While the suspension hardware front and rear is carried over from the A4, Seat has tweaked the spring, damper and anti-roll bar settings in an effort to give the Exeo a character of its own. Furthermore, Exeos in Sport trim offer lowered ride height and stiffer suspension as a non-cost option, while the 168bhp diesel and the single petrol model get Audi’s Servotronic speed-dependent power steering.
If you’d asked us to name the potential downsides of a recycled Audi A4 before we’d driven the Exeo, compromised ride and handling would have topped the list. Although it did improve during its life cycle, the old A4 was consistently bugged by its longitudinally arranged forward-set engine, producing nose-heavy handling and an unsettled ride. While Seat hasn’t exactly effected a complete transformation, the changes it has made to the suspension settings have improved matters considerably. The primary driving characteristics are still recognisable as that of an Audi, but one with fewer concessions.
Exeos come with a range of wheel sizes, from 16in to 18in, and on two different chassis settings. In line with Seat’s positioning as the sports brand within the VW roster, we selected an Exeo in Sport trim, meaning a lowered, stiffer suspension and 18in wheels as standard. At town speeds the ride is relatively firm, with road scars and ironwork causing displacement not only in the wheel but also in the vehicle body, and while things improve with speed, there remains unwanted movement over disturbances such as motorway expansion joints.