Seat's potent hatch looks the part and has as many toys as you’re ever likely to need

What is it?

Either a road-going homage to Seat’s one-make Leon Supercopa race series or a chance to use up some of current Leon’s parts before an all-new model is introduced later this year.

In truth, it’s somewhere in the middle. The Supercopa is a special edition of the Leon FR+, available with either the 208bhp 2.0 TSI petrol or 168bhp 2.0 TDI diesel engine, the latter of which is tested here. Six-speed manual and DSG gearboxes are offered with both engines.

Being a run-out special edition, the equipment list for the Supercopa is extensive. It includes a Seat Sport bodykit, some meaty looking 18in BBS alloys, and a twin chrome tip exhaust system to differentiate it on the outside, and a touchscreen sat-nav and DAB radio for the inside.

Throw in some rear parking sensors and adaptive front bi-xenon headlights and you’ve an impressive equipment list. All that extra kit will cost you just £300 more than a standard FR+; so £22,530 for the 2.0 TDI model.

What’s it like?

We drove the 2.0 TDI FR+ last year, and unsurprisingly it’s more of the same with the Supercopa. The 18in BBS alloys are the same size as the factory 18s that were fitted before, and they don’t alter the ride quality. It’s as firm as we’ve come to expect from the Leon, but never uncomfortable given its sporting brief.

The engine has plenty of low-end grunt thanks to the peak torque of 258lb ft being available between 1750-2500rpm. A 0-62mph time of 8.2sec is decent, even more so in the context of its 55.4mpg economy.

We were yet to sample an FR+ with a six-speed manual before this test of the Supercopa. As smooth as the DSG is, the manual is more suited to this car’s sporting undertones and has the rare benefit of being more economical than the twin clutch option. On our 300-mile test route, we averaged more than 50mpg.

Should I buy one?

If you plan to buy one and sell it a year later when the new Leon comes out then no, the depreciation will be huge.

But should you like the idea of a potent hatch that looks the part and has as many toys as you’re ever likely to need, one which is likely to be reliable and economical over several years of ownership then this Leon is still a car to recommend even after accounting for its imminent replacement.

Seat Leon 2.0TDI FR+ Supercopa

Price: £22,530; Top speed: 133mph; 0-62mph: 8.2sec; Economy: 55.4mpg; CO2: 134g/km; Kerb weight: 1395kg; Engine type, cc: 4 cyls, 1968cc, turbodiesel; Power: 168bhp at 4200rpm; Torque: 258lb ft at 1750-2500rpm; Gearbox: 6-spd manual

Mark Tisshaw

Title: Editor

Mark is a journalist with more than a decade of top-level experience in the automotive industry. He first joined Autocar in 2009, having previously worked in local newspapers. He has held several roles at Autocar, including news editor, deputy editor, digital editor and his current position of editor, one he has held since 2017.

From this position he oversees all of Autocar’s content across the print magazine, website, social media, video, and podcast channels, as well as our recent launch, Autocar Business. Mark regularly interviews the very top global executives in the automotive industry, telling their stories and holding them to account, meeting them at shows and events around the world.

Mark is a Car of the Year juror, a prestigious annual award that Autocar is one of the main sponsors of. He has made media appearances on the likes of the BBC, and contributed to titles including What Car?Move Electric and Pistonheads, and has written a column for The Sun.

Join the debate

Add a comment…
ludditerider 13 April 2012

Re: Seat Leon 2.0TDI FR+ Supercopa

I don't agree. "Just over 50 mpg" on an Autocar road test is extremely good, given the lead-footed driving style of most road testers. Probably means that a driver who gets low fifties to the gallon from a DSG-equipped Skoda Superb estate would get 60-plus from the Leon in everyday use.

Just goes to show that higher-powered diesels are not necessarily less ecomomical than the under-engined so-called "economy specials". I recently took an extended test drive in a Skoda Superb Greenline 1.6 TDI - to be fair, it felt less underpowered than the 1.6 TDCI Mondeo I'd also driven recently - but the fuel economy was a disappointing 43 mpg despite the fact that I was driving sensibly. In the end I bought a new BMW 520d, which so far is averaging 52 mpg.

The Leon is still a stunningly good--looking car - shame the intereior looks so low-rent.

toptidy 13 April 2012

Re: Seat Leon 2.0TDI FR+ Supercopa

6th.replicant wrote:
herish this car, sadly it's probably the last Latin-esque/fun SEAT we'll see before VW turns the brand into a range of bland Skoda-lites - the Ibiza's front-end has already been 'lemon-ised' - aimed at the fleet and rent-a-car markets.

It was already "lemon-ised" and aimed at the fleet market - the last Seat with flair was the previous Leon, this one is just an Altea that an elephant sat on!

Given the success of the first Leon VAG had to do some work to recreate the Golf GTi, so they made this Leon ugly and removed goodies like leather seats with electric adjustment and memory (that my 2000 Cupra had) from the Seat options list.

RIP Seat.

Will86 5 April 2012

Re: Seat Leon 2.0TDI FR+ Supercopa

edeath wrote:

Addy Go Fast wrote:
The 3 series is RWD.

Very true - 0-60 is a pretty useless measure when it comes to FWD high power diesels as they just can't get the power down like the 3 series can.

Sometimes Dad's 320d can struggle to get its' power down. Cold weather has a set of nearly new summer tyres on the edge of grip even on a dry road when you floor it in second. As for this Leon, it looks great but they really missed an opportunity with the facelift. I would have had one (a more tax friendly one mind) as a company car if it had a better interior.