2010 Seat Leon Cupra R: a Scirocco R in disguise

Article by Christian Andrei, on August 29, 2010

Seat will unveil its most potent series production model to date, the new Leon Cupra R at next month Frankfurt Motor Show (all of you may know already because we revealed this fact back in June in this post). The standard model's 240-horsepower turbocharged 2.0-liter four-pot is replaced with a 265-horsepower direct injection 2.0 TSI.

It is unconfirmed if the 2.0 TSI is the same engine found in the Vw Scirocco R. Seat claims however, that the new four-banger features a new, high-pressure fuel pump injector to satisfy its greater performance demands, while fully complying with strict EU5 emissions standards.

As a result, the front-wheel drive only Leon Cupra R slashes the 0 to 100km/h (62mph) sprint from 6.4 seconds (standard Cupra) to 6.1 seconds and top speed climbs from 247 km/h (154mph) to 250 km/h (155mph).

The standing kilometer takes 25.7 seconds and it has a combined fuel economy of 8.1 lt / 100km or 29mpg US / 34.9mpg UK. The range-topping Leon gets the 'R' logos on the central grille and at the lower right of the hatch, the right instrument dial and the remote control key.

In addition, it also receives 19-inch, five double-spoke wheels shod with 235/35 tires. The larger wheel assembly allowed Seat's engineers to upgrade the braking system with 17-inch 345 x 30 mm discs at the front and 16 inch 286 x 12 mm at the rear.

The interior of the Leon Cupra R gets a pair of racing-style bucket seats in grey alcantara upholstery, LED lighting on the instrument dials, a leather multi-functional steering wheel and an aluminum pedal arrangement.

Press Release

Seat Leon Cupra R

Following a very successful debut at the 2009 Frankfurt Motor Show, the new Seat León Cupra R is about to go on sale. Equipped with a new 265 hp engine, it instantly becomes the brand's most powerful production car to date, earning a special chapter in Seat's history in the process.

Boasting a thoroughbred sporty engine, the new Seat León Cupra R features exclusive interior and exterior styling touches which reflect its unique character. The Seat León Cupra R is, simply, an attention-grabber. Its feisty exterior design is mirrored on the inside, too, with a motorsport-inspired look and feel that lets you know this is not just another car.

The extensive, generous equipment list features Seat's impressive new electronic self-blocking XDS system for excellent handling, as well as a broad array of standard features that provide both top notch safety and exceptional on-board comfort.

Seat's most powerful car

Undeniably, the focal point of the new Seat León Cupra R is its 265 hp direct injection 2.0 TSI engine. Its main characteristics are its tremendous power, easy torque transmission and fabulous flexibility.

The Seat Technical Centre poured significant effort into modifying the engine's electronic management system and increasing the maximum turbo pressure. The result is an added 25 hp compared to the tried and tested 240 hp 2.0 TSI engine found in the Seat León Cupra.

The intercooler fitted to the new engine delivers its superior performance through greater turbo pressure. As on the 240 hp version, the engine set-up includes a new, high-pressure fuel injection pump to satisfy its greater performance demands, and the ratios on the six-speed gearbox have been specifically adapted.

The new Seat León Cupra R delivers a top speed of 250 km/h (self-limited) and a blistering 0 to 100 km/h acceleration time of barely 6.2 seconds. It also covers a standing kilometre in only 25.7 seconds. These competition-class figures are achieved with exceptional fuel efficiency of only 8.1 litres on average to cover 100 km, making it the most efficient vehicle with the lowest level of emissions in its performance category, while fully complying with EU-5 emissions standards.

Imposing design

The new Seat León Cupra R is based on the spectacular design of the existing Cupra, with subtle additions both inside and out.

The exclusive nature of Seat's new model is most easily identified via the distinctive letter 'R' that's subtly placed on the central grille and at the lower right of the hatch, the right instrument dial and the remote control key. The exclusive Cupra logo graces the front bumper on the lower left, the centre of the hatch, the steering wheel and the seat backrests.

Further distinctive detailing on the Seat León Cupra R that underlines its racing spirit, besides the spectacular 19 inch wheels are the trademark glossy black door mirrors. The wheel assembly also enables a set of exceptionally generous 345 x 30 mm front disc brakes with 286 x 12 mm at the rear; vital given the need for greater braking capacity in a car that harnesses 265 hp.

The interior features eye-catching competition styled bucket seats in a combination of grey cloth and alcantara upholstery, white LED lighting on the instrument dials, a leather multi-functional steering wheel and aluminium-clad pedals. Black prevails in the sporty passenger compartment, and the view from the driver's seat is designed to minimise distractions with the roof lining, sun visors, door handles and 'A' pillars all clad exclusively in black.

Excellent dynamic performance

The addition of the electronic self-blocking XDS system to the standard equipment on the new Cupra R means this Seat offers much greater driving comfort and safety. The clever new electronic system works together with ESP and functions as a self-blocking mechanism. It improves the car's performance when traction is lost by applying braking power to the wheel that loses grip.

This system provides a similar feeling as driving a car with a conventional self-blocking mechanism, and considerably improves the ability to transmit power to the driven front wheels. Proving its worth, in particular, through bends, XDS stops the inside wheel from slipping and reduces understeer, providing the Seat León Cupra R with unbeatable handling.

The XDS system is the perfect complement to Seat's efficient Agile Chassis, which has been modified on this version to make it one of the most dynamically impressive cars in its segment.

Top-notch equipment

The Seat León Cupra R offers a particularly generous line-up of standard equipment. Naturally, of course, there are the usual electronic safety devices, such as XDS, ABS, ESP stability control and TCS traction control + EBA emergency braking.

Other standard-fit safety features on the Seat León Cupra R are front airbags, two side airbags, two head airbags, passenger airbag disconnection, rear window seat Isofix anchoring points and low tyre pressure warning, as well as automatic lights on, rain sensing wipers, rear parking sensors, cruise control, trip computer, cornering fog lights, dual zone climate control and CD radio + MP3 + eight speakers + MDI, among others.


The new Seat León Cupra R is easily recognisable on the road. The new 'R' version builds on the essentially sporty lines of Seat León Cupra with a number of distinctive features that round off its upgraded image with a yet more 'racy' look.

The front end grabs your attention. An exclusive honeycomb mesh central grille with a black surround and the letter 'R' on the right are the car's most obvious trademarks. As on the Cupra versions, too, the sophisticated air vents beneath the grille enhance its sporty appeal.

Another tell-tale Cupra feature seldom found on other cars are the pronounced shoulders that house the headlights. A black character stripe runs the length of the front bumper and the word 'Cupra' stands out on the left. Finally, there is a larger trapezoid-shaped cooling grille, with cornering fog lights built in at the sides.

From the side, the car's exclusive 19-inch Cosmos Silver 'Potenza' wheel rims (optionally available in white) are shod with ultra-low profile 235/35 tyres, and the five double-spoke rims reveal enormous red brake callipers. The disc sizes and four-pot callipers provide the immediate braking response obviously required by a car in this class.

The side view includes gloss black door mirrors, which lend the car a personal touch and echoes the mirror treatment of the entire Seat Cupra Range.

The rear of the car also clearly identifies the Seat León Cupra R. As at the front, a more blunt bumper with a prominent black moulding enhances the car's racy looks. A polished steel oval exhaust pipe, the model name in the centre of the hatch and the letter 'R' at the lower right of the hatch (also seen on the key control and engine block) complete the check-list.

Sporty interior

Inside this extreme new Seat, great pains have been taken to ensure that the passenger compartment detailing reflects the car's sporty exterior.

Extensive use of black and grey helps conjure up the sporty atmosphere of a race car cockpit.

The first thing you see when opening the doors of the new León Cupra R are the competition-styled bucket seats with a combination of grey cloth and alcantara upholstery, integrated headrests and the Cupra logo on the backrests. These comfortable seats provide great lateral support in tight bends and, as on the Cupra version, an attractive new option is available: black leather upholstery with white cross-stitching, highly reminiscent of '70s competition cars.

There is a three-spoke multi-functional leather steering wheel with aluminium colour inserts and the Cupra logo at the bottom, plus a matching gearknob with a newly designed gear diagram. The competition-style wheel is flattened at the bottom, with ergonomic grips at either side.

The instrument panel is lit with self-regulating white LEDs, and the letter 'R' can be found at the bottom right of the left-hand speedometer dial.

The centre console houses the warning switches, in black, the ESP disconnection and a new row of buttons which includes the parking sensor disconnection. Design modifications have also been made to the climate control and the new satellite navigation system, which blend in perfectly on the Seat León Cupra R.

Finally, no self-respecting Cupra R vehicle would be complete without a set of racing aluminium pedals and footrest to round off a comfortable driving position.


The Seat León Cupra R is equipped with a turbo-charged 265 hp (195 kW) 2.0 TSI engine, making this car the most potent production Seat to date.

The engine settings have been carefully calculated to deliver its 265 hp output, brilliant performance, moderate fuel consumption and EU-5 emissions compliance.

The most powerful in the range

The new engine on the Seat León Cupra R is a development of the familiar 2.0 TSI. Its 265 hp comes from a different engine management set-up, as well as greater turbo pressure compared to the 240 hp engine: 1.9 bar at maximum output and 2.2 bar at maximum torque compared to the 1.8 bar of the 240 hp 2.0 TSI.

On both the 240 and 265 hp versions, the 2.0 TSI engine features a new, high-pressure fuel-injection pump and modified catalyst in order to comply with EU-5 emissions standards; the intercooler connection pipe is also different on both models - the 265 hp version including a higher-performance intercooler.

As a result, the 265 hp engine helps the Seat León Cupra R to a top speed of 250 km/h (self-limited), 0 to 100 km/h acceleration in only 6.2 seconds and 0 to 1,000 metre acceleration in only 25.7 seconds. 350 Nm of torque is generated between 2,500 and 5,000 rpm, guaranteeing brilliant in-gear acceleration - 5.7 seconds from 80 to 120 km/h in 5th and 7.1 seconds in 6th.

The Seat León Cupra R's TSI technology also means a much lower fuel consumption than might be expected of a 265 hp high performance hatch; only 8.1 litres on average for every 100 km.

The Seat León Cupra R also features usefully lower emissions levels than many of its rivals, as its 190 g/km on average make it the most efficient car in its segment with this power output.

Custom gearbox

The six-speed manual gearbox fitted in the Seat León Cupra R has also been modified compared to the 240 hp version.

Reinforced to withstand the car's 265 hp and 350 Nm output, the 5th gear has been designed with fewer teeth, giving it greater transmission resistance while maintaining virtually the same gear ratio.

Other modifications carried out by the Martorell Technical Centre include reinforcing the synchronising rings on 3rd, 4th, 5th and 6th gears, while 3rd and 5th gears feature an extra rectification after the tightening process.

The gear lever movement is also now 6 mm shorter than before for even faster gear changes.

The 265 hp 2.0 TSI on the Seat León Cupra R warrants a new exhaust system and the tail section has a new silencer to adapt to the demands of the new engine.

Efficient cooling system

The Seat León Cupra versions feature an engine cooling system that responds faithfully in any situation.

The larger radiator with welded tube technology provides better cooling to deliver greater performance.

In order to enhance the radiator's heat exchange function, both the Seat León Cupra and the Seat León Cupra R are equipped with a tandem electro-ventilator arrangement made up of a twin 300 and 200 W ventilator.

The front intercooler is cooled by channelling air to the exterior through optimised deflectors that maximise the airflow-pressure ratio. In order to achieve this, it was necessary to adjust airflow to the maximum in relation to the exterior design of the bumper.

Finally, part of the pleasure derived from driving the Seat León Cupra R comes from the spectacular engine roar developed by Seat engine acoustics engineers. The effect on Seat's most powerful car can immediately be felt, and heard, by the driver and front passenger.


Seat's Agile Chassis is responsible for transmitting the 265 hp output delivered by the new Seat León Cupra R's engine to the road surface. On this version, the chassis has been enhanced to make it one of the sportiest, most effective in its segment.

Seat technicians worked to find the most appropriate settings to maximise traction capacity and performance; thereby delivering an agile car capable of effectively dealing with any combination of road surface and layout.

Electronic self-blocking XDS as standard

The new XDS system on the Seat León Cupra R is key to helping transmit it's the car's prodigious horsepower to the road, in the process guaranteeing the highest levels of safety, precision and control.

In combination with ESP and TCS, this system acts as a self-blocking differential without the need for any additional mechanicals. It anticipates wheel traction loss and limits power to the wheel that is potentially losing grip.

This system provides a similar feeling through the steering wheel to that of a car with a conventional self-blocking mechanism, and considerably improves the capacity to transmit power from the driven front wheels to the ground. Especially through tight twists and turns, this prevents the inside wheel from slipping and reduces understeer. The result is a car with unbeatable handling and sporty driving pleasure. The system also combines perfectly with ESP for enhanced active safety.

The Seat León Cupra R's trademark sports performance, agility and quick response provides driver and passengers alike with added driving comfort.

Modifications have been made to the front and rear shock absorbers, too, to create a smooth, precise ride on winding roads and motorways, and the front and rear silentblocks have been lengthened by 1.5 and 17 mm, both compared to the FR and Cupra versions.

Further modifications include stiffer front and rear springs, 35% and 30% stiffer than on the Cupra version, and a 17 mm lower ground clearance than on the basic Leon. The anti-roll bar, meanwhile, maintains the same diameter.

As on the Cupra version, the brakes have been reworked to do justice to the new Seat's power output. The Seat León Cupra R sports larger ventilated disc brakes than on the rest of the range, featuring a 345 x 30 mm arrangement at the front and 286 x 12 mm at the rear.

New steering parameters

The Seat León Cupra R is the first Volkswagen Group model to use 19-inch wheels on this platform, guaranteeing a more immediate steering response with a much lower slip angle.

The Seat Technical Centre adapted the software parameters of the power assisted steering to the specific requirements of the Seat León Cupra R, resulting in a greater level of assistance at lower parking speeds and less assistance at medium speed. These modifications have increased the steering wheel's sensitivity to torque variations, maintaining the habitual linear torque progression with steering wheel angle, while it remains the same at high speeds to ensure agile lane changes.

The spectacular 19-inch 'Potenza' wheels are shod with 235/35 tyres and are available in white or Cosmos Silver; their five double-spoke structure revealing flashy red brake callipers.

Every imaginable driving aid

The Seat León Cupra R is fitted with all available driving aids such as ESP, ABS + TCS + EBA + EBV.

Hill Hold Assist is another electronic driving aid found on the new Seat León Cupra R. It helps by keeping the vehicle stationary on a slope for two seconds when the brake pedal is released prior to accelerating. This prevents the car from rolling forward or back, and makes city driving and manoeuvring more comfortable.


The Seat León Cupra R is equipped to the highest levels. Its full electronic equipment line-up includes countless active and passive safety and comfort features, as well as items that enhance the model's sporty nature.

Driver and passenger safety are paramount, with the possibility of protection from up to eight airbags - two at the front, two front side airbags, and a head airbag at the front and rear. These six airbags come as standard, with the option of rear side airbags. The rear window seats are also equipped with Isofix anchoring points for child seats.

As well as the XDS system, other standard active safety measures include ABS, TCS, ESP and EBA emergency breaking that activates the hazard lights when engaged. The car's anti-theft device is a standard, volumetric motion sensing alarm. Furthermore, the Seat León Cupra R is equipped with other electronic driving aids such as cruise control and a driver-defined maximum speed warning system.

The standard sports seats are highly distinctive on the Seat León Cupra R, featuring a combination of grey cloth and alcantara upholstery, integrated headrests and the Cupra logo on the backrests, with the optional possibility of ordering the car with black leather upholstery and white cross-stitching.

The lighting system includes new headlights and tail lights, optional bi-xenon lights with the AFS system that now features daytime driving lights ahead of the 2011 deadline for obligatory installation. It also comes with standard cornering fog lights that greatly improve visibility.

Fingertip navigation

The satellite navigation system is completely new. It combines audio equipment and navigation system with a touch screen and SD memory card slot. The screen displays information related to navigation, audio, telephone and climate control. The Integral Parking Pilot has front and rear sensors, and the Optical Park System displays the proximity to obstacles surrounding the vehicle on its screen, as a visual back-up to the warning beeps.

Another new system is the MDI Multi Device Interface, which provides USB or Aux-in connectivity to external audio sources through a discreetly located twin-lidded slot. The car is also equipped with an upgraded version of the terminal that regulates the telephone, with even more Bluetooth functions.

The instrument panel also features new displays such as a digital instant speed indicator and recommended gear function. There's also a new menu selection concept, new languages, a multi-function indicator and vehicle condition display.

Many of these functions can be controlled via the buttons located on the new multi-functional steering wheel. The clusters on the left side operate the audio/telephone, with the menu control functions on the right.

Finally, the new Seat León Cupra R is available in nine body colours - Candy White, Emoción Red, Crono Yellow, Mágico Black, Citrus, Speed Blue and the Lumina Orange, Kiwi Green and Furia Grey Custom Colors.

Topics: seat, seat leon, cupra

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