Volkswagen Golf R vs SEAT Leon Cupra video track battle

28 Mar, 2014 3:56pm

The powerful new Volkwagen Golf R takes on the SEAT Leon Cupra 280 on track

With snazzy looks, four-wheel drive and just shy of 300bhp, the new Volkswagen Golf R is the pinnacle of the massive Golf range. But is it the best hot hatch in the VW Group stable?

To find out, we brought along the new SEAT Leon Cupra 280, which has just taken the fastest ever lap time around the Nurburgring for a front-wheel drive car, for an Auto Express track battle.

The most powerful production Golf ever made, the new Golf R costs £31,970 if you choose the DSG gearbox and five-door body. It gets 296bhp and 380Nm of torque from its 2.0-litre turbocharged engine, and has four-wheel drive to put all the power on the road.

Lighter and cheaper than the Golf, the SEAT Leon Cupra is only front-wheel drive, but it has similar underpinnings and the same engine. It develops 276bhp and 350Nm of torque. Like the Golf, this car is fitted with the DSG dual-clutch gearbox.

Stable and powerful, the Golf R performed well around our circuit, recording a lap time of 1.14.8 seconds. However, the sharper and more agile SEAT recorded a lap time of 1.13.9 seconds.

So which car comes out on top in our hot hatch head-to-head? Well, it's a bit expensive, but we really like the Golf R. It's a great road car - it's fast, upmarket and composed. But on the track the SEAT Leon Cupra may only be front-wheel drive, but it has almost as much traction, it's much more agile and it's faster against the stopwatch.

Crucially it's nearly £4,000 cheaper, so in this head-to-head track battle it's the SEAT Leon Cupra that takes victory.

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Man that Seat Leon is a beast. Too bad we won't get that in Murica

So the SEAT is £4k cheaper. But what's far more crucial is the service you get from the dealership when it comes to after sales service, such as when & if the car goes wrong or when it comes to the standard 10k or annual service.

Neither brand has a particularly good reputation when it comes to this.

Is the trick diff on the SEAT the same one fitted to the new Golf GTI?

Also, what are the residuals like? I'll wager that 3 years down the line the Golf will be command more than a 4k premium over the Seat. Spend less but be prepared to lose more.

I watched the GTi with performance pack vs Megan cup video and it looks like the Leon is faster than those as well :)

What people seem to forget is..

It's all very well & good being able to good like the "brown stuff" off a shovel, the problem comes when you need to stop in a hurry.

True, but then you can say that about an Audi S3 over the Golf. That'll be worth more than the R in 3 years.

But the S3 isn't referenced in this article? The Seat is and apparently wins out due to the fact that "Crucially it's nearly £4,000 cheaper". I am saying that this victory is flawed.

Rather the Focus ST or Mégane RS!

How much VW pays to Autoexpress to enhance their products?

The S3 also costs more than the R, so there's that.

Cant wait to see new magane rs,a true hot hatch king.

Golf R sounds much better to my ears than the Leon inside the car. The Leon sounds flat where the golfs seems to have a lot more layers to the noise and has more bass.

Is it me or the R looks very bland compared to the old R32's