11 March 2005

Seat unveiled the look of the next Leon at the Geneva show with this concept. The Leon Prototype previews the range-topping Cupra version of the new car, which will follow at least a year behind the new Leon, which is scheduled for launch this autumn. As it did with the Altea midi-MPV, Seat has unveiled a concept car that’s ‘around 90 per cent’ of the finished version, according to chief designer Steve Lewis. The production Leon will lose extreme styling elements such as the big wheels and aggressive bumpers before launch, and the sculpted four-seat interior is also likely to be replaced by a conventional five-seat layout.

The Leon’s launch engines will mirror those of the Altea and Toledo, which are also spun off the VW Golf’s platform. That initially means 1.6- and 2.0-litre petrols and 1.9- and 2.0-litre diesels.

An FR version will be fitted with the concept’s 197bhp FSI turbo petrol engine, as used in the VW Golf GTi. The hardcore Cupra’s motor could be uprated to as much as 240bhp, compared with the current Cupra R’s 222bhp, and both hot models should get a dual-clutch DSG gearbox. The Leon will remain front-wheel drive though, despite the availability of four-wheel drive with the platform, as engineers believe they can channel the power through the front wheels.

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