The new Cupra Leon has been copying Audi’s homework

April 29, 2024 by

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This is the new Cupra Leon, and it has a lot in common with the Audi S3 under the skin.

  • New Cupra Leon revealed
  • Heavily-revised exterior design
  • Same 333hp engine as the Audi S3
  • Plug-in hybrid versions with 62 miles of range
  • Upgraded interior tech
  • On sale later this year

The Cupra Leon has been given an extensive update for 2024, with revised styling and a refreshed interior keeping the hatchback feeling fresh.

This alternative to the Volkswagen Golf and Ford Focus also gets some new engine options, including the same 333hp 2.0-litre unit as the Audi S3.

New Cupra Leon design

It may share a lot of parts with the S3 under the skin, but the Cupra Leon stands out compared to that car thanks to its sporty and flamboyant design. If the Audi is a plain bockwurst, the Cupra is more like a spicy chorizo.

There are plenty of changes over the outgoing Leon as well, the most notable of which being up front. The bonnet is much more pointy than before, a design which Cupra calls the ‘shark nose’, and you have new triangular headlights. The lower grille is more imposing as well.

You can still choose between hatchback and estate versions of the Leon, however not much has changed down the side. There are some new alloy wheel designs though, with either 18- or 19-inch options on offer.

You can see more significant differences at the rear, the most notable of which is the new light bar across the boot lid. The Cupra logo is now lit up in the centre, and you have new tail lights with a similar triangular design to the front lamps.

New Cupra Leon engines and driving

Range-topping VZ3 versions of the new Cupra Leon use the same 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine as the new Audi S3, and it puts out the same 333hp as that car as well.

This model also gets all-wheel drive, something which was reserved only for the estate version before, however Cupra is yet to give an official 0-60mph sprint time. The mechanically-similar Audi S3 will do 0-60mph in 4.7 seconds, so expect similar numbers from the new Leon.

In addition to the extra power, you also get a new drift mode for the traction control system. A similar feature is available on the S3, and it splits torque between the rear wheels to push the tail out when you’re on the track.

But what if you want to be a bit more sensible? Well the Leon range kicks off with a 1.5-litre petrol engine with 150hp and a six-speed manual gearbox, or you can have the same engine with an automatic and mild hybrid tech for added efficiency.

There’s also a 300hp 2.0-litre engine with front-wheel drive, and the estate is available with a 204hp engine with all-wheel drive.

Company car drivers looking for the lowest Benefit-in-Kind (BIK) rates will want to look towards the plug-in hybrid versions. There are two to choose from, both with a 1.5-litre engine and both getting over 62 miles of driving using electric power alone. The choice you get is between a 204hp model or one with 272hp.

New Cupra Leon interior and infotainment

The overall interior design may not be too different, but the new Cupra Leon does get some new infotainment tech and upgraded materials to keep things looking and feeling fresh.

The highlight here is the new 12.9-inch touchscreen, an upgrade over the 12.0-inch display you get in the current car. It uses new software as well which makes it easier to use than before, and the touch-sensitive sliders underneath are now backlit so you can see them at night, something which was a big oversight in the outgoing car.

Beyond the new tech, a selection of new materials push the Leon further upmarket. You can now have plush microfiber upholstery around the place, and you can get sporty bucket seats which sit lower for a more sporty feeling.

When can I buy the new Cupra Leon?

The new Cupra Leon will go on sale in the next few months, however prices haven’t been announced just yet. The current car starts from £33,700, so you can expect this new one to cost over £35,000.

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