Seat dips its toes in the crossover waters with the debut of the 20V20 concept at the 2015 Geneva Motor Show, showcasing a renewed design language and a potential new production model for VW's Spanish brand.
276 horsepower, 0-62 in 6 seconds flat and 52 cubic feet of cargo space: that's what's in store for the European market at the Geneva Motor Show this year in the wagon form of Seat's Nürburgring-chomping hot hatch.
European hatchbacks tend to be as much about style as they are about substance. For proof, look no further to the fashion collaborations that have given us the Fiat 500 Gucci edition, the Citroën DS3 by Yves Saint Laurent and a seemingly endless stream of one-off Minis done up by various fashion designers for charity. Even the pint-sized Mii – Seat's version of the Volkswagen Up! – has bred a special edition by Spanish clothing label Mango. But the example you see here takes the
Attending European auto shows like this week's Paris expo always makes me kind of jealous of the things offered in other markets. Funny little MPVs, hot hatches of all shapes and sizes, and just generally weird stuff are plentiful here, but we'd never, ever see these things in the States. And among the wares not often found in our market that are of particular interest, to me, are lifted wagons, like the new Seat Leon X-Perience on display here.
Under 8. That's the new benchmark for hot hatches, expressed in the number of minutes it takes to get around the Nürburgring. Although Renault has since beat its time with the Mégane RS 275 Trophy, it was Seat that was the first to break that time in a front-drive car with the Leon Cupra 280. Critics pointed out that the record-setting car was equipped with certain add-ons over the production version, but now Seat is offering those upgrades to customers as part of a new package.
In the market for a Volkswagen Golf but don't actually want a Volkswagen Golf? If you live in North America, your choices are limited to the Golf or, if you've got the scratch, the outgoing Audi A3. But if you live overseas, you can also opt for the Skoda Octavia or Seat Leon, which open up a whole array of possibilities. And this is the latest.
In case you haven't been paying attention, there's a battle raging on between two European automakers over who makes the faster hot hatch. The battle ground has been the Nürburgring, where Seat and Renault have been going back and forth, taking the front-drive lap record away from each other.
Crashes in racing are expected to happen at high speed with two drivers challenging each other to be the first one into a corner. They are not, however, supposed to happen like this. The poor Seat Leon Cupra racecar here goes out in the most humiliating way possible – a combination of gravity and human error.
More automakers need events like the annual Wörthersee Treffen in Austria from Volkswagen Group. It offers a chance for the automotive giant's designers to go wild and create one-offs that wouldn't get made otherwise. This year Audi has its 525-horsepower A3 Clubsport Quattro for the show, and this quirky Ibiza Cupster is the creation of Seat.
If you're traveling overseas and happen upon a Seat showroom, you can expect to see a lot of lift-gates. You'll see them on city cars, hatchbacks, wagons and minivans, but with the sole exception of the rebadged old Audi A4 they call the Exeo – which is available as either a sedan or, again, as a wagon – they've all got hatches at the back, not trunks. The one thing it's been missing is an SUV or crossover, but that's just what the Spanish automaker has in the works.
Racing simulators have come a long way in recent years. As computers have gotten quicker, developers have been able to create more sophisticated models that practically bring real-world driving to the screen. Volkswagen's Spanish brand, Seat, has harnessed a bit of this cutting-edge tech to give its fans an all-too-real taste of the new Leon Cupra a few weeks before the car begins deliveries in Europe.
While Porsche and McLaren vie for sub-seven-minute lap records at the Nürburgring, there's another hotly contested category, and it's not for the fastest time of any vehicle. It applies specifically to front-wheel-drive cars, and is contested between European hot hatches.
In 2010, automotive supplier Faurecia showed off a car seat that, via Bluetooth communication with a smartphone app, would adjust itself based on information the occupant had entered. It looks like that was too much work for a busy executive to do, because Automotive News has a story on how that seat has progressed, and it's now almost fully automatic.