Goodbye Seat Leon Cupra 300 and say hello to the new Seat Leon Cupra 290. No thanks to a new global harmonized standard for determining the levels of fuel consumption as well as emissions, the new Leon Cupra has its power output downgraded from 300 PS (296 bhp) to 290 PS (286 bhp).
Starting September 2017, all new types of cars (new to market) registered sold in the market will have to be assessed and approved using the new Worldwide Harmonized Light vehicles Test Procedure (WLTP) before gaining approval in Europe. Starting September 2018, all new cars will have to be tested using WLTP, and longer under the New European Driving Cycle (NEDC) type approval tests. WLTP essentially replaces the NEDC.
There have always been discrepancies between lab tests and real world emissions. This is because while lab tests follow standardized and repeatable procedures, real world emissions are affected by a number of variables that can’t be considered in laboratories. These variables include the weather conditions, road types, road gradients, vehicle loads, traffic conditions and even vehicle maintenance conditions.
Before September 2017, NEDC had been the standard. Designed in the 1980s, NEDC has become outdated no thanks to several evolutions in vehicle technologies and driving conditions. This means that NEDC has become inapplicable, with fuel consumption and emissions test results usually showing gaps from real world numbers.
Compared to NEDC tests, WLTP tests are more realistic. WLTP is designed to provide a more realistic representation of conditions that drivers meet while driving. For instance, WLTP tests cover a greater range of driving situations, longer test distances and even ambient temperatures that are closer to the European average. Stricter car set-up and measurement conditions are also implemented and tests now cover optional equipment fitted in a car. With these configurations, WLTP is seen to dramatically reduce, if not eliminate, the gaps from real world fuel consumption and emissions.
Because of the shift from NEDC to WLTP, it is the new cars would have higher consumption and emission figures. This could be the primary reason why Seat has to detune 2.0-liter turbocharged engine of the Seat Leon Cupra from 300 PS to 290 PS. Lower power output usually result to lower consumption and emission numbers. To reflect the change in ouput, Seat is changing the name of the Leon Cupra 300 to Leon Cupra 290.
This power change is essentially a downgrade. Seat Leon Cupra fans and enthusiasts rejoiced in late 2016 when Seat announced that the facelifted car was to be upgraded from 290 PS to 300 PS, thereby giving birth to the Leon Cupra 300. But now, Leon Cupra 300 is no more, and Leon Cupra 290 is reborn.