New 2021 Cupra Leon to get plug-in hybrid power

The hot Cupra Leon will follow the standard SEAT Leon into showrooms, with more than 242bhp planned

The forthcoming Cupra Leon will be offered as a plug-in hybrid, and will be just one of six electrified SEATs to arrive in dealers by the start of 2021.

The Spanish manufacturer’s performance sub-brand had been expected to offer the fastest Leon available under its own badge after the new generation of the car goes on sale next summer.

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However, SEAT confirmed at its annual press conference that while a plug-in hybrid version of the regular Leon will be introduced, in both five-door and estate body styles, the Cupra editions of these models will also be electrified.

“In 2020, the new generation of Leon will come to market in five-door and ST [estate] versions,” said SEAT CEO Luca de Meo.

“It will feature a plug-in hybrid powertrain that will produce up to 245bhp and less than 50g/km of CO2 emissions.

“Just before the end of 2020 the Cupra Leon and Cupra Leon ST, both with plug-in hybrid versions, will arrive.”

Auto Express understands that the power output given by de Meo is, in fact, the specification of the Cupra Leon, not the conventional SEAT Leon PHEV. The figure of 245PS, or 242bhp, matches the powertrain in the Cupra Formentor coupe-SUV concept (below) displayed at last month’s Geneva Motor Show. That model was also named as one of the forthcoming electrified SEATs, although it will be offered with conventional combustion-engined power, too.

Speaking exclusively to Auto Express, Cupra boss Wayne Griffiths confirmed that the Leon will get the same powerplant as the Formentor, with 242bhp, but he suggested that Cupra may want to push power outputs higher than this figure.

“We have to look as well at performance hybrids,” Griffiths added. “At the moment, the combined performance is good but we could do even more. There’s a lot of stuff we could look at – electric rear-axle drive, for example.”

Griffiths explained that discussions are “ongoing” about an all-electric Cupra model based on the VW Group’s MEB architecture.

“It would have to fit with Cupra values,” he said, “but in terms of acceleration at least, all-electric vehicles are already there.”

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