An upcoming four-wheel drive version of the Seat Leon will be engineered with right-hand drive and sold in the UK, the firm’s R&D chief Matthias Rabe has revealed to Autocar at the Shanghai motor show.

Four-wheel drive on the Leon will be initially limited to the yet-to-be-revealed ST estate version, which is slated in for an official unveil at the Frankfurt motor show in September.

The ST, complete with a four-wheel drive system borrowed from the new VW Golf 4Motion, will go on sale in the UK before the end of the year.

The Cupra version of the Leon, which is rumoured to have as much as 261bhp from a 2.0-litre turbocharged engine, will be shown “before the end of the year”, according to Rabe.

Three- and five-door versions of the car are initially planned, with a ST version to rival the Ford Focus ST estate currently under evaluation.

An Ecomotive version of the Leon with figures to closely match the 88.3mpg and 85g/km of the upcoming VW Golf Bluemotion will be launched later in the summer, Rabe added.

Once the Seat Leon line-up is finalised, the firm is expected to turn its attentions to developing a long-rumoured SUV. Rabe wouldn’t directly confirm the project, but said that the firm was looking “at more concrete production ideas”.