How to save £2,000 on a Volkswagen Golf GTI? Buy a Cupra Leon! The sporty Spanish brand has come up a new version of the Leon that matches its more famous hot hatch cousin on power and performance but for rather less dosh.
Taking on the GTI in Cupra’s case means coming downmarket a bit. Until now the Cupra Leon has boasted 300PS (221kW) but 245PS (180kW) is all you need to match the latest Golf GTI so that’s what the new version has been given. It’s the same engine in both Golf and Leon of course, the ubiquitous 2.0-litre TSI petrol four-pot.
At 6.4 seconds for the 0-62mph dash the latest Leon is warm rather than hot but importantly is just as sprightly as the Golf GTI, while if you want more go you can still always opt for the hotter Leon that gets to 62mph in 5.7 seconds. That stays in the new and wider range, as does the plug-in hybrid version.
The power might have been reined back a little but nothing else seems to have been which means the Leon remains a well-equipped hatch as well as one with its own distinctive sporting character. You get a double-clutch ‘box with paddleshifts, 18-inch machined black and silver alloy wheels, black brake calipers, chrome and copper interior detailing, a flat-bottomed leather steering wheel and sports bucket seats. And, just like daddy Golf in Mk8 form, you get the same fully digital cockpit with USB ports and connectivity galore – just with added Spanish flair.
Most important, there are still four oval exhaust pipes at the back so no one will know you are driving the cheap one.
Cheap? Well, at £31,460 for the VZ1 trim level (as described) it’s cheaper than the Golf GTI (by around £2,000) as well as £3,500 less than the 300PS Leon. For £1,235 more VZ2 trim brings 19-inch alloys and dynamic chassis control. In either case this new Leon variant is Cupra’s most affordable model so far, and you can order one from today. Golf GTI look out, the Spanish are after you!
Which would you rather have: Cupra Leon or Golf GTI?