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SEAT Leon Cupra vs. VW Golf R vs. Audi RS3 Is the Race of VW Group Diversity

Being an absolute mammoth of a carmaker, it's only natural for the Volkswagen Group to offer many similar cars under different brands. Still, even though all three cars in this race are performance-oriented hatchbacks (the Golf R actually happens to be the Variant version, but you get what we mean) and they were all built under VW Group's all-encompassing umbrella, they are very different from each other.
SEAT Leon Cupra vs Audi RS3 Sportback vs Volkswagen Golf R drag race 6 photos
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SEAT Leon Cupra vs Audi RS3 Sportback vs Volkswagen Golf R drag raceSEAT Leon Cupra vs Audi RS3 Sportback vs Volkswagen Golf R drag raceSEAT Leon Cupra vs Audi RS3 Sportback vs Volkswagen Golf R drag raceSEAT Leon Cupra vs Audi RS3 Sportback vs Volkswagen Golf R drag raceSEAT Leon Cupra vs Audi RS3 Sportback vs Volkswagen Golf R drag race
First off, only two share the same engine, or the same number of cylinders, for that matter. As you probably very well know, the Audi gets an extra banger to make it five compared to the Golf and Leon's four. Obviously, that gives it more grace, but more importantly, it also gives it more power.

However, none of these three cars is stock, so there's no point in talking about how much power they made out of the factory. Still, if only for reference, here are the factory specs: 395 hp for the RS3, 306 hp for the Golf R, and 276 hp for the Cupra. The Spanish representative seriously lags behind, and its output is only half the story.

The SEAT Leon Cupra has two more things that don't stack up in its favor. First, it's the only front-wheel-drive car of the bunch, so any standing start will give its driver plenty of time to admire the rear ends of the other two. Second, it's the only one with a manual, so while it may be the more engaging of the three out on a winding road, the stick shift surely doesn't do it any favors in a drag race.

Now let's get to the good part, which is the Cupra's Stage 2 tuning. After all the work put into it, the 2.0-liter TSI engine now makes 402 hp (402.5 hp, according to its owner, Jamie), marking a serious jump from the stock value. Unfortunately for it, its two rivals for the day have gone through similar transformations, so the Golf R now makes 414 hp, while the Audi RS3 brings 515 hp to the fight.

The odds don't seem to be in the SEAT's favor, but it does at least have two things going for it. One is the weight as the Cupra is the lightest, even though it's not such a conclusive advantage. Then there's the fact they decided on doing a rolling start instead of a standing one, canceling the handicap brought by the lack of an all-wheel-drive system.

All-in-all, we should have a couple of interesting races on our hands with close times and even some surprising results. And there's also some drama: first, there's a lot of smoke coming out of Jamie's Cupra's exhaust, then he quickly needs to get out of the way to make room for an airplane that decided to land at that exact moment. Not a dull moment.

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About the author: Vlad Mitrache
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"Boy meets car, boy loves car, boy gets journalism degree and starts job writing and editing at a car magazine" - 5/5. (Vlad Mitrache if he was a movie)
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