I know that Skoda is secretly the Volkswagen Group’s best brand, but I’ve always had a soft spot for their Spanish subsidiary Seat, mainly because they crank out some amazing hot hatches and wagons that are even cheaper than their VW cousins. One of them is now so good, it lapped the Nürburgring quicker than any wagon before it.
As part of the Wörthersee festivities in Austria, the VW Group announced that the Seat Leon ST Cupra 280 is now the fastest “estate car” around the Nürburgring Nordschleife with a lap time of just 7:58.12 minutes.
That’s a full 10 seconds faster than a B7 Audi RS4, and faster than the Leon Cupra 280’s hatchback variant, which nailed a lap time of 7:58.40 last year to become the first front-wheel drive car to crack the eight-minute mark on the ‘Ring.
Granted, the Seat hatchback has since been beaten by a Renault Megane and then the Honda Civic Type R, but anything under eight minutes is a fantastic time for a FWD car, and it’s reflective of the incredible age of performance we now live in.
The Leon ST Cupra 280 was driven by Spanish racing driver Jordi Gené. Here it was equipped with a manual gearbox (wooo!) and the Performance Pack, cranking out 276 horsepower from a 2.0-liter turbo four.
How did the Cupra wagon do so much better than the hatchback version? Gené explained to Top Gear:
“In high speed corners the ST rear axle is more progressive, and the top speed is higher with the better drag coefficient. What we lose exiting some corners we get it back in high-speed turns and on the straights. “With the longer body here we can play with the rear end, to help position the car. It is a very nice racing feeling when you disconnect the ESC.”
Sounds awesome. Where can I sign up to buy one? Oh, wait. I can’t. Sad face.
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