You’ll have read a good deal about Cupra recently. SEAT’s just-launched sub brand could be the culmination from the journey it commenced in the past one probably imagined in Lower Saxony, where the marketing concept of ‘Latin flair’ is almost as convenient as ‘English pomp’ or ‘Germanic superiority’. Beneath the new plan, all the latent sportiness that Martorell unsuccessful presenting to the Alhambra or perhaps the Toledo or perhaps the Exeo or perhaps the Altea is going to be injected in to a new badge the one that still flummoxes Google image search, as well as the individual all the time.
Clearly, that’s by-the-by, because (for the moment) the Leon Cupra – despite is the model most connected while using name – has, for reasons most broadly recognized to SEAT, nothing associated with brand Cupra. Probably this is an excellent factor: the extended-running hot hatch already offers heritage and credibility, and doesn’t need a unnecessary layer of identity plastered on top. In order the deliberately pricey R version functions as a bellwetherfor what’s coming a little way away, it’s not always beholden in it (it doesn’t matter what subliminal audio are increasingly being imparted by its copper colour plan).
Its maker would definitely prefer its offered-out headliner to get considered simply just like a Leon, with the expectation it enjoys the generosity of spirit that welcomed the Golf GTI Clubsport S, a small-edition run-out model concentrating on the same enhanced output as well as the same single axle to operate a vehicle it through. Pointless to condition the five-door R has not had its rear seats deleted nor the load reduced – nevertheless it does have the same modified camber angles in-front, bigger brakes, revamped steering plus a retuned exhaust system, additionally to some smattering of graphite around the very mildly augmented Cupra body package.
Since 24 cars going to the Uk are actually offered, it’s hardly worth passing discuss the desirability in the styling revisions. When there have been a 25th customer by 50 percent minds in regards to the vehicle, we might explain the copper highlights might be divisive – however, we’ve introduced along a Honda Social Type R to check on it against, that’s rather like obtaining a Jackson Pollock canvas with a gun fight. The GT version starts at 32,995 (2k less costly compared to Cupra R) plus it delivers 10hp more in the 2.-litre VTEC Turbo unit. Furthermore, it seems enjoy it seems, that you simply are generally prone to endure or internally veto getting a shudder.
Climb inside though, as well as the objective distance involving the pair narrows significantly. Not very very extended ago, anything heralding within the VW Group could be ready to romp from the Honda round the pleasantness and effectiveness alone, nevertheless the FK8 generation of Social can be a different kettle of fish. Where the vehicle was once excessively keen to get appear nonconformist, the newest dashboard can be as buttoned-lower just like a Marks and Spencer shirt collar – despite the fact that and that means you are unlikely to take a position extended marvelling advertising online, it’ll rather beat Martorell at a unique game when you’re recently made and extremely well-crafted.
The clincher though is the fact inside the Type R, you sit what appears like of a ft lower on far superior (in most cases red) sport seats. As nice since the Cupra’s Alcantara controls is – and it doesn’t matter how more appropriate it’s infotainment system might be – they’re no match for your allure of decent driving position. It’s also worth mentioning the Social feels of a ft wider (it is about 60mm broader when compared with Leon) which, proportionally speaking, is always to the car’s advantage. Drive them consecutive, as well as the Leon seems being an overgrown supermini in comparison with its lower, bigger rival.
There is not question the type R is really a dynamic virtue of the greater size, either. The car’s footprint – as well as the corresponding sense of stability – seems oversized for just about any hatchback. It’s sublimely well marshalled, too. During Comfort mode the Social is unapologetically firm at low speeds, the stiffness is always that lovely sort which seems to call home mostly inside the structure, making more the adaptive dampers to start the entire process of endlessly kneading the 20-inch wheels to the road surface. The resulting suppleness is just too shallow to get referred to as infallible inside the Uk, but also for as extended since it works, it will make the car’s tacked-lower poise appear wonderfully free-flowing.
As well as the Leon? Well, it’ll nothing as well. It’s a means of calculating the type R’s quality the Cupra’s own Comfort setting – typically thought a great compromise inside the standard model – feels almost blancmange-like in comparison with super-stern Honda. Clearly you might be ready to sacrifice some vertical stiffness when there will be a result in quality of ride, nevertheless the SEAT never quite appears to convince you that it’s lubberly gentleness is actually delivering a bigger amount of bump absorption. Typically, a unique adaptive damping just feels a notch less sophisticated.
The performance though, well meets the Cupra R billing. Despite to be the good factor of 100kg heavier when compared with Clubsport S, the conclusion result’s much the same: with minimal fuss or squirm inside the controls, the all-singing iteration in the endlessly re-used EA888 motor gets the Leon charging likeably within the blocks. SEAT claims 5.8 seconds to 62mph – easily believable, plus an exact match for your Type R’s time – nevertheless, it is the in-gear acceleration which really showcases the unit’s versatility. Low crank speeds hold no fear for your Cupra driver whichever drive mode you’re in the 280lb feet of peak torque is produced virtually without lag and seems endlessly accessible, and – inside the dry no less than, with careful use – rarely threatens to overwhelm the traditional-fit electronic locking diff either.
The Social meanwhile has 295lb feet at its disposal which is virtually the identical weight since the Leon, but despite obtaining a turbocharger twinned while using VTEC system for just about any generation now, a unique 2.-litre engine just isn’t as prolific when requested to tug from so close to idle. The Cupra’s comparative enthusiasm only serves to pay attention to the gentleness of the throttle response, though it may be not reluctant inside the old-fashioned Type R mould (there’s no ‘wait, wait – go!’ here), it really doesn’t surge forward as nimbly since the SEAT, and nor does it operate a variation on its rival’s baritone warble, either.
Exactly what it does rather is go and appear like everybody else might expect a greater-revving forced-induction Honda engine to at least one that builds progressively in the initial delay to gallop through its mid-range and finished in the sprint somewhere near 7,000rpm. Credit where it’s due, the EA888 is nearly believe it or not compelling at between 5,800-6,500rpm – where the R’s advantage on other Cupra-badged cars makes its presence felt – but due to a well-recognized weightlessness inside the clutch and equipment shift, it doesn’t share the reality and tactility of Honda’s six-speed stick shift nor the gratifyingly mechanical experience with reaching it.
In this particular latter respect – particularly the entire process of nailing the physical outcomes of driver, vehicle and road surface – there’s apparent daylight forward and backward. The Type R’s predecessor, the FK2, was self-limited not by not enough ability, speculate it might be driven everywhere at Mach 2 without ruffling a great deal becoming an eyebrow. Within the follow-up, almost with a fault, you now relish every second not because you go noticeably faster, speculate Honda has effectively cleaved away meaning of detachment with meticulously honed controls as well as the exacting, talkative chassis to enhance.
To condition the FK8 turns all-of-a-piece is a factor from the understatement it slays corners having its flatness and tenacity and slippy-diff readiness to put its power lower. The R+ mode might be a too hyperactive for a lot of B-roads, in Sport you obtain the right simmering combination of tautness, compliance, steering response and back-axle mobility. The R is way better in Sport, too (the Cupra setting being too brittle) and just proficient enough to carry foolhardy amounts of speed through most bends. Its apparent strengths feel familiar and well selected: directness and directional stability being limited, and provide in sufficient quantities to really make the vehicle a generally satisfying foil for your finest output it’s are you currently gifted.
But because the Leon is a great one to enable you to drive fast, the type R makes you have to drive fast precisely as it is so excellent. SEAT hasn’t zeroed-within the R model with nearly the identical stringency. The Honda can get better overall when you go that step further the Cupra gamely ups its roll resistance, but doesn’t ultimately contain the rigorous steering feel needed to really make the advantage significant nor the adjustability making it thrilling. It features a inclination to feel exactly since it is: most likely the very best type of an upstanding, affable and unremarkable hot hatch. The Social feels different. It could hardly be any more rounded whether or not this were a BB pellet. It appears like it’s inside the league above. If possibly it looked by doing this, too…
Specs – HONDA Social TYPE R
Engine: 1,996cc, turbocharged 4-cyl
Transmission: 6-speed manual, front-wheel drive
Power (hp): 320@6,500rpm
Torque (lb feet): 295@2,500-4,500rpm
Top speed: 169mph
Weight: 1,451kg (with fluids and driver)
MPG: 36.7 (NEDC combined)
Cost: 30,995 (32,995 for GT version)
Specs – SEAT LEON CUPRA R
Engine: 1,984cc, 4-cylinder turbocharged
Transmission: 6-speed manual, front-wheel drive
Power (hp): 310@5,800-6,500rpm
Torque (lb feet): 280@1,800-5,700rpm
Top speed: 155mph
MPG: 38.7 (NEDC combined)