CUPRA León e-Hybrid VZ CUP 2022 test drive, new finish to underline its identity

The CUPRA León range expands with the arrival of the VZ CUP finish. A new level that accentuates the sporty temperament of the compact Martorell, providing it with new wheels, seats and aesthetic details as well as improving the standard equipment.

In recent months, the CUPRA Leon It received a few new features in its range and I had the opportunity to get behind the wheel and check how the changes suited it. Concretely, I put the Leon e-Hybrid 245 CV under the magnifying glass, the most powerful plug-in hybrid variant in the range.

VZ CUP finish cosmetic touch-ups suit the Martorell compact well

On this occasion, the test unit has the new VZ CUP finish, launched this year and which expresses the sportier image of the Spanish compact. The CUPRA name comes from “CUP RAcing” and this “CUP” name is once again very present in this level of equipment which pays homage to competition models.

Available as a 5-door sedan and a Sportstourer station wagon, the VZ CUP finish seeks to underline the most dynamic qualities of the Leon with exclusive improvements from the aesthetic point of view. As in many facets of life, the small details make the difference.

The novelties show exclusive side skirts and housings for the exterior mirrors. The Leon also adds a carbon fiber rear spoiler, an element present only in the five-door sedan, which, in addition to aesthetics, improves airflow by reducing turbulence at the rear of the vehicle. Also with this finish. Matrix LED headlights and electric sunroof are standard..

Of this unique Leon VZ CUP, the equipment that I like the most in this new finish are the beautiful 19-inch Performance Sport Black&Copper alloy wheels. Featuring a multi-spoke design and a black and copper color scheme, these exclusive wheels fit like a glove and are sure to make a statement. The TSI versions are equipped with semi-slick Bridgestone Potenza Race tires, equipment that does not reach the PHEV.

In the PHEV the tailpipes are fake

The cabin is sophisticated and features slightly neater materials than its SEAT counterpart. No, the CUPRA León does not seek to compete directly in terms of quality with the traditional top-of-the-range models in the segment, but it does. create sufficient differentiation from the SEAT León without increasing manufacturing costs too much.

The heated sports steering wheel which houses satellite buttons both for starting the engine and for selecting the driving mode stands out. The equipment available exhibits digital instrumentation with a 10.25-inch screen, multimedia system with 10-inch screen and connectivity with Android Auto and Apple Carplay, keyless entry and start, wireless charging base for smartphones or three-zone climate control.

The big scoop of the VZ CUP finish for the interior are the spectacular CUP Bucket sports seats inherited nothing less than the blunt Formentor VZ5 390 hp, the most radical model in the CUPRA range. They are beautiful, comfortable, very enveloping and also sit in a slightly lower position than the normal seats to offer a sportier ride.

CUP bucket seats are fantastic and heated

They are pretty in front and pretty behind since on the back they have a carbon fiber coating. The available upholstery offers leather in Black or Petrol Blue, colors also reproduced on the dashboard accompanied by Copper stitching.

The Leon has always stood out for being a versatile model and under the signature CUPRA it maintains this quality by offering enough space for four passengers and enough for five. Too bad that in the plug-in hybrid version the trunk remains in only 270 liters, a volume that reduces practicality. Anyone who needs a PHEV with more versatility of use should look at the Sportstourer bodyshell I tested as it expands capacity to 470 liters.

Driving the CUPRA León plug-in hybrid

VZ CUP trim level can be linked to gasoline engines 2.0 TSI 300 HP (5p y Sportstourer) y 2.0 TSI 310 CV DSG 4Drive (Sportstourer only) and plug-in hybrid 1.4 TSI e-Hybrid 245 HP (5p and Sportstourer). As I already mentioned, the version with the Zero environmental label and the family body passed through my hands, which is perhaps the most rational and versatile.

With the most powerful plug-in hybrid system in the León range, the 245 hp and the Sportstourer body, it is a very suggestive combination. Mixing two seemingly opposite worlds: on the one hand, they ensure the high performance expected of a sports car and, on the other hand, they allow, if desired, to drive without spending a single drop of fuel.

The CUPRA León e-Hybrid intentionally plays at being Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. When he assumes this second role, Martorell’s model is represented by an efficient and ecological compact for everyday use, very docile and with a Zero environmental label to find no limits in the center of large cities.

The satellite button on the steering wheel with the CUPRA logo changes the driving modes

The Spanish compact’s PHEV system combines a 150 hp 1.4 TSI four-cylinder petrol engine, an 85 kW (116 hp) electric motor, a six-speed dual-clutch DSG automatic transmission and a 10.8 kWh lithium-ion battery net capacity (12.8 kWh gross).

With this scheme, between 57 and 59 km of 100% electric autonomy are achieved, depending on the WLTP certification depending on the equipment mounted, although in practice we will be about 50 km in real conditions. When the battery is completely discharged, the fuel consumption is approximately 6 l/100 km on varied routes.

Electric management allows the driver to decide whether to always travel in 100% electric mode or in hybrid mode so that the vehicle itself automatically determines whether to use the electric motor, the internal combustion engine or both. at the same time depending on the circumstances. Also offers the possibility of maintaining a certain level of battery charge or even recover the battery using the gasoline engine.

The management of the electrical system is carried out in a simple way from the infotainment system

The on-board charger supports a maximum charging in AC 3.7 kW, a power that can be somewhat scarce compared to other plug-in hybrids that reach 7.4 kW. In this way, for a full charge (0-100%) it will be necessary to allocate more than 3h30 in total.

Safety equipment is very abundant and has seven airbags (including a central airbag), adaptive cruise control, Front Assist with pedestrian recognition, involuntary lane departure assistant, blind spot detector, rear traffic alert, traffic jam assistant, recognition system traffic signs,… nothing is missing.

Thanks to Comfort, Sport, Cupra and Individual drive modesWhen he puts on Dr. Jekyll’s robe, the CUPRA Leon PHEV transforms. It is then that the high performance resulting from the simultaneous operation of the electric motor and the heat engine that they are developing together is revealed. 245hp.

With its latest update, the Leon e-Hybrid is 25 mm closer to the ground

Thanks to the electrification, the response is immediate and the delivery of torque instantaneous, which translates into intense acceleration which allows the stopwatch to be stopped at 7.0 seconds when going from 0 to 100 km/h. It must be recognized that the 300hp CUPRA León 2.0 TSI runs more but isn’t as explosive or linear.

Another substantial novelty that hosts the VZ Cup is the incorporation of series from the brembo brakes, which improve stopping ability and increase resistance to fatigue. The Italian specialist’s calipers are four-piston and are associated with larger ventilated and perforated discs (370 x 32 mm) than the standard ones (340 x 30 mm).

Regarding the timing of its launch, the CUPRA León e-Hybrid has received an interesting rework in its chassis by having a new suspension setting that reduces ground clearance by 25 millimeters. This is not a trivial change because thanks to it the aerodynamics improve, the center of gravity is lower and the balance in the curves increases. The compact is noble and always shows predictable reactions, even at high tempos.

The set is very compelling and inspiring. Sports vehicles are usually luxury cars, but this CUPRA León e-Hybrid can justify itself as a smart purchase. In addition, the VZ CUP finish adds a touch of exclusivity that suits you and makes this compact even more special. This combination is available from €52,710although the CUPRA León e-Hybrid 245 VZ CUP with Sportstourer bodywork increases this price by an additional 1,000 euros.

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