Spanish brand’s new family car based on old A4
2 May 2008

Seat’s new family car, due for launch at the Paris Show in October, will be a thinly disguised version of the just-superseded Audi A4, company bosses have revealed – and they don’t care who knows it. These official sketches show how the car, codenamed Bolero but unlikely to use that name in production, will have a fascia from the Audi A4 cabriolet. It will use a selection of the latest Audi-VW engines, but its proportions, greenhouse, chassis, suspension, doors and glass will be recognisably Audi.“This may not seem a conventional approach to car design,” said Seat design boss Luc Donckerwolke, who has worked at Audi in the past, “but we believe the Seat brand will become established much faster in this highly competitive sector if the first model we offer has a proven record of quality and reliability. With the A4-based model, there will be no room for doubt.”Seat will start building the car in December in a new production line inside its Barcelona plant, aiming at a March launch and volume of 40,000 cars per year. The company is coy about pricing, but insiders say it will be similarly priced to the Skoda Superb, offering sportiness and performance where the Skoda offers space.

Steve Cropley

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2 May 2008

Oh dear. Seat's been down this road before with the mk2 Toledo sharing the same dashboard as the mk1 Audi A3. That smacked of cost-cutting back then. To have a "brand new" model celebrated as being based on an old one is spin that would make a politician proud.

It's the scale of the re-cycling that concerns me. What happened to the much-vaunted further development of Seat's unique design language? Poor Luc Donckerwolke can't seem to escape Audi - his freedom at Lamborghini was seriously impinged by the need to utilise Ingolstadt's engineering architecture, and it looks like it's more of the same with the Spanish firm.

Edit: I notice Lamborghini has announced it will be reducing the amount of Audi engineering influence in its cars from now on, while retaining the obvious strengths in terms of reliability and quality. A real shame that Seat is unable to follow the same path.

Still, given the dissatisfaction voiced in many circles about the new Audi A4, the new Seat will certainly give fans of the previous model a way to spend their money.

2 May 2008

Great! Another VAG clone car, designed, not by Luc Donckerwolke at all, but by accountants.

Yawn. Next.

2 May 2008

[quote The Colonel]Great! Another VAG clone car, designed, not by Luc Donckerwolke at all, but by accountants.[/quote]

Could not have put it better myself. The last A4 wasnt exactly known for being the best car to drive (RS4 apart) so how can Seat push this as a good sporty product? Yes it'll be well made, and most of the design issues will have been solved for them, but i think its a bad idea. Seat has sooo much potential, that VW/Audi just dont seem to see it.

2 May 2008

.............. and I thought badge engineering had gone out with British Leyland ! The big bosses obviously don't like the SEAT brand or Luc Donkerwelter, he must be getting really fed up with all his options being taken away by the bean-counters.

Enjoying a Fabia VRs - affordable performance

2 May 2008

I recent bought a new Leon FR TSI (which is great, by the way): during the test drive the salesman was quite candid about how unhappy the salespeople were at SEAT's limited range. They seem to sell a few Ibizas and Leons, and sometimes an Altea if they're lucky. The Toledo never shifts; the Alhambra is too old. There is no city car; no Mondeo competitor; no coupe; no cabriolet; no "crossover" (apart from the Altea Crosstrack, or whatever it is). Dealers need volume to remain with the brand, and volume comes with a large range. Look at the considerable range Peugeot has for instance, and you get the idea (107, 1007, 207 (4 bodystyles), 308 (soon 4 bodystyles), 407 (3 bodystyles), 4007, 607, 807 etc.). Hence the time and investment needed for a new model that truly fits the "brand values" of SEAT probably meant a wait until 4 years time: the expedient solution was to add a big "S" on the front of an old A4 and paint some of the interior trim silver (no doubt)... The shame is that there is plenty of mileage in the SEAT brand (think a slightly cheaper Alfa with VW engineering integrity) but it just needs to be realised with good product. Never mind...


2 May 2008

If the sketches on the web-site are of a "thinly disguised" old model A4, I've never seen that A4. The A4 has always been a rather staid worthy offering. This sketch is of a quite racy machine. Have the sketches got mixed up? No doubt when we see the actual model there will have been a lot of artistic license involved.


3 May 2008

[quote blissity]

given the dissatisfaction voiced in many circles about the new Audi A4, the new Seat will certainly give fans of the previous model a way to spend their money.


Exactly what i thought when reading this article until i thought what the reality will be: I doubt Audi will let Seat use their 4-wheel drive, so it will only be the boring FWD models on offer with most likely a noticeable drop in quality of interior. The artist sketches are clearly way off the mark as the glasshouse & doors do not resemble the A4's in any shape or form. This is a shameless bit of cost saving and i hope car buyers vote with their feet.

3 May 2008

I read months ago that luc donkerwhatsit was actually having to fight to get this as the old a4's exactly what he wanted and not a passat chassis. But i say you cant fall off getting a brand new a4 for £13k :D (if priced the same as a supurb)

Seat has had problems with the mk2 leon and mk4 ibiza with the quality of the dash and more importantly the rattles coming from (i know first hand!). So i'm quite happy to have audi sourced parts going into the brand i love.

5 May 2008

It is a shame that Seat couldn't develop a brand new model for this sector, as the competition has got so much better recently. Skoda made a good job of re-engineering a long wheelbase Passat and have now got a brand new model, perhaps using this method is the only way Seat can test the market, but surely entering the market with an out of date model is bad news for any manufacturer.

9 May 2008

VW and Audi just don't get it, do they.

Skoda has become the affordable face of a new VW and now SEAT is going to be an affordable Audi. If the new A4 was good enough or the Passat good enough value, they would not need to do this

Given that the new A4 doesn't how that well in your recent comparison test against the Modeo and the Accord, this exercise will not make it any easier to push Audi up to the levels of BMW, if that's what you want. Why buy a new (not that special) A4 rather than the better Mondeo or the SEAT version of the old for 15% less? Or are we all assumed to be badge snobs?

Why don't VW admit - they have too many brands, they know don't what to do with SEAT and should let it die?


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