2015 BMW i8stars
Capable of full electric drive, the BMW i8's concept car looks and carbon fiber body hide...
2014 Infiniti Q50 Hybridstars
Infiniti's new premium hybrid model uses innovative drive-by-wire tech in its steering...
2014 Mercedes-Benz S550stars
The 2014 S550 is an automotive tech juggernaut, featuring every latest advance Mercedes-Benz...
2014 Audi RS 7 Quattrostars
Startlingly fast, quite comfortable, and extremely high-tech, cars don't come much more...
The inclement British weather usually inspires caution in drivers, especially when you're forced to share the road with half-melted snow and pedestrians avoiding icy pavements. So it's slightly disconcerting that Seat's premier hot hatchback -- the Leon Cupra TSI -- is bringing out the Michael Schumacher in us, even when we're surrounded by a good foot of snow.
Fire and ice
There are a couple of reasons for this unseasonal recklessness. Firstly, the Cupra TSI is phenomenally quick -- its 2.0-litre, 231bhp turbocharged engine is capable of propelling the thing from 0-62mph in 6.4 seconds and on to a quite alarming 153mph. It always feels eager in everyday conditions, too, its 221lb/ft of torque -- available from as low as 2,200rpm -- inspiring overtaking manoeuvres that would be suicidal in slower vehicles.
The second 'problem' is that it handles with such aplomb that thoughts of ploughing into a tree will be the furthest thing from your mind. This came as a surprise to us, since hot hatches -- and indeed any powerful front-wheel-drive vehicle -- are usually frustrating to drive under heavy acceleration. Torque steer -- the phenomenon where the power of the engine pulls the car off course -- is kept to a minimum in the Cupra TSI, though. The ride is flat and firm, yet comfortable, and the brakes -- aided by huge 345mm discs -- are arguably more impressive than the acceleration.
Orange skin, lemon within
We're not fully convinced by the car's looks. The exterior is very attractive, and like it or loathe it, the Lumina Orange paintwork certainly attracts attention. But the interior is so bland, it almost beggars belief. The plastic dashboard has a cheap feel about it and really does its best to convince you you're driving something exceptionally dull.