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The little car that can

The Seat Leon Cupra 280 managed a lap only three seconds slower than a BMW M5 and two seconds slower than a Porsche Panamera Turbo. – AFP/Relaxnews pic, March 5, 2014.The Seat Leon Cupra 280 managed a lap only three seconds slower than a BMW M5 and two seconds slower than a Porsche Panamera Turbo. – AFP/Relaxnews pic, March 5, 2014.The Seat Leon Cupra 280 has broken the Nürburgring lap record for a production car with front-wheel drive.

The medium-sized family hatchback market is so saturated and competitive, with everything from the Volkswagen Golf to the Ford Focus as direct rivals, that it can be almost impossible to stand out.

However, during its Geneva Motor Show official press conference yesterday, the Spanish car company's president, Jürgen Stackmann, announced that its affordable five-door hot hatchback, has just become the first front-wheel drive car in history to conquer the world's most challenging and unforgiving race circuit in under eight minutes.

In fact, the Seat Leon Cupra 280 with a performance pack managed to lap the 20.8km circuit in just 7:58.4. And this performance pack amounts to nothing more than a double clutch paddle-shift gear box, better brakes, wheels and tyres, all of which are off-the-shelf optional extras.

Yet, it managed a lap only three seconds slower than a BMW M5 and two seconds slower than a Porsche Panamera Turbo, placing it in the 100 fastest production car lap times in history.

As Stackmann said: "Our ultimate expression of the successful Leon formula is the all new Leon Cupra. It is the fastest and the most powerful car we have ever built and yet is a comfortable family car. The Cupra is our new icon." – AFP/Relaxnews, March 5, 2014.

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