New 2021 Cupra Leon hot hatch available to order now

Cupra Leon line-up expanded with a new, front-wheel-drive 296bhp four-cylinder petrol engine

Cupra has launched a new performance version of the Leon. It sits above the firm’s recently launched plug-in hybrid Leon variant and is the first of three planned petrol-only powertrains for the hot hatchback. 

Prices for this new pure petrol model start from £35,660 for the cheapest VZ2 specification, topping out at £37,390 for VZ3 trim.

The Cupra Leon 2.0 TSI 300 is powered by the same turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol engine as the Volkswagen Golf GTI Clubsport, which produces 296bhp and 400Nm of torque. Like its VW cousin, the Leon is front-wheel drive and only available with a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox.

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Cupra says the new engine gives the Leon a 0-62mph time of 5.7 seconds and a top speed of 155mph. The powertrain offers strong enough efficiency given the performance potential as well, with Cupra claiming it’ll return up to 37.2mpg with CO2 emissions of 171g/km.

The Leon line-up is separated into two models. The entry-level VZ2 variant features 19-inch alloy wheels, Cupra’s signature quad-exit exhaust system, black brake calipers and unique copper-coloured exterior highlights. Cruise control and a rear-view camera are also fitted as standard.

Inside, buyers get a flat-bottomed steering wheel, bucket seats, three-zone climate control, a customisable interior lighting system and illuminated tread plates. There’s a digital instrument panel also fitted as standard, along with a 10-inch infotainment system with Android Auto and wireless Apple CarPlay.

Prices for the Cupra Leon 2.0 TSI 300 in VZ3 trim start from £37,390. Buyers get a different set of 19-inch alloys, heated leather seats, a heated steering wheel, an electrically adjustable driver’s seat and a wireless phone charger. 

Petrol blue Nappa leather upholstery can be specced as an optional extra on VZ3 cars. Both variants are also available with a panoramic sunroof, a choice of seven paint finishes and varying amounts of driver assistance technology.

New 2021 Cupra Leon: engines and drivetrains

Previously, Cupra launched a plug-in hybrid version of the Leon, powered by a turbocharged 1.4-litre four-cylinder petrol engine, an electric motor and a 13kWh battery pack. The system has a combined output of 242bhp and 400Nm of torque, which Cupra says is enough for a 0-62mph time of 6.7 seconds.

As an added benefit, the system has a claimed fuel economy figure of 217.3mpg and an emissions figure as low as 30g/km of CO2. With a full charge, the battery also has enough power to provide up to 32 miles of pure-electric running – and, when connected to an AC Wallbox, it’ll recover a full charge in around four hours.

Later this year, the Cupra Leon range will be bolstered by another front-wheel drive petrol engine, lifted from the standard Golf GTI. The turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder unit will produce 242bhp and 370Nm of torque – and it’ll have a starting price of £31,450.

Cupra has reserved a more potent version of the engine for the upcoming Estate variant – and it’ll have four-wheel drive. Here, Volkswagen’s 2.0-litre unit makes 306bhp, enabling the hottest Leon to sprint from 0–62mph in 4.8 seconds and on to a 155mph top speed. Prices for this range-topping model will be confirmed towards the end of the year.

New 2021 Cupra Leon: design and interior

The new Cupra Leon was designed, engineered and built at the firm’s new purpose built facility in Martorell near Barcelona – and it will face rivals like the Hyundai i30N and Ford Focus ST. However, it’ll also need to fend off competition from within the Volkswagen Group, as both the Skoda Octavia vRS and the Volkswagen Golf GTI have now been unveiled.

From the outside, the Cupra Leon certainly sports a more menacing look than its SEAT relative – and not just because of the two unique matte paint finishes available. The front bumper has a large open air dam, plus a new copper-coloured logo on its grille. Depending on the model, there’s also a choice of 18- or 19-inch alloy wheels finished in silver, black or a mix of copper and black.

There’s a distinctive full-width rear light bar on both the five-door hatchback and estate models, which is complemented by a new rear bumper that houses a pair of copper-trimmed tailpipes and a deep rear diffuser. According to Cupra, the changes also improve the Leon’s aerodynamic performance – this latest model is eight percent more aerodynamically efficient than the previous version.

The car’s ride height has been dropped by 25mm at the front and 20mm at the rear over the SEAT Leon, while an adaptive damping system can adjust the rate of suspension response based on the car’s driving mode.

There’s a new electric power steering system, too, which Cupra says is its “most progressive yet” and Brembo has supplied a larger set of 370mm disc brakes for the hot hatchback’s front axle, which are gripped by copper coloured calipers.

Inside, the copper theme continues, with highlights on the seat stitching (there’s two types of sports seats to choose from), air vent surrounds, and the steering wheel. The wheel itself is similar in design to the SEAT Leon’s, but gains two new switches – a starter button, and a toggle switch to swap between the car’s four drive modes.

Volkswagen’s 12.3-inch digital instrument panel also makes it onto the Cupra Leon, albeit with a new “Sport” menu view, which places the rev counter prominently to the centre of the driver’s view, while showing power, torque G-force and turbo boost readouts.

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