Evo's 2015 Car of the Year test unleashes 11 of the world's greatest performance cars on the picturesque roads of Scotland to find the absolute best.
Seat Leon Cupra
Seat manages to hustle its heavier Leon ST Cupra wagon around the Nürburgring faster not only than its own record-setting three-door counterpart, but faster than any other wagon.
Seat is offering up its own spin on the hot wagon with its new Leon ST Cupra, a 261-horsepower, turbocharged five door with a cavernous 52 cu-ft of space.
The new Ultimate Sub8 Performance Pack for the Leon Cupra makes for the fastest production car Seat has ever produced, and a potential contender to retake the hot-hatch crown from Renault.
276 horsepower, 0-62 in 6 seconds flat and 52 cubic feet of cargo space: that's what's in store for the European market at the Geneva Motor Show this year in the wagon form of Seat's Nürburgring-chomping hot hatch.
Under 8. That's the new benchmark for hot hatches, expressed in the number of minutes it takes to get around the Nürburgring. Although Renault has since beat its time with the Mégane RS 275 Trophy, it was Seat that was the first to break that time in a front-drive car with the Leon Cupra 280. Critics pointed out that the record-setting car was equipped with certain add-ons over the production version, but now Seat is offering those upgrades to customers as part of a new package.
In case you haven't been paying attention, there's a battle raging on between two European automakers over who makes the faster hot hatch. The battle ground has been the Nürburgring, where Seat and Renault have been going back and forth, taking the front-drive lap record away from each other.
Crashes in racing are expected to happen at high speed with two drivers challenging each other to be the first one into a corner. They are not, however, supposed to happen like this. The poor Seat Leon Cupra racecar here goes out in the most humiliating way possible – a combination of gravity and human error.
Racing simulators have come a long way in recent years. As computers have gotten quicker, developers have been able to create more sophisticated models that practically bring real-world driving to the screen. Volkswagen's Spanish brand, Seat, has harnessed a bit of this cutting-edge tech to give its fans an all-too-real taste of the new Leon Cupra a few weeks before the car begins deliveries in Europe.
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.
While Porsche and McLaren vie for sub-seven-minute lap records at the Nürburgring, there's another hotly contested category, and it's not for the fastest time of any vehicle. It applies specifically to front-wheel-drive cars, and is contested between European hot hatches.
Volkswagen is keen to position its Seat brand as the Spanish alternative to Alfa Romeo. That's pretty hard to do when Alfa (occasionally) gives us sports cars like the 4C and 8C, and Seat gives us... rebadged Volkswagen minivans and old Audi sedans. But the new Leon Cupra is here to change that.
2010 Seat Leon Cupra R - Click above for high-res image gallery