|5-door wagon, production car
|Miles Per Gallon:
|225 bhp @ 5900 rpm
|207 lb-ft @ 2200 rpm
|f: --.- / r: --.- in
|--.- sec @ --- mph
|Braking, 60-0 mph:
|Nürburgring Lap Time:
Following the sales success of the 210 hp León Cupra R in 2002, SEAT upped the ante with a new and even more potent 225 hp version of the model. The 2003 León Cupra R is powered by a newer version of 1.8 20VT engine delivering 15 hp more than the model it replaces. It makes the 2003 León Cupra R the sportiest, fastest and most powerful production model in the history of SEAT.
SEAT launched the 210 hp León Cupra R in April 2002 with a first year sales forecast of 850 units. By the end of 2002, however, SEAT Sport had had to increase its production capacity to satisfy demand and had built more than 1,550 examples with firm orders for another 500. These figures show an 84 per cent increase over the initial forecast, demonstrating a strong acceptance of SEAT's high performance products.
Now with a power output of 225 hp, the new León Cupra R has a top speed in excess of 240 km/h and accelerates from 0 to 60 mph in under 7 seconds: exceptional performance that places it at the very top of the SEAT range.
Despite the increase in power, the intensive work carried out by SEAT Sport and the SEAT Technical Centre when originally developing the León Cupra R chassis has meant no further modifications to the suspension settings have been necessary. Indeed, the only mechanical changes have been redesigned wheel hub bearings.
Key to the success of the León Cupra R has been its remarkable chassis that provides high levels of traction, stability and braking ability under all conditions. As with its predecessor, the new León Cupra R features SEAT's "Agile Chassis" with Dynamic Steering Response (DSR). The modifications made to create the agile chassis ensure the model reacts even more quickly to driver input.
The new Cupra R is equipped as standard with a Brembo brake system with red, four-pot callipers and 323 x 28 mm ventilated discs.
The model's unmistakably dramatic looks are reflected in its compact lines, sporting suspension, large air intakes and large wheels, which feature 225/40 tyres on spectacular 18 inch alloy rims. Further exclusive finishing touches on the body also contribute to the undeniably sporty character of the new León Cupra R.
The colour black predominates in the passenger compartment of the new León Cupra R, giving the model an elegant sobriety. The only concessions to colour can be found on the white instrument panel dials, the steel coloured pedals and footrest, the red gear pattern on the gearknob and on the red stitched "R" on the front seat backrests.
A sporting vehicle also has to be a safe vehicle. The new León Cupra R includes ESP as standard with EBA (Emergency Brake Assistance), a braking aid that operates automatically in an emergency greatly enhancing braking ability. Also standard are front driver and passenger airbags, side airbags and safety belts with pyrotechnic pretensioners.
Following the Ibiza Cupra R (Birmingham 2000), and the first León Cupra R (Barcelona 2001), this is the third high performance production vehicle manufactured by SEAT Sport since 2000, when the division started developing and producing SEAT's most exclusive, high performance cars.
Every design element featured on the León Cupra R has a practical, functional and at the same time, distinctive purpose… be it the large air intakes, the shape of the door sills or the large arch-filling wheels.
With no visible mouldings or fittings, the front bumper is notable for its wide air intake opening that increases airflow into the engine bay allowing the double intercooler to "breathe" better. Another highlight is the contrast on the radiator grille between the slats on the upper part and a honeycomb arrangement below. Naturally the famous SEAT "S" symbol with its chrome surround dominates the centre of the grille.
The profile view shows off the body colour mouldings and 18 inch alloy rims with their five, ultra-thin, double spokes, and fantastic 225/40 Pirelli P Zero Rosso tyres. The highly effective red Brembo brake callipers can be clearly seen inside the wheels.
A discreet red letter "R", which sets apart all cars made by SEAT Sport, is another detail that can be seen in profile. This identifying feature is located beneath the side indicator repeaters.
Other elements that identify the most sporting vehicle in the range can be found at the rear. The "LEON" model name can be found in the centre of the rear hatch directly beneath the SEAT symbol, with the red Cupra logo and letter "R" on the right hand side. These new exterior badges distinguish the new 225 hp version from its predecessor.
The rear view is set off by a muscular bumper above an attractive, chromed oval tailpipe. This exclusive feature can be found on all SEAT Sport products and makes an important contribution towards the new León Cupra R experience: the tailpipe emits the unmistakable "Engine SEAT Sound".
Inside the new León Cupra R, the driver enjoys a competition-inspired environment, with the seats, steering wheel and pedals all contributing to the feeling. Attractive body hugging sports seats, giving perfect body support while driving, are standard while available as an exclusive option are competition-based Recaro front seats.
The new León Cupra R also features a new sporting three-spoke wheel wrapped in black leather with ergonomic grips on both sides for easier handling. These areas are wrapped in perforated black leather through which a red background can be seen.
Two further neat touches include a strip of red leather which has been sewn onto the wheel at 12 o"clock imitating the "straight ahead" marker found on a race car wheel, and a small metallic letter "R" inserted onto the steering wheel's central boss.
The colour red is also present on other details of the interior, such as the new gearknob - as on the steering wheel, it features perforated black leather sides through which a red background can be seen - and on the gear pattern on top of the gearknob.
A quartet of white-faced instrument dials can be seen through the height and reach adjustable steering wheel: two larger ones for the speedometer and rev counter are flanked by two smaller ones showing the water temperature and fuel gauge. At the driver's feet lies a sporty pedal block and steel-coloured clutch footrest.
The 2003 León Cupra R is powered by a 225 hp 1.8 20VT engine, the most powerful yet found in a SEAT production vehicle. Mated to a six-speed gearbox and driving the front wheels, this in-line four cylinder engine displaces 1781 cc, and features 20 valves, variable geometry turbo and twin intercoolers. Its use in the León Cupra R is a first for SEAT and, indeed, the entire Volkswagen group.
Engineers at SEAT Sport have fine-tuned the engine to deliver even better performance. With its 225 hp at 5900 rpm, the new León Cupra R is still a point of reference among all front wheel drive cars in its segment.
Thanks to its peak engine torque of 207 lb-ft at 2200 rpm, the new model gives immediate response to the driver's demands on the accelerator, with snappy in-gear acceleration providing enjoyment under all driving conditions. This figure is especially noteworthy in an engine that reaches a specific power output of more than 125 hp per litre.
Engine efficiency is enhanced by the electronic management of its multi-point injection and independent ignition coils, as well as by its five valve head and carefully tuned intake and exhaust manifolds. The twin intercooler, which increases the engine's intake air density, also results in greater efficiency.
Another feature of the León Cupra R's 225 hp engine is its exhaust system which creates the special ESS (Engine SEAT Sound). This improves the sound quality of the exhaust while the engine is ticking over, during slow manoeuvres and under acceleration, but sharply filters noise at medium and high revs, producing a pleasant sound inside the passenger compartment that makes driving long distances more enjoyable.
The new León Cupra R has a formidable top speed of 250 mph, accelerates from 0 to 60 mph in only 6.8 seconds, and covers a standing kilometre in 26.8 seconds. All in all, the new León Cupra R is an improvement over the previous version in every performance aspect.
To match a potent engine, a sporting car must have a chassis that can absorb all that power and convert it into fast, safe, precise and agile driving.
Jointly developed by the SEAT Technical Centre and SEAT Sport for the original León Cupra R, the Agile Chassis with Dynamic Steering Response (DSR) uses innovative concepts to put this theory into practice. Its sporting suspension concept is based on a combination of softened coil springs and stiff shock absorbers with sturdier silent-block suspension mountings. This is matched by high grip tyres and responsive steering that is more sensitive to driver inputs.
Central to the agile chassis is the adoption of revised and lowered wishbone geometry with a new sub frame at the front which is mounted to the chassis using compliant silent block bushes. A thinner front anti-roll bar is anchored directly onto the spring/damper assembly to minimise interference caused by the vertical movement of the suspension. The sub frame assembly adds greater torsional stiffness to the car's body shell which also has a positive benefit on the Cupra R's handling.
Revised spring and damper rates and the adoption of silent block mounts at the rear enhance the small degree of passive rear wheel steering already built into the chassis to enhance precision and rapid response to direction changes.
The Cupra R is equipped as standard with a Brembo brake system with red, four-pot callipers (36/40 mm), large ventilated discs (323 x 28 mm), 7.5J x 18 inch alloy rims and 225/40 R18 ultra-low profile, high performance Pirelli P Zero Rosso tyres.