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New Cupra Leon 2023 facelift spied testing on the Nurburgring

Cupra is giving the Leon a refresh this year in a fresh attack on the hot hatch market

We’ve caught the new Cupra Leon testing once more but this time it’s the range-topping estate model that will aim to take on the best of the performance estate genre. 

Cupra's sales grew by 93 per cent in 2022 and while that figure is impressive, it’s worth remembering just how new Cupra is. The Leon was the second car to feature in Cupra’s line up since it branched off from parent company SEAT in 2018 and since launching in 2020 we’ve seen the performance brand grow its line up with the Formentor, Tavascan and the latest concept car - the Urban Rebel.

The future looks bright for Cupra with its plans for electrification (we’re still waiting to hear SEAT’s EV plans) and it would’ve been easy to let the petrol-powered car lose priority to oncoming fully-electric models, but Cupra is looking to keep the Leon fresh with some mid-life tweaks.  

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Our spy pictures show a Cupra Leon Estate and it looks like the car has received light exterior tweaks. The rear end remains the same with its full-width light bar and bumper design, the quad exhaust layout being a signature of the hottest Cupra model. 

At the front we can already spot plenty of changes despite the camouflage. There’s a new look to the lower grille and the side air intakes but, most interestingly, the top grille has shrunk in size, possibly allowing for greater air flow to the lower grille. The headlights will change too as we could see the triple light feature taken from the Tavascan and Terramar models. The wheels are the same 19-inch ones found on the range-topping VZ3 model.  

The range of engines is unlikely to change with the well-known VW Group EA888 four-cylinder turbocharged unit leading the way. In the latest Golf R Estate power rises to 316bhp (a 10bhp increase on the Leon VZ3), so we could see a similar slight bump in power for the Cupra Leon

The 148bhp, 1.5-litre engine will provide an entry point to the Cupra Leon range and above that a 187bhp 2.0-litre unit. Elsewhere, there will be a 1.4-litre plug-in hybrid and the EA888 2.0-litre petrol with 242bhp and 306bhp. 

The interior might not change drastically in terms of looks, but we could see the adoption of the latest Volkswagen Group technology, including improved voice recognition and touch sensitive controls seen in the updated Golf

A facelift will certainly bring with it an increase in price, with the current Cupra Leon starting from £30,455 in hatchback guise.  

Now check out the best hot hatches you can buy today

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Senior news reporter

A keen petrol-head, Alastair Crooks has a degree in journalism and worked as a car salesman for a variety of manufacturers before joining Auto Express in Spring 2019 as a Content Editor. Now, as our senior news reporter, his daily duties involve tracking down the latest news and writing reviews.

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