2012 Paris Motor Show: Third-generation Seat Leon is ready to rumble

Article by Christian A., on September 27, 2012

Seat will widen the range of the third-generation Leon by making it available in three different body styles for the first time. Seat is doing this as part of plans to repeat the success of the Ibiza, its most popular model. The Leon has finally made its debut at the Paris motor show. Aside from the five-door (which is seen by the public for the first time), Seat is planning to develop three-door and estate versions.

It also promises to put an end to the “one car for all purposes” thinking that was applied to the previous Leon generations. The five-door is the first vehicle from Seat to carry the brand’s minimally restyled 'S' badge. In addition, it’s the first model in the segment to get full LED headlamps.

Set to be presented next year are the three-door and estate body styles. Appearing after the Audi A3, the new Leon is only the second car built on the flexible new MQB platform of the Volkswagen Group to be seen.

It’s also the first production car to make use of the newest design language from Seat. It was previewed on the IBE, IBX and IBL concept cars of the last three years. Luc Donckerwolke, who now serves as the VW Group’s head of advanced design, was the first to establish its “technical, sharp” appearance.

The look was developed further by Alejandro Mesonero-Romanos, Seat’s present design chief. The measurements of the new five-door Leon are a length of 4263mm long, a width of 1816mm wide and a height of 1459mm.

This makes it 52mm shorter, 48mm wider and 4mm higher than the outgoing version. Its wheelbase measures 2636mm, which is longer by 58mm. By using the MQB underpinnings, it is lighter by about 90kg than the Leon Mk2, which had a weight of 1250kg in its most basic engine guise and trim level.

New Leon will be available in the UK with a wider variety of engines than the existing second-generation version. It will be offered with five petrol options and four diesel variants from the VW Group’s engine range. However, not all of these will be available at the launch.

Exterior Design

From the very first look, the latest SEAT Leon is an expressive car that cuts a sharp figure. Inspired by the IBX, IBE and IBL model cars, the latest SEAT Leon offers more enjoyment while driving. The latest vehicle’s appearance is simple spectacular from any angle and has an extremely attractive, sporty taste.

The latest model shows the meticulous enhancement of the SEAT’s character; the carrying out of full lines and rigid surfaces that show vigor and accuracy.

Even the smallest detail is a testimony to the excellent work and the rigid process of developing the latest SEAT Leon.

The standards referred here are satisfied by very a small number of car manufacturers. Minimalistic style and accuracy are among the car’s fundamental values.

These features are also embodied by the latest SEAT logo. The latest model is the first SEAT to carry the brand's latest logo. The logos are placed on the front of the car, its rear end, wheels and steering wheel.

New SEAT’s proportions are well-balanced. The passenger cell’s optical weight has been moved a little to the rear wheels. The switch from the front wing to the passenger cell is very smooth. The surfaces have a tough sculptural charm that augments the three-dimensional effect and supplements the impact of light and shade.

Observed sideways, the SEAT Leon’s surfaces are refined and accurately modeled. The "Línea Dinámica" expands rearwards above the wheel arches – embracing tightly under pressure like a ripped muscle. Specific for the model is the short third window climbing towards the back. Another characteristic is the trapezoidal C-pillar.

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