Seat Leon Cupra 280 Performance Pack, side view 15 Photos Zoom

Road test Seat Leon Cupra 280: With the Performance Pack on the Nürburgring

With the Performance Pack, Seat now also offers buyers of the Leon Cupra 280 the improvements of the under-eight-minute Leon. First Nordschleife driving impression from the pepped-up Cupra.

It was an irony of history that the Renault had just taken back the front-wheel drive record on the Nordschleife of the Nürburgring on the same day as Seat launched the series version of its record Leon.

But one thing at a time: In March, the Spaniards pulverised the Renault Mégane's three-year-old record with a pepped-up version of the Seat Leon Cupra 280. For the first time, a front-wheel drive had completed the most beautiful race circuit in the world in less than eight minutes: exactly 7:58.44 in fact - almost ten seconds faster than the previous Champ, the Renault Mégane R.S. Trophy. A time which many a super sport car would have found hard to beat a few years ago.

Ex-Formula 1 test driver, Jordi Gené, benefited here not only from the effective, electronically-controlled limited slip differential (series) of the Seat Leon Cupra, but above all from the additional Brembo race brake system and the new, ultralight 19-inch wheel rims with Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires.

Rear seats remain in the Cupra 280

Now each Seat Leon Cupra 280 buyer receives precisely this combination as a Performance Pack in exchange for €3,060. If you only want brakes and wheel rims, but not the Michelin tires, you pay €530 less. The rear seats remain in the car with the Performance Pack. It sounds obvious, but is no longer available on the new Renault record holder. To save around 100 kilograms, the rear seat, insulation material and the conventional front seats as well as the lead-acid battery were removed from the Renault Mégane R.S. Trophy R. Racing bucket seats and a lightweight lithium-ion battery now replace the latter two. The reward of the diet: 7:54.36 min.

Extensive changes which in part are almost suitable for daily use Therefore, the Spanish automotive manufacturers want to "take a closer look", before counter-attacking with the 280 HP-powerful Seat Leon Cupra.

Seat Leon Cupra 280 with Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires

Until then, the buyers of the Performance Pack can already enjoy its benefits. The 37-centimetre across Brembo brake system with four piston callipers ensures absolutely stable braking. Without any signs of fading and clean dosability, the Seat Leon Cupra thunders around the Nordschleife. The stable pressure point ensures a low pulse, even under load.

The Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires - incidentally the same ones that Renault uses on its record Mégane - provide noticeably greater precision and traction. The Seat Leon Cupra responds quite accurately to steering and remains long neutral before it pushes on all four wheels with light front emphasis.

Seat Leon Cupra's speed and driveability are impressive

Here too, the excellent function of the Haldex limited slip differential on the front axle of the Seat Leon Cupra is evident. Its electronically controlled multi-disc clutches allow fully variable power allocation from zero to 100 percent on each wheel - quasi torque vectoring. Together with the semi-slicks, a grip level results out of curves that until recently, you might have only expected from some rear-wheel drive sports car.

In the first drive report on the Nordschleife tour, the Seat Leon Cupra impressed with its speed as well as its driveability. It is a true sportsman but not annoying on the way home from the race track. Not everyone needs the Performance Pack - but if you drive on the race track from time to time, you do.

Alexander Bloch

Photo

Seat

Date

11 February 2015
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