Parkers overall rating: 3.5 out of 5 3.5

The Cupra R uses a different petrol engine to one that powers both the standard Cupra and FR. Confusingly both are 2.0-litre engines that are turbocharged. However, the Cupra R engine delivers much more power with 261bhp and 350Nm of pulling power. Despite having significantly more power the R version is not that much quicker than the standard Leon Cupra.

The R covers the 0-62mph dash in 6.2 seconds (only 0.2 secs faster than the Cupra) and can reach a top speed of 155mph (some 2mph faster than the Cupra). However, one advantage is the Cupra R has plenty of grunt to get past slower traffic on single carriageways thanks to its greater pulling power. Driving enthusiasts will also enjoy the six-speed manual gearbox that is both smooth when changing and it has a short throw making shifts quicker.

There isn’t the option of the DSG automatic gearbox with the paddle shift gear changers mounted behind the steering wheel though.

The Cupra R does have stiff suspension though it isn’t as hard as the entry level peformance Leon, the FR. It’s a better compromise between outright fast cornering and providing a smooth, comfortable ride. Drive it like a hot hatch and you’ll find that the Leon Cupra R suffers from a little roll when cornering, however there is a lot of front-end grip that boosts confidence.

This is helped by the electronic ‘XDS’ system that mimics a limited-slip differential to reduce understeer – essential when you have so much power going to the front wheels. The steering feels very light as there is too much assistance from the power steering and turn-in could be sharper.