Seat Leon Cupra 280 de-crowned by the Renault Megane RenaultSport 275 Trophy-R at the ‘ring.
Only three months ago the Seat Leon Cupra 280 was cracking out the champagne for becoming the fastest front-wheel-drive production car around the Nürburgring. Now, Renault has taken back its crown with the Megane RenaultSport 275 Trophy-R.
The Megane hot-hatch lapped around the famous German circuit in an impressive 7 minutes and 54 seconds, according to Top Gear. That’s four seconds faster than the ex-record-breaking Leon Cupra 280 and 13.97 seconds faster than the former Renault Megane RS Trophy champion.
Much of the Trophy-R’s track prowess comes from a 2.0-litre turbo engine that develops 271bhp and 266lb/ft of torque and a diet of 100kg compared with the Megane RS. Michelin Pilot Sport Cup tyres, adjustable dampers and a titanium exhaust also play their part.
A victory is a victory, but there is quite a difference between the two cars. The Megane Trophy-R, for starters, has no rear seats, no air-conditioning, no sound insulation, lighter alloy wheels and lighter front seats. Even the rear wiper was removed to save a lowly kilogram. That’s dedication.
The Cupra 280 (named so because it develops 280PS/276bhp) and optional DSG gearbox, meanwhile, was only fitted with Seat’s optional Performance Pack for its record-breaking lap and costs from £28,525. That’s £8,000 less than the new record holder for an infinitely more practical machine.
We get the feeling the front-wheel drive Nürburgring battle between Renault and Seat will rage on a little while longer. Just how fast would the Leon Cupra 280 be if, for instance, Seat applied the same level of weight-saving? Rear seats are overrated, anyway.