Here i am then, finally: a Chair Leon Cupra 280 able to lapping the Nurburgring in seven minutes and fifty-eight seconds. Allegedly. Yes, it is the Leon Cupra Ultimate Sub8 PerformancePack. Good job there is not a boot badge really.
Actually you’ll be challenged to inform this mega Leon apart. The Orange Line pack as suited to this vehicle can be obtained alternatively Cupras too, meaning it will require an in depth inspection of individuals Tangoed rims to demonstrate this car’s status. Behind the leading wheels you will notice the bigger 370mm Brembo dvds, while each and every corner you will find Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2s, a £460 option when either Performance Pack is added.
Individuals Cup 2s are coming up with a significant reputation for themselves, utilized on the Ferrari 458 Speciale, Porsche 918 Spyder and — you’ve suspected it — Renaultsport Megane Trophy-R. A place we’ll go back to afterwards, but it is reliable advice in the outdoors the Chair is really as discreet — optional orange notwithstanding — because the Renault and Social Type R are deliberately overt.
Inside it’s not even close to a removed out ‘ring warrior, but you will find clues to mark this specific Leon out. The environment conditioning is finished, as too may be the armrest along with a storage box. Not quite drastic, but they’re noticeable by their absence. Nevertheless, possibly the most important omission may be the regular stereo system, this Ultimate Performance Pack lower to four loudspeakers within the title of weight saving. Getting spent considerable time within our lengthy-term Cupra 280, outfitted because it was with eight loudspeakers along with a subwoofer, the main difference is marked, the seem is empty and weak, even going to someone with little of the ear of these things. A shallow observation possibly, only one that’s always apparent.
Anyway, towards the driving. The very first miles within this vehicle really are a dreary commute across London in miserable weather, not quite a favourable one but helpful for highlighting a couple of key particulars. The very first because Pilot Sport Cup 2s don’t like November. Whatsoever. The VAQ ‘diff’ struggles useless to assist the tyres out however they simply aren’t able to find purchase with the water. It is a bizarre sensation, the vehicle feeling as though it’s skating on the top from the road because it frantically seeks out traction. Fingers entered the rain holds off for the next drive…
It will, mostly. As much as Silverstone for a glance at Porsche’s 924 Le Guys vehicle and also the Leon will get an opportunity to showcase correctly. Heck could it be fast. Even permitting for that minimal weight saving from the Ultimate pack, this vehicle seems like it’s 280 quite strong horsepower let’s say. It punches through every gear rampantly, the acceleration never tailing off and also the pace feeling about on componen by having an M135i. Really. That’s when the wheelspin is within check, which is one of the middle of third gear.
It might be easily contended that this time around of the year isn’t the ideal time to become testing tyres particularly created for warm, dry tracks. That being stated, at individuals moments in which the road is dry enough and also the tyres sufficiently warm, the best Leon is devastatingly fast.
Driving it rapidly is a reasonably brutal process though. Individuals Brembos continue to be overservoed and grabby within the initial a part of their travel, in the point they are feeling natural underfoot the vehicle is preventing very quickly indeed. At submit you will observe how individuals tyres result in the response even faster but additionally the steering has enhanced. Possibly it is the reduced unsprung mass from the tyres and brakes, however the Cupra steering mode certainly feels less artificial.
Very quickly after steering you will want to perform the energy, understanding that individuals tyres and also the VAQ will launch you out of trouble sleep issues. Actually ‘hurl’ may be the better word there. The Leon is really unlike other things here in the manner it gobbles up tarmac so ferociously.
It will get scrappy at points, specifically if the corner exit is bumpy, there is however no denying the best is greatly exciting and efficient when conditions favour it. Furthermore, the driving experience is created more including at lower commitment levels by individuals tyres, perverse though that sounds. You need to measure out throttle inputs smartly, bear in mind that they must be heated up and look out for moist patches on corner exit. After which moist patches around the chair if you do not begin to see the ones on the highway…
Here is a simpler method to place it: in 72 hours of driving the Leon I smiled greater than in dozens driving our lengthy-term Golf R. It’s a little edgy sometimes, you need to be brutal for the greatest from this with any moisture on the highway the Golf is faster. But because a warm hatch experience, like a vehicle to derive some pleasure from, it’s far more invigorating compared to Golf and also the standard Leon Cupra too.
But there’s an issue. A couple of problems actually. This Ultimate driving experience is much like those of the ‘regular’ Performance Pack, individuals tyres and brakes to be the answer to the Leon’s edge. This vehicle costs £2,200 greater than a Sub8 Black Pack to get rid of the environment-disadvantage along with a couple of other bits inside, and does not really appear worthwhile. Recall the bucket seats continue to be a £1,250 option too. Whether it was just like a Trophy-R and removed lots of weight it would appear just like a more acceptable compromise. Chair does not wish to accomplish that, stating the way the Ultimate is ‘no not practical track day toy’, but presently it sits like a slightly odd half-way house — her great refinement and everyday usability from the standard vehicle, however with semi-clever tyres with no air-disadvantage that rather undermine individuals. The Cupra should fulfil the standard role, therefore it appears unfortunate that the vehicle badged ‘Ultimate’ could not become more extreme.
Additionally, there are an overriding impression the Megane and Social remain more including and rewarding driver’s cars. Within the little but important particulars like control weights, seats and noise, both Renault and Honda feel more driver focused. That’s not saying the Leon does not entertain, however the process feels a bit more contrived.
So although this might be the Leon that actually can lap the Nordschleife in 7:58, it is not the main one we’d recommend to purchase. In which the Trophy-R seems like a Megane taken to some more exotic plane, this Leon cannot warrant the premium on the regular Cupra Performance Pack. That’s a vehicle we rate very highly, and it is easily our pick from the MQB hot hatches. As the Ultimate is fantastically thrilling in the own way, that does not prevent it from searching just a little costly but still third within our ranking from the ‘ring record hot hatches.