The Salsa concept created in 2000 has become automotive reality in the form of the new SEAT León. The elegantly styled body, blends the sporty image of a coupé with five-door practicality, whilst emphasising the trademark "design to stir the emotions" which Walter de'Silva uses to define the styling concept for the latest generation of SEAT products.
The new SEAT León joins the Ibiza and the Altea as the third pillar in the all-new SEAT. It is the latest model to be launched by the Spanish brand as part of its new generation of products since the Audi Brand Group was established in 2002. Even more importantly, out of all the new-generation models from SEAT, it is the León which expresses the ultimate in sportiness and innovative design, whilst building on the brand's own values.
Coupé-looks with five door practicality
Derived directly from the Salsa concept car, the new León succeeds in uniting the practicality of a five-door vehicle with the sporty image of a coupé. This look is achieved thanks to the use of rear doors which are opened by handles concealed in the door frame and whose design accentuates the coupé format.
The expressive styling of the headlamps, alluring lines of the bonnet and large radiator grille presiding at the front, combine perfectly with the distinctive wheel arches. These in turn form the starting point for the Dynamic Line ? one of the inherent design characteristics of the new SEAT generation ? which slopes downwards across the front and rear doors towards the rear wheel.
The shape and location of the windscreen wipers are of prime importance for the styling of the new León. As in the Altea, the wiper blades are positioned parallel to the A-pillars, but on the León they are fully visible instead of being hidden inside the pillars.
The dimensions of the new León have grown compared to the outgoing model. It is now 132 mm longer at 4,315 mm, while its width has increased by 26 mm to 1,768 mm. The height is 1,458 mm. As a result, the new León is a perfect synthesis of dynamic design and compact form.
Interior comfort has also been improved compared to the model it replaces. Courtesy of a wheelbase which is now 65 mm longer at 2,578 mm, and the inspired engineering work performed in Martorell, the new León has been endowed with outstanding levels of spaciousness.
The boot boasts a more practical design, while its capacity of 341 litres represents a slight increase over its predecessor.
Four engines in the launching range
The model line-up for the launch of the new León will comprise four different engines, two petrol and two Diesel. The entry-level petrol model is the indirect-injection 1.6 generating 102 hp (75 kW) which will be joined by a 2.0 FSI power unit capable of unleashing 150 hp (110 kW). Diesel customers will be able to choose from the 1.9 TDI with 105 hp (77 kW) or the 2.0 TDI model producing 140 hp (103 kW). All four engines will comply with Euro 4 emissions standards.
The 1.6 petrol and 1.9 TDI engines will be coupled with a five-speed manual gearbox, while the two more powerful models (2.0 FSI and 2.0 TDI) will be equipped with a six-speed gear change. The 2.0 FSI will be available with either a manual gearbox or an automatic gearbox with sequential Tiptronic function, and the 2.0 TDI will offer a choice of the DSG automated gearshift or the traditional manual gearbox, both with six gears.
Sportiness plus maximum safety
Stable roadholding and dynamic performance are guaranteed in the new SEAT León by the inclusion of the Agile Chassis which was developed at SEAT's Technical Centre in Martorell and has been further refined from the version used in the brand's other models. The independent front suspension with MacPherson struts is the same as on the outgoing model, but it is now mounted on a new aluminium sub-chassis. The rear suspension, which was previously semi-independent with a torsional axle, has been made fully independent on the new León using a four-arm multilink axle.
The new León is equipped with electro-mechanical power steering and comes with ventilated disc brakes at the front and solid discs at the rear wheels. ABS and TCS traction control round off the package of active safety systems, together with the ESP electronic stability program. The latest-generation ESP has also evolved to include systems that enhance the vehicle's braking power and steerability in critical situations.
Passive occupant protection in the new SEAT León is entrusted to six standard-fit airbags (two front airbags, two front sidebags and two curtain airbags). Two rear side airbags may be added as an option. All seats are equipped with three-point seatbelts as standard, with the seats in the front also including belt tensioners and belt force limiters, and the outer seats in the rear benefiting from belt force limiters and Isofix anchorage points.
In addition to this, the new SEAT León offers the same high level of pedestrian protection that has already been demonstrated in the Altea. In the rigorous Euro NCAP tests Altea achieved its excellent results from the shape of its bonnet with its collapsible hinges, as well as the vehicle's nose and the vertical positioning of the windscreen wipers.
The new SEAT León, which will receive its world premiere at the Barcelona International Motor Show. It will be built exclusively at the Martorell plant and will be available in a choice of four different trim and equipment lines: Reference, Stylance, Sport and Sport-up.