New 2021 Cupra Leon hot hatchback on sale now

The plug-in hybrid Cupra Leon is available to order now, priced from £34,495 – with pure-petrol variants following early next year

The new Cupra Leon is now on sale in the UK priced from £34,495. The only model currently available is the firm’s e-Hybrid, although the range is set to expand early next year with a line-up of petrol-powered models – the most potent of which will generate 306bhp.

The Cupra Leon e-Hybrid’s powertrain comprises 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.

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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 plugged into an AC Wallbox charger, it’ll recover a full charge in around four hours.

Standard equipment for the entry-level VZ2 model includes 19-inch alloy wheels, a 10-inch infotainment system, keyless entry and an ambient interior lighting system. The flagship VZ3 model is priced from £36,225 and adds petrol blue Nappa leather bucket seats, a heated steering wheel and a wireless smartphone charging pad.

Cupra will also introduce a highly-equipped First Edition variant, which adds a host of additional safety technology to the VZ2 variant, such as a traffic sign recognition system, predictive cruise control and lane change assist. Prices for the launch edition model start from £35,775.

New 2021 Cupra Leon: future powertrains

Next year, the Cupra Leon range will be bolstered by a pair of turbocharged 2.0-litre petrol engines, lifted from the Golf GTI and the GTI Clubsport. The entry-level model starts from £31,450 and has an output of 242bhp and 370Nm of torque. Like the GTI, it’ll send drive to the front wheels via a dual-clutch automatic gearbox and an electronic limited-slip differential.

The range-topping hatch will start at around £35,000 and will generate 296bhp and 400Nm of torque. It too will be front-wheel drive.

Cupra has reserved a more potent version of the engine for the upcoming Estate variant – and it’ll have four-wheel drive. Here, the 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 this year.

The ride has been dropped by 25mm at the front and 20mm at the rear over a SEAT Leon,  while an adaptive damping system adjusts 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.

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.

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 familiar 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.

What do you make of the new Cupra Leon? Let us know in the comments section below… 

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