Long term report: Seat Leon Cupra 280

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Seat Leon Cupra

I'm not really used to getting thumbs up for my choice of wheels from youths. My normal set of wheels, a Mini Cooper S – or, if I'm feeling particularly dicy, my Triumph TR6 – doesn't elicit a reaction from people under the age of 83.

But one evening last month as I queued to pick up 'er indoors in the waiting area of Portsmouth's finest outlet centre, a group of lads obviously in the mood to have a night on the tiles gave me just that. Well, one did. As he walked among a group of other lads that all looked identical in their style of dress, he turned to the waiting Cupra, stuck up his thumb and mouthed 'Nice motor, mate'.

Fearing for my life, I politely waved back. His mates clearly didn't hold the Cupra in quite the same high regard. And that's the point about this car. The Cupra has such subtle styling you really have to be a petrolhead to know it's the hot one and not a tepid 1.2-litre rental car. The massive wheels, the even more massive brake discs, the twin pipes and five slits in the bumper all point to this having rather good poke.

Seat tells me we could have had our Leon Cupra wrapped in matt yellow or even tangerine orange. I'm not letting them – I really will fear for my life then. Can you imagine the reaction?

The knowledge

Model: Seat Leon Cupra 280
Price: £30,735 (as tested)
Engine: 2.0-litre TSI
Power: 276bhp, 350Nm
Max speed: 155mph
0-60mph: 5.7s
Emissions: 149g/km
Mileage this month: 2,148

This month's highlight

Not being stabbed by a group of more-than-slightly drunk lads