Skip to main content

SEAT shocks with sporty, 330hp VW Leon Cup Racer show car

The annual Worthersee festival is meant to celebrate the Volkswagen GTI, but that doesn’t mean VW’s other divisions can’t get in on the fun.

Audi is bringing the TT ultra quattro concept, a lightened, track ready version of its fashionable sports car, and SEAT is bringing this beast: the Leon Cup Racer.

Never heard of SEAT? The brand formerly known as Sociedad Española de Automóviles de Turismo is Volkswagen’s Spanish division. It’s primarily known for making cheap cars based on VW platforms and old Audis, so we were very surprised to see this intimidating machine wearing a SEAT badge.

The Cup Racer is based on the Leon, a five-door hatchback, itself based on the brand new MQB platform that also underpins the redesigned Volkswagen Golf.

Throwing sensibility out the window, SEAT gave the Leon Cup Racer’s 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine 330 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque.

Volkswagen’s ubiquitous six-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission keeps all of that power under control, along with an all-wheel drive system.

Buyers who are serious about taking this car to the track can exchange the DSG and electronic front differential for a more serious sequential gearbox and mechanical differential.

That’s a good thing, because the Leon Cup Racer’s enhanced looks scream “track day.” The widened body and giant rear spoiler aren’t exactly subtle but they look good on this hatchback. The same is true of the silver paint scheme and orange accents.

The Leon Cup Racer is all racecar on the inside, too. The spartan interior consists of a bucket seat for the driver, a roll cage, and a TFT digital instrument cluster. The dashboard, center console, and door panels are all made of carbon fiber.

Most of the cars Volkswagen brings to Worthersee are just for show, but the Leon Cup Racer will actually be for sale, sort of.

The SEAT isn’t street legal, but racing teams will be able to order it in either standard ($91,000) or endurance ($124,000) trims. Since SEATs aren’t sold in the United States, that offer obviously doesn’t apply for American GTI jockeys.

Do you want to put the SEAT Leon Cup Racer in your garage? Tell us in the comments.

Stephen Edelstein
Stephen is a freelance automotive journalist covering all things cars. He likes anything with four wheels, from classic cars…
The Tesla Model Y is far from my favorite EV, but I’m pretty close to buying one
Tesla Model Y One Millionth Car

I may finally be on my way toward buying my first EV. Sure, I've tested dozens of electric car models over the years, but despite that (or perhaps because of it), I have yet to buy one. But my family is growing, and my wife and I aren't so sure about carting our future kids around in an aging car that lacks the safety features of modern vehicles.

Because of the fact that we're expecting our kid in January, we have a bit of a deadline. So what are we leaning toward? Well, despite the fact that it's far from my favorite EV, we may actually end up just getting a Model Y.
Timing makes a difference
If the baby was coming along in a year's time, things might be completely different. There are a few reasons for that.

Read more
Ford Mustang Mach-E Rally kicks up some dirt
Ford Mustang Mach-E Rally driving on a dirt road.

The Ford Mustang Mach-E electric SUV pushed the hallowed Mustang nameplate in a different direction, and it's doing that again with a new performance variant. Debuting in 2024, the Ford Mustang Mach-E Rally is designed for fun on both pavement and dirt.

Rallying is a form of motorsport where drivers compete to set the quickest time over a course — usually a closed road or trail — rather than a dedicated racetrack that includes a variety of surfaces like dirt, gravel, or even snow. Rallying has inspired some epic performance road cars over the years, including the Subaru WRX, Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution, and Ford's own Focus RS, but it's never really been associated with the Mustang.

Read more
BMW scraps its unpopular approach to heated seats
Driver's seat and dashboard of the 2023 BMW iX M60.

BMW caused much consternation last year when it launched a subscription-only option for heated car seats.

The idea of having to pay a monthly fee of $18 to keep your posterior warm during the winter months still seems as absurd as ever, but the good news is that the German automaker has now decided to scrap the fee. What particularly irked customers was that they felt they were being forced to cough up extra for functions that would previously have been expected as standard. The fiasco even prompted a community of hackers to offer their services to unlock the feature for those unwilling to pay extra for it.

Read more