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- Redeveloped version of Altea’s Agile Chassis with even sportier suspension and more powerful brakes
The 38th Essen Motor Show will mark the world debut of the SEAT Altea FR. Derived directly from the prototype shown at September’s Frankfurt Motor Show, this latest model is the first in the new generation of SEAT cars to wear the famous letters FR (Fórmula Racing). By doing so, it taps into the rich FR heritage which has proved to be such a success in the Ibiza and the first generation León.
This new, sportier version arrives only 20 months since the SEAT Altea was first unveiled, and in order to earn the FR stamp it features a long list of modifications to its styling, mechanics and dynamics.
The design of the SEAT Altea FR incorporates all of the principal features of the show car. At the front can be found a restyled bumper incorporating a full width lower air intake with honeycomb grille. The new car’s flanks sport the all-red letters ‘TDI’, indicating that this Altea is powered by the most powerful diesel in SEAT’s range, while the door mirror housings are painted grey, as has become a hallmark of the FR models. The striking new 5-spoke 17-inch light-alloy wheels feature 7J x 17 rims shod with 225/45 R 17 tyres.
At the car’s rear, it is the distinctive styling of the rear bumper with its black finish at the base which really stands out. Protruding from the bottom left of the bumper are the chromed twin tailpipes of the exhaust, while the letters FR are located at the bottom right of the hatch.
The interior oozes the sporty ambience that is typical of FR models. For example, the dashboard of this new model boasts a new grey/black look.
The driver’s cockpit maintains the same excellent qualities the Altea is renowned for, whilst adding a host of new features particular to this FR model. The steering wheel and gear lever are both new and exclusive. The wheel has a three-spoke design, with the letters ‘FR’ punched into a metal badge on the middle spoke. These same letters can also be found on the top of the gearknob, along with the gearshift pattern.
White backgrounds to the instrumentation are reserved for this FR model. The FR lettering appears again in the rev counter situated in the centre of the instrument cluster. The seats, which offer excellent support during keen cornering, are upholstered with a combination of sporty looking fabrics and bear the FR lettering at the top of the backrests.
In short, Altea FR drivers will be in no doubt that they are behind the wheel of something very special.
High-performance diesel engine
At the heart of the SEAT Altea FR is its engine. Based on the 103 kW (140 hp) 2.0 TDI unit, the new engine has 125 kW (170 hp) of power on tap and is partnered by a six-speed manual gearbox whose ratios have been fine-tuned for this model. In order to bring about this significant jump in power, the turbocharger’s geometry has been optimised, the injection system’s maximum rate of delivery has been increased and the intake ducts now incorporate a shut-off system.
Yet the key modification has been the inclusion of high-pressure direct diesel injection technology in the form of the Piezo Pump Nozzle system. The piezo-electric injectors optimise the injection timing and quantity, resulting in far superior acoustics and cleaner emissions through greater injection precision.
Despite the fact that the new injection system already complies with Euro IV emissions standards, it goes one step further by adding the DPF diesel particulate filter system, which operates without the need for additives and comes with a zero-maintenance filter that is designed to outlast the vehicle.
The Agile Chassis of the SEAT Altea has undergone careful redevelopment to harness the extra power of the 125 kW engine. The suspension set-up is the same – McPherson independent type with lower wishbone at the front axle and a sophisticated multi-link rear axle – but the springs have been made firmer, while thicker anti-roll bars have also been fitted. As a result, the body is now seven millimetres lower than SEAT Alteas fitted with sports suspension.
The new Altea FR comes equipped with the ESP Electronic Stability Programme including EBA Emergency Brake Assistance, TCS traction control plus an array of further functions to aid the driver.
The brakes have also been uprated. They now measure 16 inches on all four wheels and feature ventilated discs with a diameter of 312 millimetres at the front, with solid 286-millimetre discs at the rear. Naturally, drivers of the Altea FR will also enjoy the peace of mind offered by the latest-generation ABS with electronic brake force distribution.
Sales of the SEAT Altea FR, which has been developed entirely at SEAT’s Technical Centre in Martorell, are due to start early next year.
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