When you're Volkswagen's Spanish subsidiary Seat, and you rely on Volkswagen platforms and engines, how do you distinguish yourselves? Simple: you take their cars and make them better. That's what I think they did with the new Seat Leon Cupra hot hatchback.

The Leon Cupra is, essentially, a 2015 Volkswagen GTI, except cheaper and with much more power. It's based on the MQB platform, uses a 2.0-liter TSI engine, and comes in two flavors: one with 265 horsepower and one with 280 horsepower.

Advertisement

Advertisement

The latter, tested here by XCAR, puts the Cupra on par with the Golf R, though it lacks that car's all-wheel drive. For a while it was the fastest front-drive car around the Nürburgring, though a Renault took it down recently.

Sounds like an impressive package to me. If I lived in Europe, I'd pick one of these up over a GTI and spend the extra change on gas. I know I'd need it.