It used to be that, if you were in the market for a sub-Audi RS/Mercedes AMG fast estate, the only choice was the Skoda Octavia vRS. Then the Ford Focus ST came along and late last year, Volkswagen unveiled the booted Golf R.
Now SEAT has thrown it’s hat into the ring with this, the Leon ST Cupra 280.
This is an interesting prospect. The hatchback Leon Cupra is one of the fastest and best-handling hot hatches there is, capable of lapping the Nurburgring Nordschleife in under eight minutes.
That car’s hardware as been transferred into the estate wholesale. So, the 2.0 TSi, direct-injection turbo engine produces 276bhp, which is enough to fire the ST from 0-62mph in six seconds flat (with the DSG gearbox). That is, admittedly, a whole fifth of a second slower than the hatchback, but it’s plenty quick enough when you’ve got 1,470 litre of bootspace. Top speed is limited to 155mph.
The suspension has been carried over as well, so the handling should be as pin-sharp as is possible from a high-power, front-wheel-drive chassis. Dynamic Chassis Control keeps everything in check, while the Cupra Drive Profile sharpens the driving experience up. A clever differential lock sends the power to the wheel best able to cope, providing a torque-vectoring effect.
If you’re really committed, you can spec the Sub8 package, which adds bigger brakes, deeper side skirts and 19-inch wheels, wrapped in semi-slick tyres. We’re not entirely sure why you’d want semi-slick tyres on what is still an everyday family car…
Standard kit includes LED headlights, alcantara seats and a touch-screen infotainment system. If it matters, the car will do over 42mpg with either the standard manual or optional DSG gearbox.
You can order your SEAT Leon ST Cupra 280 now, with deliveries starting in March. The manual version will set you back £28,505; add £1,355 for the DSG.