on the Ring allowed) Now we will probably see a wave of Ring contenders with the same type of "optional" tyres and we will see which car is faster
        gameover
        • 9 Months Ago
        @timber
        so you are saying that : the engine that puts out 350NM from 1500 to 5600 RPM and 280HP from 5800 to 6200 the class leading 6 speed DSG the XDS diff most advanced in its class and the torque vectoring the MQB plateform and the chassis perfected by WTCC seat engineers are all just crap , the megane was a special edition trophy and it was barly legal , don't jump on the leon , records are made to be broken , i'm sur the next civic type R will do so , and the next focus RS as well
          timber
          • 9 Months Ago
          @gameover
          Of course the SEAT Cupra is a great car but the tyres are of the utmost importance for track times. Despite that none of those features are particularly relevant for this issue or different from the competition. The Megane also features a 2 liter turbo with 265 hp, has a manual transmission (the DSG will probably be faster) but has a real LSD. If Ford returned with a Focus RS it would have more or less the same features.
        Chris O.
        • 9 Months Ago
        @timber
        Renault doesn't need to have PS Cup 2's as a factory option on the Megane RS, in order to have a "valid" ring time. There isn't a certifying body for ring times, so basically manufacturers can run whatever equipment/tune/etc. they want to. For any manufacturer that wants to trumpet their time, I think it's extremely likely that they've made at least some minor modifications to the car for safety, performance, or both. In the case of the Seat, I wouldn't be surprised if they ran with a different engine tune...
          gameover
          • 9 Months Ago
          @Chris O.
          the renault that did the record was a special edition trophy it used a specially developped for it a set of Bridgestone Potenza RE050A , that was the best tyres for the time don't forget that in the last 2 years tyre technology evolved exponotially
        Iosif Bogdan
        • 9 Months Ago
        @timber
        For some reason I can't reply to your comment from 11:57 AM. XDS is the diff simulated through slight front break manipulation and I have that on my FR but all these new Cupras have a real, electronically controlled, LSD, like the one optionally available with the Performance Pack for GTI.
      carboy55
      • 9 Months Ago
      Nice! VW could use some of this in the USA.
      Vwfanatic
      • 9 Months Ago
      OMG, the Cupra is absolutely Boss. VWoA can't possibly import it to the USA for two (2) reasons: 1. Makes entire current line of VW models instantly obsolete and unmarketable. 2. Volkswagen's Cupra production could never keep pace with sky-high USA sales volumes!
      Travis C. Vasconcelo
      • 9 Months Ago
      I know that old clique phrase, "we always lust after what we can't have"…but, I think that phrase was written for this car. This rawks!
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