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SEAT Leon Cupra R hits UK showrooms

It's the quickest and most powerful SEAT ever built, but the stunning new SEAT Leon Cupra R is also the high performance hatch that won't cost you the earth to run.

Available in UK showrooms now, it boasts 265bhp - that's 25bhp more than the already rapid SEAT Leon Cupra - thanks to further tweaks to its 2.0-litre turbocharged engine. Torque is also boosted with an extra 50Nm bringing it up to 350Nm. And the results are impressive - 0-62mph takes just 6.2 seconds - almost 2.0 seconds quicker than a Volkswagen Golf GTI.

But what's even more impressive is how efficient this performance hatch is. It has an average fuel consumption of 34.9mpg while CO2 emissions of 190g/km mean car tax rates won't be sky high either.

Under the skin, the Cupra R uses a sophisticated programme called XDS - an electronic system which uses enhanced ABS to mimic the operation of a traditional limited slip differential, improving traction in corners, especially when accelerating from low speeds.

The Leon Cupra R standard six-speed manual gearbox has been upgraded too with modifications including a shorter throw (down by six millimetres) to help deliver even faster changes.

Of course, no performance hatch is complete without some bespoke styling and the Cupra R doesn't disappoint. Among the changes are the addition of twin central exhaust pipes within a customised rear diffuser, an extended tailgate roof spoiler, subtle 'R' badging and gloss black highlighting inside and out.

There are also 19-inch 'Potenza' wheels as standard, available in traditional silver alloy or with a stand-out white finish. Inside the new ebony black front seatbacks give rear passengers a taste of the Cupra R cabin upgrades, which include a flat-bottomed metal trimmed steering wheel and unique seats.

The new Leon Cupra R costs £25,205 and production is limited to around 500 in a full year, with the first customer cars due to be delivered within weeks.

We'll de driving the new Leon Cupra R next week so look out for our in-depth review of the quickest SEAT ever.

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