If some random publication told you this was the case, you wouldn't believe it. But we have an actual statement from SEAT chief executive Luca de Meo: "In 2020, the new generation of Leon will come to market in five-door and ST [estate] versions. It will feature a plug-in hybrid powertrain that will produce up to 245 PS and less than 50g/km of CO2 emissions. Just before the end of 2020 the Cupra Leon and Cupra Leon ST, both with plug-in hybrid versions, will arrive."
There's literally nothing ambiguous about that, and it explains why this test prototype looks tamer than the current Cupra, with slightly smaller double oval exhaust pipes. Of course, you don't need big tips when your hot hatch is only supposed to emit 50 grams of CO2.
245 HP might not sound all that bad, but fans aren't going to like it. The most likely powertrain here is a 1.5 TSI with 150 HP, helped by an electric motor producing between 100 and 136 HP. Together, they will have to push about 1.6 tons of hatchback so the 0 to 100 km/h time will be around 7 seconds.
SEAT's hand is literally being forced by the European Union emissions targets. Every company must lower its CO2 levels or risk serious penalties. The same 245 HP setup will probably be used by a Cupra SUV, the next Golf GTE, and at least one Skoda RS model.
We can't rule out the 2.0 TSI either, as there don't appear to be any charging ports on the hot Leon. So for now, the only certainties are the revised bumpers, bigger Brembo brakes and 19-inch wheels in those spyshots.