The technical details about the Seat Leon have been available for a little while now (we've reported on both the five-door and the three-door cars already), but it's good to see the thing in the metal and with live images. To refresh: the Leon will offer a full complement of diesel and direct-injection gasoline engines, both manual and DSG transmissions, and a whole host of technology from the VW corporate toy box.
Scroll down for a host of details in the Seat press release, and get a closer look at the real deal automobile in our gallery of live-from-Geneva images.
- Stunning design with striking proportions
- Wheelbase shortened by 35 mm compared to five-door Leon, for even greater agility
- Surprising practicality: rear headroom and boot space remain the same as those of five-door Leon
- Efficient and powerful TSI and TDI engines
- Amazingly high quality craftsmanship, inside and out
- Due to debut at the 2013 Geneva Motor Show
Martorell, February 2013. The Leon SC – Sports Coupé – is a striking three-door hatchback that is the perfect embodiment of the SEAT design language. Without compromising everyday usability, it becomes the most sporting model in the SEAT range, blending stunning looks with a functional interior – a compelling mix of excellent workmanship and premium materials, with plenty of room for all occupants. At 380 litres, even the luggage compartment is as generously proportioned as that of the five-door variant.
"The new Leon SC is the design icon of the model line-up. It conveys perfectly the core values of the SEAT brand – design and dynamics, technology and quality, all at a fair price," says James Muir, President of SEAT S.A.
"The story of the new Leon is very closely tied to the sheer fun of driving – without the driver having to sacrifice a high level of everyday usability. We have remained true to this successful principle for the Leon SC, too, and have refined it ever further in all key areas," he adds.
The new SEAT Leon SC is packed with technology, including state-of-the-art infotainment, intelligent driver assistance systems, systematic weight reduction measures, the latest generation of engines, and a chassis tuned to strike the perfect balance between comfortable day-to-day use and engaging driving dynamics.
All engines feature direct injection with turbocharging, and combine outstanding efficiency with exceptional refinement. The TSI and TDI units, ranging from 1.2- to 2.0-litre, cover a performance spectrum of 105 PS to 184 PS. Every one combines power with cost effectiveness, with the cleanest 1.6-litre TDI emitting less than 100 g/km CO2.
Just like the five-door Leon, the Leon SC is offered in S, SE and FR specifications in the UK.
"With its slightly shortened wheelbase, the Leon SC is the sportiest and most emotional member of the Leon family. It has the feel of a sports coupé, yet boasts an astonishing degree of functionality," says Dr. Matthias Rabe, Vice President of Research and Development at SEAT S.A.
"Through a great deal of fine tuning, we have been able to combine strong sporting character and precision handling with a considerable increase in comfort and convenience. The Leon SC is a further example of how SEAT uses the technologies of the Volkswagen Group to develop cars that are uniquely SEAT," he concludes.
The design: a powerful look
With its perfectly balanced proportions, the new SEAT Leon SC cuts a fine figure from the very first glance. The relationship between its length, height and width, plus its short overhangs, convey its dynamics even at a standstill. Inspired by the design language developed through the IBE, IBL and IBX concept vehicles, the three-door compact car is the dynamic interpretation of the SEAT design language.
"We have given the three-door Leon SC a highly distinctive character – just deleting two doors would not have been enough for us. That is why we opted for the shorter wheelbase – although it is only 35 millimetres, the visual effect is very powerful. The result is a big difference in the expression of dynamics," says Alejandro Mesonero-Romanos, Head of SEAT Design. "The SEAT design language has been perfected in the new Leon. This is most evident in the characteristic lines. It is a car that has personality."
Compared with the five-door Leon, the wheelbase of the new Leon SC is shorter by 35 millimetres. At the same time, the distinctive window graphic, which sees the lower rear edge pulled downward, has the visual effect of stretching the car's 4.23-metre overall length. This gives the Leon SC a look that is sporty and powerful, yet very compact. All the exterior lines have a surface treatment that works in three dimensions, making the design even more distinctive and generating a fine interplay between light and shade.
The side profile of the new SEAT Leon SC displays a balanced relationship between metal and glass surfaces – vertically, this is around one-third glass to two-thirds body surface. This emphasises solidity and underscores the car's muscular stance. The characteristic, interrupted 'Línea Dinámica' runs rearward over the wheel arches, while the precisely sculpted 'blisters' on the sides are not completely straight, running instead in a very slight arc to increase surface tension. The expansive rear windscreen, with its coupé-like sweep, is 19 degrees more inclined compared with the five-door and has the form of an up-turned, stylised pentagon. It marks a further characteristic feature of the new SEAT Leon SC.
The drive: efficient and powerful
The new SEAT Leon SC is launched with a series of powerful and efficient TDI and TSI engines, all of which feature direct injection and turbocharging and are set up for rapid warm-up and low internal friction.
At the most economical end of the spectrum, the 1.6 TDI equipped with Start/Stop System and Energy Recovery has an average fuel consumption of just 74.3 mpg, equating to a CO2 figure of just 99 g/km. The 2.0 TDI, which drives the Leon SC with a powerful 150 PS and 320 Nm, can travel an impressive 68.9 miles on a gallon of fuel* and emits just 106 g/km.
The Leon SC petrol engine range begins with the 1.2 TSI 105 PS, which with a combined fuel economy rating of 57.6mpg is extremely efficient. Moving upwards, the fizzy 1.4 TSI engine generates 140 PS and delivers 250 Nm of torque, and with Start/Stop and Energy Recovery as standard it consumes at a rate of just 54.3 mpg combined, which equals a CO2 rating of just 119 g/km – below the significant 120 g/km mark that's so important for fleet customers.
The peak of the petrol line-up initially is the 1.8 TSI, delivering 180 PS and 250 Nm.
Depending on the engine variant, power transmission is handled by a manual five- or six-speed gearbox, or by the compact and lightweight DSG dual-clutch automatic. It changes its six or seven gears at astonishing speeds and is exceptionally efficient. A freewheeling function is integrated into some versions to reduce fuel consumption even further.
The SEAT Leon SC will be officially unveiled at the 2013 Geneva Motor Show.
*Official EU combined mpg rating
SEAT is the only company in its sector with the full-range capacity to design, develop, manufacture and market cars in Spain. A member of the Volkswagen Group, the multinational has its headquarters in Martorell (Barcelona), exporting 80% of its vehicles to 75 countries.
SEAT Group employs more than 14,000 professionals at its three production centres in Barcelona- Zona Franca, El Prat de Llobregat and Martorell, where it manufactures the highly successful Ibiza and Leon, amongst other models. Additionally, the company produces the Alhambra in Palmela (Portugal), the Mii in Bratislava (Slovakia) and the new Toledo in Mladá Boleslav (Czech Republic) at Volkswagen Group plants.
The Spanish multinational also has a Technical Center, a "knowledge hub", bringing together more than 900 engineers whose goal is to be the driving force behind innovation for the number one industrial investor in R&D in Spain. In line with its declared commitment to environment protection, SEAT undertakes and bases its core activity on sustainability, namely reduction of CO2 emissions, energy efficiency, as well as recycling and re-use of resources.