Cupra Leon eHybrid plug-in hot hatch started at 242bhp

The first hatchback and station wagon to wear the Cupra badge also comes with up to 306 hp. Diesel Power

The young performance brand Cupra has expanded its lineup with Cupra Leon "hot" hatchbacks, its first model to be offered with a hybrid powertrain.

Based on the fourth-generation Seat Leon revealed last month, this will be the first Leon Cupra to wear the badge and will be available as a five-door and station wagon, with petrol engines, as well as a plug-in option.

The Leon e-hybrid plug-in pairs a 1,4-litre, 148bhp petrol engine with a 113bhp electric motor and 13kWh battery, for a combined 242bhp and 295lb ft of torque. It will be capable of WLTP-tested 37 miles on electric power, with CO2 emissions below 50g/km.

The standard Cupra Leon uses the proven 2,0-litre turbocharged 'EA888' TSI petrol engine, available with 242bhp or 298bhp, as a hatchback and property type. More powerful 306 hp the option is exclusive to the property, which also gets 4Drive all-wheel drive. All versions use a dual-clutch DSG automatic transmission with electric differential function. Suspension is MacPherson strut front and multi-link rear, with adaptive damping adjusting through four user-selected ride modes.

A big front splitter, flared air intakes, a roof spoiler and a Cupra set to establish the Cupra Leon isn't just the car seat it's based on. It has 3mm below the roof, sits lower to the ground (25mm front, 20mm rear), and gets a custom exhaust - two tailpipes for the 242bhp engine, and a quad for the more powerful options. All models have full LED headlights as well as a rear LED light bar that extends across the entire width of the tailgate. It rides on 18in alloy wheels as standard, but can be optioned with 19in alloys and uprated 370mm Brembo brakes.

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Inside, the Cupra Leon gets sports seats, a steering wheel with engine start and drive mode selection buttons, a 10.1 in touchscreen central infotainment system and a fully digital instrument cluster with individual sport mode. Android Auto and Apple's CarPlay, wireless internet is also available. The interior features LED mood lighting, along with copper and dark chrome accents that match the exterior trim, while the property will see boot space increased by 30 liters for the hatchback.

“Cupra Leon's design is the result of a combination between Athletic physiognomy and striking elegance,” Alejandro mesonero-Roman, Cupra's design director, said. “Smooth lines and well-trained muscles reflect perfectly the way he rides on the road.”

In the previous generation, Leon Cupra, who wore the seat badge, sold around 44 units throughout his lifetime.

“Leon Cupra was a bestseller,” Cupra CEO Wayne Griffiths explained. “With the launch of the new Cupra Leon, we will strengthen the Cupra brand by giving a new identity to a highly emblematic car.”

All Leon Cupra models will be built in the Martorell establishment in Barcelona. It will go on sale in the summer, with customer delivery in the following months. As with the fourth generation Seat Leon, prices for the Cupra model are expected to increase over the outgoing model, offering a starting price of around £32,000.

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