Which Is the Fastest, the Golf R or the Leon Cupra 280?

Here’s a question that’s been bugging people for a few months now: If I have somewhere over €30,000 to spend on a hot hatch, do I go for the new generation of legendary Golf R or save a lot of money and get the SEAT Leon Cupra 280?
Golf R vs SEAT Leon Cupra 1 photo
Photo: screenshot from Youtube
At a glance, the answer is quite obvious, since the Golf R has more power and all-wheel drive, but for the first time ever, the mighty R could be overshadowed by its close kin. On paper, the Golf is faster, claiming 0 to 100 km/h in 4.9 seconds with DSG, thanks to a combination of launch control and all-wheel drive. The SEAT is slower at 5.7 seconds because the front wheels alone can’t cope with the whole 280 hp.

But that only counts in a drag race at the lights. On the track, in the hands of Auto Express, the Leon actually set the faster lap because it was lighter and more responsive. Now another British publication has paired the hot hatches in an attempt to definitively solve the conundrum.

In Autocar’s hands, the Golf R is actually faster at first, which could either be down to the “bravery” and skill of the driver or the longer high-speed corners of Cadwell Park, where the Golf R’s 20 extra horsepower give it an advantage. However, once Steve Sutcliffe jumps into the Spanish car, he immediately realizes it has better brakes and a more planted front end, thanks to the limited slip differential. A victory for the cheaper, lighter car? Yes, but in the end it’s all a matter of personal taste.

You can’t get the same level of luxury in the SEAT and it almost looks too discrete for its own good. While the Golf R comes with massive 19-inch wheels and huge air vents on the front, the Leon’s body kit is almost like an afterthought. But don't think the Golf R comes standard with al the goodies – DSG, leather seats with electric adjustment, parking sensors and larger alloys are just some of the things you Volkswagen charges you extra for.

Video thumbnail
If you liked the article, please follow us:  Google News icon Google News Youtube Instagram X (Twitter)
About the author: Mihnea Radu
Mihnea Radu profile photo

Mihnea's favorite cars have already been built, the so-called modern classics from the '80s and '90s. He also loves local car culture from all over the world, so don't be surprised to see him getting excited about weird Japanese imports, low-rider VWs out of Germany, replicas from Russia or LS swaps down in Florida.
Full profile


Would you like AUTOEVOLUTION to send you notifications?

You will only receive our top stories