Live from the launch: Seat Leon Cupra R on the track
After taking the Seat Leon Cupra R around some quiet Leicestershire roads this morning, we've been allowed onto the even quieter Rockingham test track this afternoon to see what the car was capable of when not restricted by speed limits.
Predictably, the power of the car was the first thing that made itself apparent - the Leon still had more in reserve when we reached the limit of our ability around the circuit.
The Cupra is certainly quick, but it loses out compared to its VW Golf R rival in that it has to get all its power onto the road through just two wheels - the Golf is four-wheel drive.
The Seat still gets an electronic slip differential that helps with traction, but there were still a few slidey moments through some of the corners on our laps.
The 5bhp difference means the Leon is also marginally slower than its VW group cousin; the Seat gets to 62mph in 6.2 seconds compared to the Golf's 5.7 seconds. But the other crucial difference is financial - the Seat will cost £25,205, while the Golf is close to £31,000.
It is also one of the more frugal offerings as far as petrol is concerned - emissions are just 190g/km and the official mpg is 34.9. These are some of the better figures in the class, and a generous specification list as well as a hopefully competitive resale price means the Leon should be more of a sensible choice for those who want a plaything on something approaching a sensible budget.
Click below to see a video of our laps in the Seat Leon Cupra R.