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New Cupra Leon hatchback and Estate arrives with 328bhp and Drift mode

Also part of the mid-life refresh are a revised infotainment system and new plug-in hybrid with 62-mile EV range

The facelifted Volkswagen Golf and Audi A3 were launched earlier this year, and now their sportier sister car has received its own mid-life refresh. The new Cupra Leon will be available as a hatchback and an estate, with the latter offering 328bhp and a Drift mode.

That’s when fitted with the range-topping 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine. In the hatchback, this engine produces 296bhp and drives the front wheels only. However, the Leon Estate gets a more powerful version, and it comes with all-wheel drive and a new torque-splitting technology.

According to Cupra, this can shift power independently between the rear wheels during corners for great agility, or direct all of the power to one of the rear wheels when the new Drift mode is activated. An exclusive Cupra drive mode that’s meant to be optimised for race tracks also features on the 328bhp Leon Estate.

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This isn’t the only engine option of course, as both the hatchback and Estate are still going to be offered with a selection of petrol, mild-hybrid and plug-in hybrid powertrains. Power outputs range from 148bhp to 328bhp, while the plug-in Leon e-Hybrid models now offer a pure-electric range of more than 62 miles thanks to a much larger 19.7kWh battery.

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Cupra has added 50kW DC rapid charging capabilities to the Leon e-Hybrid as well, and increased the maximum speed for regular AC charging from just 3.6kW to 11kW; fully recharging the new battery should take well under three hours from a standard 7kW home wallbox.

The Cupra Leon has been given a substantial nip-and-tuck, with its new look incorporating the brand’s latest design language introduced by its forthcoming Tavascan flagship. A similar set of tweaks have also been made to the Formentor, which remains the brand’s biggest global seller.

Changes for the Leon include the new “shark-nose” front end, a much wider mouth, three-triangle headlight signature, and the Cupra badge moving from the front grille to the bonnet. The rear bumper has also been refreshed to make the car look like it’s lower, while the full-width light bar now features an illuminated Cupra logo and uses the same three-triangle motif for the tail-lights. There are new 18 and 19-inch alloy wheel designs too.

Cupra says it’s worked to make the interior feel higher quality than before, and has added a new 12.9-inch central touchscreen with what it claims is a more intuitive infotainment system. Wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto is standard fit on the new setup, and drivers can add customisable widgets. The touch-sensitive sliders for the volume and cabin temperature are finally illuminated.

Also new are the 15-watt wireless charging pad that has a cooling function to help prevent your phone from overheating, an optional 12-speaker, 425-watt sound system developed with Sennheiser, and a 73-per cent recycled vegan microfibre upholstery for the bucket seats in select models.

The new facelifted Cupra Leon will be available to order in the autumn. The base price should be very similar to the outgoing model, which starts from £31,565 for the hatch and £33,085 for the Estate.

Click here for our list of the best hot hatchbacks...

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News reporter

As our news reporter, Ellis is responsible for covering everything new and exciting in the motoring world, from quirky quadricycles to luxury MPVs. He was previously the content editor for DrivingElectric and won the Newspress Automotive Journalist Rising Star award in 2022.

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