Seat Leon III ST Cupra 2.0-TSI 300 CV DSG 4-Drive Test and Review

Seat Leon III ST Cupra 2.0-TSI 300 CV DSG 4-Drive Test and Review

Certainly, the name given to the holder of this test is very long; But it does not stop being the one that defines exactly the car in question, and there is nothing left. There are the make, the model, the generation, the type of body, the level of finish, the displacement, the version of injection, the power, the type of gearbox, and the one of traction. But it is not his long denomination that makes of this Lion ST Cupra (we are already shortening) a car quite peculiar, at the same time as sophisticated; What it does is what each of those concepts brings. Because this can be one of the most technologically and commercially elaborate cars we have ever tried on this blog.

We started with a family-type car or Station-Wagon, which is in a frank minority – if not withdrawal – in the face of the siege of cars of similar practicality but different design, such as minivans, SUVs or the indefinable crossover. But relatives are still quite a few, even if they are no longer sold with the profusion of a couple of decades ago, and from there back; What there are no more is so many that put 300 CV available to the right foot of the driver. And if we round it off saying that the fuel injection is both direct and indirect, we already have another differential factor that reduces much more the possibility of finding a similar one.

Seat Leon III ST Cupra 2.0-TSI 300 CV DSG 4-Drive Test and Review

Since the ST body of the new Leon Cupra is the only one that has 4-Drive drive, in Seat they sent a trio of units to Lapland to do a photo report. So most of the photos available are in that peculiar and frigid environment.

And all the more so if we go to the section of the transmission, in which we first find a gearbox of which type (double clutch, triple axle and automatic / sequential handling) there are already enough, although this (the DSG of the group VAG) is the oldest. And to continue defining peculiarities, we have a type of integral traction of selective operation depending on the adhesion of the pavement, the Swedish Haldex of 5th generation. All in all, you could think of a kind of “crossover” that aimed at off-road use, a kind of SUV but with profiled body (Audi Allroad or Subaru Outback). But it turns out not: the suspension is even slightly reduced compared to that of a normal ST Lion, while that of an X-perience is the one that is raised.

Seat Leon III ST Cupra 2.0-TSI 300 CV DSG 4-Drive Test and Review

Classic and solid design of the driver’s seat: the dashboard is perfectly framed in a horizontal line, except for the area corresponding to the instrumentation behind the steering wheel, whose dome reproduces exactly the curvature of it. Contrary to the usual, the front lower and horizontal areas of the center console do not connect to the dashboard, but there is a break between the two sections.

Yes, very difficult to define, and still more to fit into a specific segment or niche. This reminds us of what was said in the Range-Rover advertising: the only “all-terrain” in the world from which one can get dressed in etiquette to go to the opera. Paraphrasing such a “boutade”, the ST Cupra could say the same thing, changing the opera in the case of the zarzuela, since the model is genuinely Spanish (it has no equivalent in the VAG group). And if someone believes that we arrive on board a simple Family Lion (the ST Cupra is very discreet), it would suffice to give an empty acceleration to get him out of his error.

Seat Leon III ST Cupra 2.0-TSI 300 CV DSG 4-Drive Test and Review

Apart from the size of the 19 “rim and the tire section, there is hardly anything to disclose the personality of this Cupra. Because the double outlet exhaust can currently be found even in a delivery van. In this photo we have the standard tire, with five double radii and Pirelli P-Zero tires.

We have said that in this blog probably have not tried any car so complex to delimit in the technical and commercial.Indeed, the Ford Focus RS a few months ago was even more powerful, but neither had the peculiarity of the family body, nor a sequential gearbox. As for the Subaru Legacy Outback Lineartronic was already closer, but its propellant was a “percheron” 2.0-D 150 HP: half power, for about 150 kilos more weight; He lacked a level of service everywhere.

Perhaps it is the right moment to present the complete technical file of this car, and we can continue to unravel, with more knowledge of the case, some more of the peculiarities of its characteristics; And its behavior, which also has its own:

Data sheet: León III ST Cupra 2.0-TSI 300 CV DSG 4-Drive





Transverse front 4-cylinder in-line, tilted 12 ° to the rear.


Casting block; Cylinder head and special aluminum crankcase; Cranks and pistons reinforced. Water / oil exchanger. Two counterbalancing balancing axes. Variable-flow oil pump, dual cooling circuit, and exhaust manifold partially in the cylinder head. Stop / Start and Smart Alternator.


1,984 cc; (82.5 x 92.8 mm). Compression: 9.3: 1.


Direct and indirect injection; Fixed geometry turbo (2.2 bar absolute) and air / air intercooler . 98 octane gasoline is recommended.


Double overhead camshaft, controlled by belt / chain; Four valves per cylinder, driven by semi-rocker arms with rollers, on hydraulic support. Phase variator in both trees, and raised in exhaust.


300 hp (221 kW) from 5,550 to 6,200 rpm ● 38,8 (380 Nm) from 1,800 to 5,500 rpm. Red line: 6,500 rpm.



4-Drive all-wheel drive (Haldex 5th generation), with transverse mechanics.


Double multidisc (of four discs each) in oil bath.


DSG six-speed, triple axle. Automatic and manual / sequential control, by lever and cams.


By management: traction / retention TSC / MSR. Front multi-disc electro-hydraulic control.


Double helical straight: 4,769: 1 (13/62, from 1st to 4th) ● 3,444: 1 (18/62, for 5th and 6th).


1: 2,933: 1 (44/15) ● 8.47

2: 1.833: ​​1 (44/24) ● 13.55

3: 1,300: 1 (39/30) ● 19.10

4: 0.975: 1 (39/40) ● 25.47

5: 1.030: 1 (34/33) ● 33.37

6: 0.825: 1 (33/40) ● 41.68



Front McPherson with aluminum subframe; Four-arm rear with sheet metal subframe. Helical springs, electronic control dampers DCC, and stabilizer in both trains.


Zipped electromechanical, with pumping and side wind compensation. Turning diameter: 10.5 m. Relationship: 13.56: 1. Turns of steering wheel: 2.1. Slower in fast gear: equivalent to 2.8 turns of steering wheel.


Four ventilated discs (340/310 mm Ø). Option: Brembo 4 piston calipers.


ESP stability, with counter-balance compensation; ABS anti-blocking; BAS enhancer; Depending on load and EBPD curve.


Tires 235 / 35-19Y Pirelli P-Zero, in 8 “alloy rim. Option: Michelin Pilot Sport Cup-2.



ST family of two volumes and five doors, with trunk communicated. Five seats.


Battle: 2,631 m. Routes: 1,536 / 1,510 m. Length: 4,548 m. Width: 1,816 m. Height: 1,431 m.


Refurbished to top and without driver: 1,467 kg (official). Documentation car: 1,506 kg.


Trunk: 587 liters. Fuel tank: 55 liters (nominal); 57 liters (real).


Coefficient Cx: 0.30; Front section S: 2.18 m2; Product S.Cx: 0.66.



Maximum speed: 250 km / h (self-limited). Acceleration: 0-100 km / h: 4.9 sg.


Approved (urban / extra-urban / combined): 9.1 / 6.1 / 7.2 l / 100 km.


Of CO2: 164 gr / km.

The card speaks for itself, but I would like to draw attention to some specific aspects. In the engine, the use of two types of gasoline injection: direct injection has not proved to be the panacea that was originally announced to us, and therefore two of the largest world groups (Toyota / Lexus and VAG) resort in their Better engines to the double injection, although it is more expensive. The direct is ideal for the cold start (there is no condensation in the manifold itself and in the intake manifolds of the cylinder head), and to operate at full gas (fresh gasoline cools the blast chamber), delaying detonation and generation Of nitrogen oxides. But at partial load, already running more or less stabilized, with the hint gives more time to the fuel to mix with the air (pass through the valve,

Seat Leon III ST Cupra 2.0-TSI 300 CV DSG 4-Drive Test and Review

Again the tire and tire series; It is curious that the measurements of both components are the same both in series and in the option Pack Performance. You can also see the standard brake caliper (not the Brembo) and the front disc 340 mm; A generous measure, but somewhat smaller than usual in these high-performance C segment (between 350 and 380 mm).

In the transmission, the front limiter that comes standard on the other Cupra of 300 hp (5P and SC), which are front-wheel drive, is still maintained; Which is still the usual operation with the Haldex, until the transfer of thrust – more or less partial – to the rear axle. But given the power of the engine, the self-locking prevents the Vectoring Control first and the traction control afterwards, must take action, wearing brakes and finally subtracting power, except when absolutely necessary.

In the suspension we have the DCC adaptive damping, which also moves on three scales: Normal, Sport and Cupra. In the first of these, the car conveys a firm but comfortable feeling, which is liked by the user who is not in favor of excessive wobbles. The other two levels are one for a decidedly sporty driving, and the other to go very far or get into a circuit; Not very reasonable thing with a familiar body, but there it is.

Seat Leon III ST Cupra 2.0-TSI 300 CV DSG 4-Drive Test and Review

The trio of ST Cupra sent to Lapland, showing part of the color palette available. All three bear the Performance Pack of Brembo tires and brakes, but with Hakkapeliitta spiked tires. It is remarkable that they exist for such an extreme measure with is the 235 / 35-19; It is seen that the clientele of the supercar does not rush for snowfall more or less, and demand that there are pure winter tires suitable for their cars.

And then there is the direction of variable ratio: it has only 2.1 turns of steering wheel at slow speed and in maneuver, in order to avoid an excessive steering wheel when parking or in very tortuous paths; And as the speed increases, the relationship becomes slower, so that circulating on the highway would be equivalent to having 2.8 laps (as in normal tourism, and even a little slower); So the car is not nervous at high speeds, when it would not be necessary to move the position of the hands on the steering wheel anyway. This change of relation is impossible to verify, since it is not feasible to turn the steering wheel to full stop going at full speed; But there is no reason why the data they communicate should not be true. And the difference is certainly appreciated.

In terms of size and weight, we have a length of 4.55 meters and almost a ton and a half, which gives the car, along roads above one and a half meters (and very wide tires) great aplomb of footing; But the 2.63-meter battle is still compact enough to be agile on winding paths, as agility depends more on this height than on the length, since the rear inner wheel does not over-cut the inside of the curves .

Seat Leon III ST Cupra 2.0-TSI 300 CV DSG 4-Drive Test and Review

The heart of the beast: we must recognize that in Seat have been careful in the design of the already usual plastic cover. In addition to the refinement of the spelling and adornments of the upper part, in the front auction are no less than five notches that fit in detail to the tubes and elements that go under.

Another peculiar feature of this car, which is emphasized repeatedly in the foot of photos, is the discretion of its presentation. Regarding a León ST, the only reference are two small logos (in grille and gate) that only the most aware recognize as identifying the finishing and mechanical Cupra (whether of Ibiza or León). And just below the back, and in a size slightly less than microscopic, the figure “300” appears. Moreover, the usual combination of designs in the lower part of the front below the grill makes it very difficult to distinguish some finishes from others: the trapezoidal air intake once has the base wider than the upper section, and other the other way; And something similar happens with side air intakes (false or not).

More details that make you peculiar: the front seats. They are in an excellent mid-point between the real racing buckets (although usually those that are fitted as standard are heavier and with more padding than the authentic ones) and good tourism-type seats. The lateral reinforcements are more than enough to hold the body well in the corners, but not enough to turn the input and output maneuvers into a gymnastic exercise of elasticity. And its combination of leather in the lateral reinforcements and Alcantara in the central areas where they support back and legs is the ideal for the adherence of the clothes and not to pass heat or cold, whatever the season of the year. There is a choice of full leather upholstery that goes for 1,900 euros, and whose interest, personally, I can not find anywhere.

Seat Leon III ST Cupra 2.0-TSI 300 CV DSG 4-Drive Test and Review

With a little practice and on an icy lake, a mid / good driver up can do this (more or less long in keeping the crusade). But as it is appreciated by the footprints, in this case it does not matter to go five meters more here or beyond. The real merit is to do it in a road lined with pines, as in the Rally of Sweden; And then an error of less than one meter is often fatal.

Interest that I do not see (and still less for 3,200 euros) in the Performance Pack, which includes different tires but of the same size (diameter and width of channel) as the standard, and driven with the very radical Michelin Sport Cup- 2 (also of the same measures as the P-Zero series Pirelli), with a very shallow drawing just to the limit of the admitted to circulate by road. They are basically for competition in rallies (not the World Championship, of course) when you can not or want to change to another set of tires if it rains; But basically they are for dry asphalt.

And also the Brembo front brake calipers are part of the package, on the same discs as the standard equipment, although I guess with slightly longer pads, because no wider (the disc track would not allow it). The advantage lies in the greater resistance to “fading” (larger pellets, working with less pressure at equal braking) and perhaps a better pedal feel when braking thoroughly, since the tweezers may be somewhat more rigid than normal ones. But the difference between one team and another, with the same records, could only be perceived in exasperated driving on extremely demanding terrain; Driving that is not what the car asks for, and that’s what we’ll talk about a little later.

Seat Leon III ST Cupra 2.0-TSI 300 CV DSG 4-Drive Test and Review

The excellent seats of series, with Alcantara in the center and lateral of leather. There are an optional leather “bucket” that cost 1,300 euros; For this car, I would not pay it off being a millionaire.

Let’s continue with the options: discarded – for economy as per objective interest – the Performace Pack (3,200 euros), leather upholstery (1,900 euros) and bucket seats (1,300 euros), we are as interesting for a car of this size The “good” browser (1,300 euros), support to the driver (800 euros) and Pack Winter (300 euros). With that, the 38,700 euros of the series price we are going to us to 41,000; An extremely respectable amount. But the car is not for anyone; This is known by just a glance diagonally to the technical file: 300 hp, DSG change, Haldex traction, self-locking, 19 “wheels and adaptive damping are elements (accompanied by others also very significant) that make it clear that we are not Precisely to a product “low cost”. This car is for anyone who can afford it;

And we go with what I think is the core of the personality of this car: its type of use; Which in turn requires a very specific type of owner. No doubt this Cupra ST is very helpful: its weight / power ratio 5 kg / hp) makes it very clear. A performance that is supported by an excellent suspension, generous footwear, brakes more than leftovers and fast steering. But this (and practically all the rest of the equipment) also have the other two Cupra of 300 HP, in addition to a short body that allows them to be somewhat more agile (in inertia) in very broken ground; The ST, and so much more with the weight of the Haldex in the rear train, is more neutral in medium and fast curves, but less agile in the very closed.

Seat Leon III ST Cupra 2.0-TSI 300 CV DSG 4-Drive Test and Review

Typical image in the Lapp environment, which allows us to check the straight stylized rear line of the ST body of the Lion, with a rear rear seat quite (although not the only one) for the usual in this type of body.

But in return, that body joined to the DSG change, to the tranquility that brings the integral traction when for whatever it takes its help, to the excellent seats, and to that behavior rower still more settled, they form a panorama that turns it into a Model uniquely suited to travel fast, without shrill or attract attention (again remember how discreet your body), with a wide margin of safety, and with a performance reserve to manage unannounced overtaking only with a couple of touches to the left cam change. And of course, when the driver wants to throw a cane in the air on a secondary road and little frequented, the car will respond to perfection. This, better going alone, because driving this way loses that interesting facet of comfort for the rest of the occupants.

Seat Leon III ST Cupra 2.0-TSI 300 CV DSG 4-Drive Test and Review

The Cupra ST equipped with Performance Pack: ten-spoke symmetrical rim (perhaps forged), and Brembo four-piston front brake caliper (plus Michelin Sport Cup-2 tires, though not in this photo). Another, 3,200 euros, and 200 more if the rim is painted in orange; Difficult to justify such an expense.

An Ibiza Cupra (and almost all segment B with more than 170/180 hp) seem to ask for a sporty driving; Or else, it seems that you are wasting them; Not so in the Lion ST Cupra. This feeling that the car no longer lends, but seems to ask for a quick but polished driving is not only mine; Curiously, has produced the same impression to two other people who, in one way or another, have also had contact with the ST Cupra. A good friend, a great amateur and excellent driver, who sometimes accompanies me when I go around the cars to check their behavior, regardless of the official routes of consumption, made the same impression: the car seems to be much more suitable for Travel that for “cebollear”, although it can lend itself to the latter without the slightest problem.

Seat Leon III ST Cupra 2.0-TSI 300 CV DSG 4-Drive Test and Review

Under any approach, and regardless of the size of the wheels, discretion is the most remarkable in the image offered by this familiar 300 hp with all-wheel drive.

For its part, Susana is the manager of the Seat Press fleet, and when returning the cars we usually comment on how they have gone. Before going on, let’s say Susana is not a mere official: she is the wife of José Antonio Zorrilla, who is in charge of having the newspaper park ready; That “Fox” that a few decades ago we used to see happen in the rallies with his 127 Group 1 sometimes supporting the four wheels, many only three and sometimes simply two. And now, on board its Opel Ascona 2.0 well prepared, and with Susana as “copi”, faces the similar BMW 320 of my colleague Juan Collin in the rallies of classics (in speed, no regularity) to the astonishment of others Pilots half their age, to see how the two “grandparents” wet their ears.

Well, when I communicated my impression, the same one that I wrote three paragraphs higher, she told me that the same thing had happened to her. A few weeks before these cars arrived (along with some others), and Jose Antonio said: we have to roll them, so this weekend we take a ST Cupra and we go to Galicia. She answered him: and for what? Better take an Ibiza, and we go as comfortable “. But he who does not, that Cupra. And to Susana’s surprise, she also discovered, as my friend and I did, that the car suits itself well to travel, and as fast as you like (and prudence advise), but without having to go forcing situations , Because it is already going faster. It is a feeling that whoever has enough experience and is accustomed to changing cars can perceive;

Seat Leon III ST Cupra 2.0-TSI 300 CV DSG 4-Drive Test and Review

The only reference to the power of the engine is this almost microscopic figure “300” located in the gate under the emblem of Cupra; Since the vast majority of users are not able to distinguish from any other cartoon that could have occurred to insert the manufacturer.

But not for that we are going to leave aside the aspect of consumption, although the price of the car makes it possible to suspect that its lucky owners will not frighten them liter up or down consumption. But as I say, a good consumption is an unmistakable sign that the car, its mechanics, its transmission and its aerodynamics are very good; Otherwise, it’s like a four-legged bench with one shorter than the other three, which never just settled with balance. It can be used, but all the while you are swinging between one support and another, and it is not pleasant.

So here are the results of the two courses; Because unlike what we did some time ago with the 280 HP Cupra (and also DSG), we have made the “new” consumption route (then did not exist), since its character seems to ask for that information too. And by the way, let’s remember that this Cupra, with the body ST, is the only one of this denomination that takes transmission Haldex. In Leon I, and with the engine 2.8 V6, there was already a first attempt, which I personally considered rather unfortunate: it weighed a lot, lacked some power, and the 1.8-TSI engine and front-wheel drive walked more and better. But let us return to the consumption of our ST Cupra today:

Results of the Lion ST Cupra DSG 4-Drive in the usual circuit: 

Economic rate NEW: Consumption: 7.85 l / 100 km. Winds less than 5 mph.

At “interesting” pace: Consumption: 9.20 l / 100 km. A 50 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms.

The times have not come especially fast, but of average type (5h 11m and 4h 31m, respectively). And not because there were special difficulties, since both days the conditions were good. It is simply because I unconsciously ended up applying that pace of a little more relaxed than usual, even on the “new” route, letting the car do all the work, without putting pressure on it. Of course, it would have been easy to reduce the time in four or five minutes, with a little more attention not already attentive, but simply involved to reduce seconds here and there, without any deterioration in consumption.

Seat Leon III ST Cupra 2.0-TSI 300 CV DSG 4-Drive Test and Review

In the rather sordid environment of a workshop with elements (tires, tires and front skirt) of the Cup Racer in the foreground, we can compare the normal and ST body of the Cupra. Although very little (glazing line in its rear corner) it is verified that the stamping of the back door is different in each model.

And speaking of these, let’s see how they compare to those of the equivalent cars we’ve tried most recently. At the new economic rate we have a Lion ST X-Perience, with DSG and 4-Drive, but with the 180 hp 1.8 engine, which goes great: consumption was 7.07 l / 100 km, taking 5h 12 m. The Cupra, on average practically identical, has consumed 11% more, which is not surprising, given that it weighs a bit more, but above all the engine is “something else”, and the tires are wider and more adherent (the Unit of tests carried the Performance Pack, by the way).

Then comes the Giulietta front-wheel drive with 1.75 240 hp and TCT shift, which already rises to 7.56 l / 100 km, although going a little faster (5h 07m). Greater agility for its size; But in spite of not having the retention of the integral traction, it does not reduce the consumption of the Cupra more than in 0.3 l / 100 km. More structurally similar to our car today is the Subaru Levorg AWD Lineartronic (automatic transmission and all-wheel drive), but with a 1.6 from 170 hp. In spite of this it is already inserted in 7.77 l / 100 km (almost empathizes with the Cupra), and taking 5h 13m.

Seat Leon III ST Cupra 2.0-TSI 300 CV DSG 4-Drive Test and Review

The DSG lever allows you to choose between Normal or Sport (one touch back) and sequential, and move it to the right; Also the cams under the steering wheel, for momentary management in automatic, or sequential. At the rear, the parking brake control, and a switch for automatic operation or turning off the function.

Also automatic (with converter) and all-wheel drive is the Opel Mokka-X, a crossover 1.4 of 150 hp that shoots almost a liter above, consuming 8.77 l / 100 km, although it was well, It took only 5h 10m. And finally, the superlative Ford Focus RS, AWD traction but manual shift, we drank gasoline at the rate of 9.18 l / 100 km, taking, yes, a fast 5h 07 m. So, one thing with others, and having a performance level that only the Focus RS equals, the result of the ST Cupra at the normal pace, can be considered quite meritorious, given its technical definition.

And let’s now turn to the “interesting” rhythm, which is certainly the most representative for this car; No matter how much it is to travel, but rather at this rate than the previous one. And its 9.20 l / 100 km return to be favorably positioned, since once again it only appreciably reduces the consumption of the Lion X-Perience with 8.27 l / 100 km, and exactly the same time as the Cupra. In a handkerchief with this we have the Giulietta, with 9.21 l / 100 km and 4h 29m, and the previous Cupra 280 hp with 9.20 and 4.29; It is clear that the ST aerodynamics is much superior to the short Lion, since it exactly compensates the influence of the Haldex transmission. The Levorg is already going to 9.90 l / 100 km (4h 30m), and the Focus is again a little faster (4h 27m), but at the price of consuming 10.43 l / 100 km.

Seat Leon III ST Cupra 2.0-TSI 300 CV DSG 4-Drive Test and Review

The pilot Jordi Gené says goodbye to the “musher” of the dog team against whose sleigh he threw a carrerita. On the front, the ST Cupra carries exclusively the small Cupra logo, without even the figure “300” that appears exclusively in the tailgate.

The conclusion is clear: despite what has been said previously and healing in health as to what could consume this car, we see that it is even better than average, especially given the size of its body, its Haldex traction and its level Service. The driving, in both routes, was made with the lever in Drive, plus eventual use of the cams in the easy zones, and passing manual control (cams and lever, indistinctly) in the more sinuous areas of the route. The truth is that, especially in “economic”, made the whole route practically in 6ª. The combination that levers, programs and cams make it is very wide, and I think it does not affect consumption too much while the pace of march is more or less the same, regardless of how to handle the change.

There is nothing more to repeat for the umpteenth time what has already been said: it is a luxury car, but tremendously helpful, and with a routing behavior to the height of that benefit (there are Sport and Cupra programs for occasional occasions). Ideal for the classic long and fast journey, with a relaxed, comfortable ride (the suspension is not particularly hard on Normal), ample trunk and a wide margin of safety. The equipment, with the indicated options, is very complete, and those 41,000 euros allow to have a car more satisfactory than many “premium” ones more expensive. Of course, the brand is not, but the car does respond to such a definition. It requires a buyer who, for a start, has the money; And to continue, to appreciate the value of the vehicle itself,

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