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Seat has officially launched the Cupra sub-brand, announcing its arrival with hotted-up take on the Ateca.

As you’d expect of a fast, semi-compact Volkswagen Group product, power comes from a 221kW 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine. Cupra says special tuning has made it sound better than in some other iterations, while a new Otto Particulate Filter System helps it meet ever-tightening European emissions standards.

The 100km/h sprint takes just 5.4 seconds, and top speed is a not-inconsiderable 245km/h.

Power is put to all four wheels through a ‘newly developed’ seven-speed dual-clutch transmission, designed to shift faster and more smoothly than before. Whether it needed to be faster is up for debate, but extra low-speed smoothness can only be a good thing.

The all-wheel drive system, dubbed 4Drive, is said to actively shuffle power around based on the grip available. Cupra hasn’t been specific about the torque split in the car, but we’d suggest – given the way Volkswagen Group operates – 4Drive is a version of the 4Motion (Haldex-based) system in the Golf R.

Drivers can toggle through six drive modes: Normal, Sport, Individual, Snow, Off-Road and Cupra. Along with the engine note and transmission tune, the mode-selector adjusts the adaptive suspension and all-wheel drive system.

You’ll be able to tell the Cupra Ateca apart from more mundane Seat variants by looking at the aggressive new front bumper and grille, gloss black detailing around the body and a fresh rear diffuser – complete with quad pipes, no less.

Particularly keen buyers are able to spec a Performance Pack with Brembo brakes and a Carbon Fibre Pack, which adds the lightweight weave to the exterior and interior.

The car rides on 19-inch wheels, and all the Seat badges have been traded for copper-coloured Cupra ones. There will be six body colours on offer, including Blue, Red, Silver, Grey, Black and White.

Cupra has gone all-out with the Alcantara inside, trimming the seats, steering wheel and gear knob in the absorbent – and very fashionable – cloth. Brand logos have been applied liberally around the cabin, too, lest buyers forget what they’re driving.

Keyless entry/go, wireless phone charging, a mobile signal booster, a surround-view camera system and an 8.0-inch touchscreen are all standard equipment. Bucket seats will be offered as an option from mid-2019.

Unfortunately, the Ateca isn’t coming to Australia in any guise. Sorry – the closest thing we get is the Volkswagen Tiguan 162TSI, at least for now.

Leon TCR 

Along with its hot road-going SUV, Cupra launched the Leon TCR overnight. The wide-body hatch will compete in the 2018 Touring Car Racing (TCR) series in Europe, and gets an aggressive aerodynamics package, a stripped-back interior and all the requisite FIA safety equipment.

MORE: Everything Seat