For the Autobahn and for the mud

SEAT is currently testing the sportiest version of the Leon model range in northern Scandinavia – the upcoming new Leon Cupra. The new Cupra is scheduled for release in August this year and will make its first public appearance at September’s Paris Motor Show. These photos are showing for the first time a prototype with thin disguising only, revealing a quite aggressive styling package.

This prototype has very large air intakes in the front skirt, covered with a mesh grille, and a big exhaust pipe placed on the left side of the rear skirt (there have been photographs of other prototypes with a centre-mounted pipe and different air intakes and outlets on front and rear, but we gather these pictures shown a design package rather than the real Cupra). Inside the new Cupra is offering very sporty design like the Golf GTI, from which the Cupra will borrow its engine: VW’s 2.0-litre FSI Turbo four-cylinder motor, said to deliver 220 bhp in the Cupra.

Besides the Cupra, the Spanish and German engineers working up in Lapland at present are also testing a first prototype of what’s to become Seat’s counterpart to the new VW Marakesh – a Seat Leon “Allroad”, so to speak. While the test mule photographed differs from standard Leons only in ride height and ground clearance (and, of course, the invisible all-wheel drive system), typical SUV-accessories will be fitted to the real machine, namely greyish painted sills and front and rear skirts as well as a sump guard. We expect the new Seat Leon SUV to go on sale in about twelve months’ time and we reckon to be able to choose amongst all engines offered for standard Leons, too.

Gallery: Seat Leon Cupra and Leon SUV Spy Photos