Seat Leon Cupra review: Simmering rather than on-the-boil hot hatch

Seat launched the first-generation Leon in 1998. Sportier than the VW Golf, and cheaper than the Audi A3 (with which it shared much), it married the best qualities of both and the car reached its zenith as the range-topping Cupra R performance model.

That car used the 221bhp, high-output version of a 1.8-litre turbo petrol engine, which was otherwise reserved for the Audi TT – giving it a distinct sales point over the then contemporary and somewhat lackadaisical Golf Mk IV GTI. As Seat might say, it had a certain level of “auto emocion” (the firm’s tag line).

Fast-forward to 2016 and the Leon continues to share its underpinnings with the contemporary Golf, A3 and Skoda Octavia. But in 2016, what is its selling point?

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