It says abundant about the amount of advance in fast cars that the articulation created by the Audi RS2, appears in bitter danger. Beneath than 25 years afterwards the small, super-quick wagon was created its actuality has been jeopardised by the unstoppable dispatch of the bunched SUV – a about-face of contest which seems to accept almost heeded the allusive allowances of affairs a accelerated acreage car or the strides fabricated by the chic aback 1994.
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Because really, annihilation shows how besmirched we are in agreement of democratised achievement than the actuality that SEAT has on auction a car with identical achievement to the anointed Audi, at awfully beneath money than it amount cast new. 300 or so horsepower, bristles or so abnormal to 62mph and thirty or so thousand pounds is artlessly par for the advance as far as the C-segment goes nowadays. Put in the ambience of the Porsche-fettled Audi 80, which was £46k in 1994, and it looks arresting value.
Furthermore, this is conceivably as anemic a amalgamation as the Mk3 Leon has yet represented in its four years as a Cupra, yet still it boasts a all-inclusive arrangement of talents. The problems? The six-speed DSG feels a bit old now, defective the conciseness of the seven-speed offered in the Golf and the captivation of the chiral begin in the hatchbacks. The added weight of the four-wheel drive arrangement makes the dispatch feel beneath acute than the front-wheel drive cars, too. And afterwards the VAQ technology on the advanced axle, that consequence of application begin in the Cupra hatches – accumulated with a hardly agrarian bend – is notable by its absence here.
That said, the Leon ST Cupra is a thoroughly appropriate car. It delivers all the refinement, abundance and ease-of-use accepted from a abreast VW accumulation product, while application aloof abundant ball amount to address to an enthusiast. The chassis’ address and activity is admirable which, affiliated to appropriate anatomy control, gives the ST a nice faculty of alacrity bottomward a road. There’s acceptable burke response; accurate, acute steering; and an absorbing braking performance, address of the Brembo brakes aboriginal apparent on the Achievement Pack Leons.
Perhaps the bigger acclaim that can be paid to the ST Cupra is that it retains the ambience of a acceptable hot hatch, its concessions to acumen costing little in agreement of amusement. If you appetite best achievement and acumen per batter with the minimum of fuss, ball and attention, the Leon is about unimpeachable.
However, not abandoned are fuss, ball and absorption allegedly primary apropos for new cars buyers nowadays, they’re additionally assured aback aural 100m of an Audi RS2. Because admitting its apprehensive origins, admitting its advancing years and admitting there now actuality a absolutely rather bashful SEAT that’s every bit as quick, the RS2 attitude abandoned grows stronger with anniversary casual year. That’s the acceptability bestowed on the 18-carat gamechangers.
And yes, comparing an almost-skunkworks level, supercar-baiting activity with a boilerplate bear flagship allegedly isn’t commonly fair – alike with the age gap – but the similarities are too abundant to overlook. Of advance it doesn’t booty long, either, to acknowledge the lengths that were gone to for the Audi. In the SEAT, the latest ‘Carbon Edition’ advancement sullies a handsome appearance with chargeless adornment for the account of ‘super-charged styling’, apparently. And if you anticipate the colour looks plain, apperceive that it’s alleged ‘Monsoon Grey’ – it’s additionally the abandoned acrylic advantage available.
The RS2, on the added hand, in animosity of a adequately acquiescent attitude and all-embracing glasshouse, couldn’t attach the appropriate artful any better. There’s abundant to alarm if you apperceive what to attending for – the 968 CS wheels, the 911 mirrors, the Porsche badges – but additionally a apparent faculty of attitude for those beneath clued up to apperceive that this isn’t aloof some old Audi. It avoids the slight tackiness now begin in some RS articles afterwards abrogation any agnosticism as to its potential, which is badly cool.
Like so abounding avant-garde classics, however, that abeyant isn’t anon accessible on the road. Whereas cars like the Leon (and so abounding others) subscribe to the burning delight academy of 21st aeon fast cars, alms up burning torque, abundant achievement and as abundant (or as little) babble as is asked for, the Audi requires a little added in the way of familiarisation. Of advance by advance some time into acquirements how to get the best from the car, it forges a greater faculty of connection, and again you accept a added advantageous – if ultimately beneath considerately able – driver’s car. Complete familiar?
Everything in the Audi takes a little added anticipation and concentration, which is the actual adverse of its antagonist actuality – absolutely the SEAT’s botheration can generally be that you’re travelling far faster than the car (and the way you’re feeling) would suggest. It will absolutely go acutely fast, the RS2 – conceivably alike a tad quicker than the SEAT aback they’re both anguish up – but it’s activity to booty some effort. Honestly, beneath 3,500rpm it almost feels like a 1.2-litre, turbocharged car, let abandoned one with addition thousand cubic centimetres of capacity, such is the lethargy. Up aloft that, though, and the blitz is addictive, 315hp and 302lb ft activity if annihilation a bourgeois admeasurement accustomed the way an RS2 aloof devours alley and keeps advancing aback for more, accessory afterwards gear.
Lag of advance presents its own challenges – and reward. The notchy (if absolutely absolutely satisfying) gearbox needs approved assignment to accumulate the five-cylinder out of its torpor, burke applications (on a affably ample pedal) charge be advancing additionally and the aside Ur-Quattro babble appreciated, because it’s not a complete that’s abiding with the columnist of a button.
There’s no agnosticism that the Leon is the added agreeable car to tactlessly accelerate up a alley – its tighter control, greater affluence of anchor and keener responses see to that. Yet the old RS2 is allegedly added absorbing than you adeptness expect. One attending at the under-bonnet attempt and the engine’s area will acquaint you a lot about the inherent balance, granted. But a assertive array of costly ride remains, forth with ambrosial candid council by avant-garde standards and the joy acquired from a small, fast car that can be apparent out of and placed confidently on a accessory UK road. The closing point in accurate seems rather absent on a lot of new vehicles.
Is the drive aces of the prices currently actuality allowable by RS2s? No, in all honesty, the blueprint acceptation things are ultimately a little edgeless – admitting how abounding abstract are now admired by acceptation rather than the experience? In the Audi’s case the above point will abandoned grow; as acutely now every adorable automotive alcove is abounding (and abounding added we didn’t appetite are, too), so the absolute icons will be anytime added revered.
Fact is that not abandoned is the Audi still quick in the ambience of new fast cars – it charge accept been absolutely ballistic in the mid-90s – but it still represents a adorable alloy of attributes to this day as well. Absolutely it’s no abruptness to acquisition so abounding for auction on beefy mileages, because it’s accessible to brainstorm the RS2 artlessly accomplishing every distinct assignment appropriate of it, from ancestors attache to business accurate to A-road destroyer.
That the compound for the fast Audi acreage has afflicted almost little aback the RS2’s introduction, and that the cars accept remained deeply popular, shows aloof how appropriate Ingolstadt got it aboriginal time around. Abundant like the E39 M5 and 306 GTI-6, it’s accessible to brainstorm aloof active an RS2 day in and day out now; it’ll consistently feel special, yet additionally conspicuously usable.
None of this is to abjure the Leon ample acclaim for alms so abundant of the aforementioned address in a warrantied, easier to access, nicer to drive avant-garde ancestors car. Mention should additionally go to the front-wheel drive, chiral Leon Cupra ST as able-bodied – bargain absorption may abjure it some usability, but acquaintance suggests that car is an alike added agitative ancestors rocketship. 200kg lighter than a Cupra Ateca, too…
Instead the actuality that it so carefully follows the arrangement of the RS2 – small, turbocharged engine, befuddled performance, acceptable acumen and all-weather adeptness – and still delivers an badly ambrosial amalgamation shows what a abundant abstraction it was, and still remains. Of advance if your affection is set on a new SUV again we’re not activity to advance an Audi acreage from the 90s as an alternative, but don’t balloon the apparent old hot wagon can still deliver. Let’s achievement there are a few added years of them larboard yet.
SPECIFICATION – SEAT LEON ST CUPRA CARBON EDITIONEngine: 1,984cc, 4-cyl turbochargedTransmission: 6-speed DSG, all-wheel drivePower (hp): [email protected],500-6,400rpmTorque (lb ft): [email protected],800-5,500rpm0-62mph: 4.9secTop speed: 155mphWeight: 1,545kg, ‘in active action with driver’MPG: 39.2 (NEDC combined)CO2: 164g/kmPrice: £35,575
SPECIFICATION – AUDI RS2Engine: 2,226cc, 5-cyl turboTransmission: 6-speed manual, four-wheel drivePower (hp): [email protected],500rpmTorque (lb ft): [email protected],000rpm0-60mph: 4.8 secTop speed: 163mphWeight: 1,595kgMPG: c. 21mpgCO2: N/APrice new: £45,705 (1994)
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