It’s official. The Seat Leon Cupra 280 is now the fastest ever front-wheel-drive production car to lap Germany’s famed Nurburgring.
Announcing a time of 7:58.44, Seat has broken a three-year-old lap record set by the 195kW/360Nm Renault Megane RS265 Trophy back in 2011.
The car maker says it achieved the feat using a 206kW/350Nm turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder-powered Leon Cupra 280 equipped with a six-speed dual-clutch DSG automatic transmission – despite footage clearly showing a manual gearbox.
An optional Performance Pack comprising high-performance Brembo brakes, specially designed 19-inch alloy wheels and Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tyres further helped the Volkswagen-owned Spanish brand’s hot-hatch becomes the first front-wheel-drive production model to record a sub-eight-minute lap around the 20.8km circuit.
Almost 10 seconds faster than 8:07:97 record time set by the Megane RS265, the time also puts the Seat ahead of the rear-drive Alfa Romeo 4C, Porsche Cayman and Aston Martin V8 Vantage – if you believe the rankings.
Shown – in part – in a video released on Seat’s official YouTube channel, the time could rattle the Japanese the most, with Honda making no secret of its goal to take the crown of fastest front-wheeler around the ‘Ring with its new Civic Type-R, due in 2015.
Weighing 1300kg and coming standard with a limited-slip front differential, dynamic chassis control, progressive steering and a three-mode Cupra Drive Profile system, Seat says over its record breaking lap, the Leon Cupra 280 averaged 154.5km/h with Spanish European Touring Car Championship (ETCC) and World Touring Car Championship (WTCC) driver Jordi Gene behind the wheel.