The mood in the AOL Cars office after we say goodbye to a member of the long-term fleet is always a good indication of a car's desirability. And it was a very depressing day indeed when a man in an immaculate Seat-branded gilet turned up to deprive us of our Cupra. Six months have passed far too quickly, and we've been left with a genuine sense of loss with its departure.
We were keen to have the handsome Seat on our fleet, and quite rightly, if a tad predictably, we went for the more powerful 280 edition, and garnished its 276bhp motor with the optional DSG automatic gearbox. Seat's Cupra models have always boasted headline-grabbing power figures, but have lacked the final degrees of dynamic polish that set the best hot hatches apart from the rest. However, our car's adjustable suspension and limited slip differential promised much, so hopes were high.
It didn't disappoint; well, once we got past the rather drab cabin, that is. The new Cupra doesn't just wear a smarter, grown-up suit than its predecessor, but it serves up a driving experience to match. And it stands with the very best of the current crop of mega-horsepower hatchbacks.
Model: Seat Leon Cupra 280
Price: £30,735 (as tested)
Engine: 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol
Power: 276bhp, 350Nm
Max speed: 155mph
Mileage this month: 705
This month's LOWlight
Saying goodbye to a truly astonishing machine.