The Nurburgring Nordschleife offers car manufacturers the ultimate in bragging rights. Seen as one of the most challenging race tracks in the world, many car brands take their most potent models there in order to prove their model offers the pinnacle of performance.
One rivalry which was brewing on the Green Hell throughout 2014 was between Renault and SEAT. Both have tried to steal the crown of “ultimate hot hatchback” from each other, and as a result each of their models – the RenaultSport Megane 275 Trophy-R and the Leon Cupra 280 – became gradually more extreme.
The fastest Leon of all is now available to buyers. Known as the Ultimate Sub8 Performance Pack – the Sub8 moniker a reference to its Nordschleife lap time of 7 minutes 58.4 seconds – a range of performance and weight saving measures eke out every last tenth of lap time from the Spanish hatch.
A more apt question might be “what’s missing?” as anything deemed surplus to requirements has been ditched in the name of achieving the fastest possible lap time. The automatic climate control has been swapped for a simpler (i.e. lighter) heating system, half of the regular car’s eight speakers have been removed, while the armrest section of the centre console is no more. As with the regular Sub8 pack, 370mm brake discs are gripped by Brembo callipers, while semi-slick Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tyres can be fitted for an extra £460.
Everything else is as it was before. That means power is courtesy of a 280hp 2.0-litre turbo four cylinder unit, sprinting from 0-62mph in 5.7 seconds. An electronically-controlled limited slip differential improves traction out of corners, while 19-inch alloy wheels are available in black or a more eye-catching orange.
Despite the weight-saving measures, equipment is still generous: the likes of a touchscreen satellite-navigation system, rear parking sensors and cruise control are all standard. You still get accommodation for rear seat passengers too, unlike the two-seat Megane.
How much is it?
The new pack costs £4,200, taking the total price to £31,410 for cars fitted with a manual gearbox (a dual clutch DSG auto is also available). At that price, it undercuts the Megane Trophy R by a smidge over £5,000. Though if you want to win the game of Nordschleife Top Trumps, the Renault is still 4.4 seconds faster… but will you care in the real world?