Seat Leon ST Cupra 280: is this 2015’s hottest estate?

Published: 08 January 2015

The Spanish are hellbent on shedding their reputation as the weak link in Volkswagen’s empire, and judging by the rate of change in Martorell in recent years we’d say they’re doing a great job of banishing that underdog status for good. The new Seat Leon ST Cupra 280 estate, unveiled today, will do plenty to continue altering perceptions.

It’s a bit of a Ronseal car, doing exactly what it says on the tin: taking the compact Leon ST wagon bodystyle and fusing it with the Cupra 280 hot-hatch powertrain.

It makes a pretty effective load-lugging Q-car, we’d wager on this first evidence. CAR has seen the car close up ahead of its Geneva motor show debut and it looks very convincing, if a little rare-groove.

How quick is the new Seat Leon ST Cupra?

There’s the same rampant 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine under the Leon Cupra’s snout, turbocharged for a muscular 276bhp (or 280ps in metric speak, hence the name).

That blown lump also produces 258lb ft of twist for an instant thrust of acceleration on tap all the way from low revs. Judging by our experiences with CAR magazine’s Cupra hatchback long-termer, it’ll be devastatingly fast on the road. Still want that Golf R Estate?

Only the front wheels are driven on the Seat, mind, so expect some torque steer, despite the electronically controlled front diff doing a sterling job of harnessing all those ponies (all drive can be sent to a single front wheel in extremis).

A 0-62mph time of 6.0sec (down two-tenths on the hatch) is quoted and, although no top speed is cited, the hatch tops out at 155mph and we see no reason why Seat’s wicked wagon won’t match that.

A very fast estate

All the usual Leon ST attributes remain undimmed: there’ll be a usefully roomy 587-litre boot (stretching to 1470 if you flop the seats down) and a spacious family-friendly cabin with a much-improved facia and the latest MQB-architecture goodies, such as magic-hover sat-nav tricks for your fingers and a plethora of goodies and gadgets to keep you entertained and safe on the road.

Choose from a choice of six-speed DSG twin-clutch or manual transmissions; the most efficient - and fastest - figures come with the auto. Seat quotes CO2 figures from 154g/km, with a 42mpg combined economy thirst.

Leon ST Cupra prices, specs

Sales of the Seat Leon ST Cupra start in March 2015, with prices announced nearer launch; looking at the cost of the hatchback, we’d anticipate it coming in around the £28,500 mark.

Standard kit includes full LED headlamps, alcantara upholstery, 6in colour touchscreen infotainment and 19-inch alloy wheels. For £2025 you can upgrade to the Sub8 Performance Pack - alluding to its punishing 2014 Nurburgring lap time in the famously pointless Lord Of The ’Rings Battle Of The Hot Hatches Saga - which brings uprated Brembo brakes, lighter alloys and extra side skirts. Extra-sticky Michelin Cup tyres are a further cost option.

Buyers can also pick a Black Line or Orange Line pack, for those who like to be Tango’ed - each pack having the relevant colour picked out on the grille, door mirrors and two-tone alloys. You have been warned.

By Tim Pollard

Editorial director of CAR's digital publishing arm. Motoring news magnet

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