If you own a Mk3 Cupra then you know it’s a real drivers car, and we bet you love the way it drives. Many of our customers come to us praising their Cupra but are looking to take it that step further. With that being said people new to the world of modifying don’t always know where to start so we thought we’d put together a handy guide to help you decide what mods are the best for you and where you should spend your hard-earned cash depending on what results you are looking for.
These are the first mods that we would recommend for your MK3 Seat Leon Cupra.
*Due to the release of the new GPF and the variants of the Cupra that have been released during its MK3 version it’s always worth double-checking that the product will fit your specific vehicle – if you have any queries or concerns then just give us a call.
1. Air Filter
An air filter might not be the first thing that comes to your mind when considering car modifications, many people think it’s just a cheap gimmick, but it plays a crucial role in keeping your car engine healthy. In order to perform at it’s best, an engine needs a constant supply of decent air. The air filter prevents the dirt, dust, and other debris from entering into your engine and harming it.
Your Cupra will come with a standard air filter which is pretty restrictive when the car is pushed hard. If you’re looking to improve the performance of your Cupra during your ownership then you should get a good foundation and invest in a performance filter.
We recommend that you invest in a VAGSport High Flow Performance Panel, it which comes with a triple layer of foam for protection, while allowing your engine to breath better. Some users have also reported better throttle response from a high flow filter but that shouldn’t be your reason for buying, it’s simply an enabler to further mods without risking engine health.
This is also a nice way for new car modders to dip their toe in the modification side of car ownership.
2. Cold Air Intake System
An engine needs two main things to perform; fuel and oxygen. The reason a driver would increase the volume of air or decrease the temperature is because colder air is more densly packed with O2 oxygen, it is the oxygen we mix with the fuel to make the explosions. The more oxygen and fuel the bigger the bang and the more power) , if you increase the quality of fuel in your car then you’ll get better performance, likewise, if you add better air (either more or colder) then you’ll get better performance too. Plus if you get a decent intake you’ll get to enjoy a better sound improving that driving experience even further.
Going for a decent intake can improve your car in several ways;
- Increased Acceleration: When a greater amount of cold air is supplied to the engine, then your car can get up to speed quicker.
- Throttle response: with the intake now de-restrictred as soon as you put your foot down the turbo can flow air in more quickly meaning the car will respond to your request for power faster. This gives a feeling of more power but is actually just giving a more engaging drive.
- More Horsepower: The purpose of the cold intake is two fold;
1) To funnel cold air from outside of the vehicle , ideally from the front so that as the vehicle mose forward the air is driven into the intake ducts. And through to the intake.
2) To shield the incoming air from the heat of the engine bay as this would increase the intake temperatures. Conductive cold air can burn more fuel efficiently when compared with the warm air. So, if you are looking for increased horsepower then this can really make a difference.
When it comes to buying an air intake for your car, always make it’s made by a reputable brand as you need to ensure the quality of it. Here at Progressive Parts, we recommend the Racingline R600 Air Intake made specifically for the MQB platform. The R600 has gained a cult following for it’s incredible price to performance ratio. This intake is rated up to 600hp so if you’re looking to take your Cupra up to serious power you know this intake will not let you down.
If you’re an engine bay snob too then you’ll appreciate the way it looks under the bonnet too, designed by Racingline Performance (Volkswagon Racing) it has the quality and appearance of an OEM part. Almost as though VW themselves had created it as a special edition model.
The R600 is simple to install and until we release our own video you can check out this one which details how to install and gives you some audio of how it sounds under load.
There are other intakes available so if you’re considering your options let us know and we can point you in the right direction and also point out the pros and cons of different designs.
3. Resonator Delete Pipe Kit
The resonator delete kit mainly replaces the standard resonator in the exhaust system. The resonator in the exhaust numbs the sound of the exhaust by filtering the flow of gasses out of the engine. The resonator delete kit is a simple switch of the existing pipe with a new one that has been fabricated without the resonator.
Fitting a res delete will allow your car to perform better by making it easier to exhaust fumes but it’ll also make it sound much better too. This is another very low-cost mod, you can purchase a VAGSport Resonator Delete Kit for under £150 and you can install it yourself or have installed by an expert – we’re certainly happy to install it here at Progressive Parts.
Some benefits of the VAGSport Seat Leon Cupra 290 Resonator Delete Pipe Kit are:
- It’s is one single piece tube that is made with high-grade stainless steel. The pipe also comes with CNC mandrel bent for the precise fit of your car, it’s a simple swap out – swap in mod.
- It’s completely reversible, the kit is designed in such a way that if you decide to return the car to stock then also you don’t need to buy anything additional, just put your old piece back on.
We’ve highlighted about the sound of the Res delete kit you can check out a couple of videos below
Progressive Parts supply and can install a res delete kit to almost any MQB car
4. Lowering Springs
Another hugely underrated car mod is a lowering spring set. Lowering springs do what they say on the tin, they lower the stance of the car. This has many benefits;
- Lowered centre of gravity and improved grip
- Less body roll, because the springs will be stiffer the car will be more nimble in the corner and you won’t suffer body roll under aggressive turning.
- Stance – reducing the arch gap and making the car look more aggressive.
The handing on the Cupra is great and regarded as much more engaging than it’s other EA888 counterparts due to its FWD set up. If you want to make the handling even better then consider replacing standard spring with stiffer and shorter spring just like Racingline Sport Lowering Spring Set.
The Racingline Sport Lowering Spring Kit is designed to work with the Cupra’s standard dampers. So, you get better handling and more comfort when you make the switch plus it’s a pretty inexpensive modification that’ll make the car feel better when you’re behind the wheel.
- Racingline Sport Lowering Spring Set - SEAT Leon Mk3 £216.00 inc. VAT
- Eibach Pro-Kit Lowering Spring Kit Leon Cupra - E10-15-021-05-22 £219.00 inc. VAT
Eibach Sportline Lowering Spring Kit Audi A3 8V/Leon Cupra Mk3 - E20-15-021-02-22
£252.25inc. VAT inc. VAT
We’ve saved the best and most bang-per-buck mod until last. Unless you’ve lived under a rock for the last 10 years you’ll know what a remap is. If by some chance you have just come out from under a rock, bought a cupra and decided you want to improve the performance then a remap is a great option.
Vehicle remapping is a procedure to edit the software installed on the ECU of a car, it controls the way that the engine works. In many cars these days cars are detuned to meet emissions standards or to ensure different car variants within a car brand range. Putting a remap on the ECU edits the parameters and instructions given to the vehicle to release more power (both bhp & torque).
A few reasons as to why you should consider remapping your vehicle;
- After remapping, you can easily notice the difference on the accelerator; you’ll get significantly more power and torque.
- Power delivery will be much smoother, meaning you won’t get a load of torque immediately and then it drops off a cliff.
- After remapping your car, many users will experience up to 20% better fuel economy if you keep a similar driving style to before the remap. If you stay sensible you’ll save money on fuel.
Progressive Parts are an authorized Revo dealer and we’re approved to supply and install Revo hardware and software.
We can supply a stage 1 Revo remap to your Cupra releasing up to 80ps and 90lbft torque. Taking your Cupra up to 370ps and 368lbft.
Power graph courtesy of Revo, please note; power is measured at the hub on this graph.
You can check out some videos of stage 1 Cupra here;
Check out our latest Cupra Revo Stage 1 Remap →
5.2 Tuning Box
Tuning boxes have come on a lot in the last few years and some are now yielding similar figures to having a remap. However, when you use a tuning box you are tricking the vehicle into producing power by falsifying the information from sensors in order to extract more power. Now potentially this is not a problem if:
- You have a perfectly maintained young engine.
- You engine does not develop a fault
- You only want a marginal increase in power and torque
If your vehicle satifies all of these criteria then you should be Ok, however bear in mind, engines develop faults – FACT! Even new vehicles fault occasionally, and if you are tricking sensors into giving false information then this can potentially be a recipe for disaster.
The biggest benefit of a tuning box is that it can be easily removed seemingly without a trace which makes it very attractive to customers who’s vehicles are still under manufacturer warranty.
In our opinion a tuning box is a great idea and has its place. We would recommend not using one to push for figures, and instead if you are going to use one for a vehicle under warranty, then use it as a stepping stone for a marginal increase in power only until you are ready to upgrade to quality remap from a reputable brand.
£453.02 inc. VAT inc. VAT
*Power figures quote can be dependant on a number of factors including JB4 map settings, fuel quality, engine history & health, extra performance hardware added and ambient atmospheric conditions the vehicle is operating under.
6 Lower Torque Mount
The Mk3 Cupras have a fantastic chassis which is what makes them such an engaging drive and able to handle hugely increased power levels. However you cannot defy physics. Owners that have enjoyed hard acceleration will have experienced something called “wheel hop”.
If a Cupra owner tries to get 350+ Nm of torque down to the road the engine will try and move in the opposite direction with an equal amount of torque. The lower engine mount is in place to limit this movement however because Seat built the car to have mass appeal it is a lot more comfortable rather than fast road/track and therefor less equipped when stock to deal with this issue.
If you’re looking to improve “wheel hop” and you’re willing to sacrifice some driving comfort then a lower torque mount would be a must have mod for you.
Fortunately there are several solutions to this:
- Full double mount replacements, these work well but can be harsh and can be expensive to fit as some require the subframe to be removed and to be pressed into place.
- Hybrid mounts – such as that from Powerflex (link) replace the lower section mount and fill the voids in the top mount to firm it up, for some this is the ideal compromise.
- Aluminium inserts – such as the 034Motorsport lower insert are a quick fix and work well but can be a little harsh being solid billet aluminium. However they are quickly and easily fitted.
- Poly urethane double insert – hands down the most popular option this kit is available from Powerflex, they are the cheapest option and are fitted in minutes by simply removing the lower bolt, sliding it into place and re-fitting the bolt. Many customers fit these themselves, the inserts are designed to fill the hollow voids in the OEM mount firming it up. The poly urethane is softer than the solid aluminium while still retaining the OEM rubber part of the bush which dampens down a little of the vibration.
Implementing one of these methods should significantly help with “wheel hop”
Just be clear about the purpose of a lower torque mount, they are made to firm up the mount and because of that do make it a harsher ride. Only do this if you are sure you would be comfortable with a harsher ride as it will certainly feel firmer and you wil likely experience some vibration.
- Powerflex Lower Hybrid Dogbone Mount Kit - PFF85-831/PFF85-833 £55.74 inc. VAT
- Powerflex Lower Dogbone Mount Insert Kit MQB Vehicles - PFF85-830/PFF85-832 £35.94 inc. VAT
- 034Motorsport Billet Aluminum MQB Dogbone Mount Insert, MkVII Volkswagen Golf/GTI/R, 8V Audi A3/S3/RS3 & MkIII Audi TT/TTS/TTRS £50.12 inc. VAT
Full Mount Sets (and individual Components)
As always if you are unsure then give us a call for a free consultation on your vehicle and we can provide recommendations based on the results you are looking for (0161 459 0355).
These are the first five mods that we would make to a Cupra. There are of course many more modifications that can be made depending on your dreams and goals for the car. We hoped you enjoyed the article, please don’t hesitate to contact us with any questions about it’s content.