This is how SEAT Sport director Jaime Puig describes the car, and when assessing the range on its 20 year anniversary, readily acknowledges that “we have fulfilled a desire”, creating a car with “the best performance that at the same time suits an everyday lifestyle”.
The latest great example of this happened just recently – on this year’s Leon CUPRA 290, the touch of a button lets you regulate the driving Profile with settings that include CUPRA, Sport, Comfort and Individual. This technology “could only be conceivable in the most advanced videogames when the first model came out”, claims Isidre López, who is responsible for the SEAT Vintage Car Collection. He believes that the CUPRA’s key to success lies in the clever combination of “technology and the passion of our engineers and drivers”.
The range first saw the light in 1996 after the Ibiza Kit Car won the World Rally Championship in the 2-litre category. “It was like a special homage to the winning car”, says Isidre López. SEAT has developed 15 versions of the CUPRA over the last 20 years, and each one features the same traits: “a high-end car, full of sporty character and with a well appointed interior for the ultimate driving enjoyment”, assures Jaime Puig. “We’ve managed to develop a car that puts a smile on your face”, concludes Isidre López.
The CUPRA range has achieved excellent results in the past 20 years, highlighted by the fastest times recorded on Germany’s Nürburgring track. In October 2014, the Leon Cupra Performance Pack smashed the lap time recorded by a front-wheel drive production car with a final time of 7:58.44. Soon later, in May 2015, the Leon ST CUPRA again lapped the Nürburgring even faster. Jaime Puig admits that with results like these, it is no wonder that “on occasions we hoped to have first the CUPRA and then the racing car rather than the other way round”.
The first CUPRA was aimed at a young public, eager to have a high-performance car that would respond with the power and handling of a sports car in any situation. The original concept evolved and improved over the next two decades. As a result, the future looks stronger than ever “and very likely full of surprises”, that will continue to brings “smiles and joy to our customers at the wheel” concludes Isidre López.