SEAT Leon Indepth Share Comments The sportiest model in the new generation line-up The new León is here. The arrival of the second generation León sees SEAT launch the third model in its all-new product line-up following on from the Altea and Toledo. The characteristic traits of the brand’s new model image are plain to see in both the Altea and Toledo and now the new Leon. The SEAT Salsa concept car unveiled in 2000 has been the inspiration for the Spanish manufacturer in terms of styling ever since, turning it into automotive reality. The launch of the new León renews the second of the mainstays of the new SEAT image, as the León and Altea have been christened by SEAT President, Dr. Andreas Schleef. It has resulted in an elegantly styled body that neatly blends the sporty image of a stunning coupé with five-door practicality. Out of all of the new-generation models from SEAT, it is the new León which comes closest to expressing the very ultimate in sportiness and innovative design, thereby reinforcing SEAT’s own intrinsic values within the Audi brand group. Designed by Walter de’Silva and his team at the Technical Centre in Martorell, the body of the new SEAT León is imbued with a sense of sporty elegance. The expressive styling of the headlamps and the alluring lines of the bonnet, with a large radiator grille at the front, combine perfectly with the distinctive wheel arches. These form the starting point for the Dynamic Line that slopes down the flanks of the car to the rear wheels. The coupé look stems from the roof line that curves downwards towards the rear and is emphasised by the apparent absence of rear door handles. The car’s dynamic image is further enhanced by the repositioning of the door mirrors, which are now attached directly to the door’s panelling. The elegant, sporty lines of the new León bring together a number of dynamic qualities as well as exceptional engineering. During the course of its development at SEAT’s Technical Centre, state-of-the-art technology, sophisticated virtual development tools and innovative new welding methods have been used at the factory in Martorell in order to achieve optimum manufacturing quality. The new SEAT León is produced exclusively at the factory in Martorell. Despite the dynamic design and compact form that characterise the new León, its dimensions have increased compared to the outgoing model. It now measures 4,315 mm from nose to tail, an increase of 131 mm; its width is 1,768 mm, representing an extra 26 mm; height has increased by 19 mm to 1,458 mm and the wheelbase has been extended by 67 mm to 2,578 mm. The track widths at the front and rear are more broad-set too, measuring 1,533 mm and 1,517 mm respectively. The boot’s capacity has increased slightly by one litre to 341 litres, and more importantly its design allows more efficient use of the space available. The most powerful model of the new generation The new León offers a choice of five different engines, including three petrol and two diesel powerplants, which all comply with Euro IV emissions standards. The most noteworthy model in the engine range is the new four-cylinder, 2.0-litre power unit with FSI direct-injection technology, which is supercharged by a turbocharger that forms a single unit together with the exhaust manifold. Additional features include an intake system with continuously variable distribution and internal exhaust-gas recirculation. The new 2.0 TFSI engine developing 185 hp (136 kW) will be the most powerful model in the new León range and will make its market debut before the end of this year. This power unit has a peak torque of 270 Nm, which is on tap from 1,800 up to 5,000 rpm, giving the León a top speed in excess of 220 km/h. The other two petrol options are the 1.6 indirect-injection engine generating 102 hp (75 kW) and the 150 hp (110 kW) 2.0 FSI power unit. Diesel customers, meanwhile, will be able to choose from the 1.9 TDI with 105 hp (77 kW) or the 2.0 TDI model producing 140 hp (103 kW). The 1.6 petrol and 1.9 TDI engines are coupled with a five-speed manual gearbox, while the three most powerful models (2.0 TFSI, 2.0 FSI and 2.0 TDI) are partnered by a six-speed gear change. The 2.0 FSI offers a choice of either a manual gearbox or a conventional automatic gearbox, and the 2.0 TDI can be ordered with either an automatic gearbox with latest-generation DSG technology or a traditional manual gearbox. Both automatic gearboxes include the sequential Tiptronic function. The new León comes ready equipped with several key advances on the active safety front. Most of the new features are incorporated into the vehicle’s ESP Electronic Stability Program. The Electronic Differential Lock (EDL) and EBA Emergency Brake Assistance are now joined by a series of new systems, including Overboost. This enables maximum braking power to be delivered even when the discs are very hot, BSW cleans the brake discs regularly whenever the windscreen wipers are switched on, and Driver Steering Recommendation helps to keep the vehicle on the correct course in critical handling situations. The TCS traction control system now includes an anti-lock braking system with electronic brake power distribution. As for passive safety features, the new León is the first ever model from SEAT to offer side airbags in the rear. The model’s standard specification already includes two front airbags, two front side airbags and two curtain airbags. All five seats are equipped with three-point seat belts as standard. The seats in the front also include pre-tensioners and belt force limiters. The outer seats in the rear have belt force limiters and feature Isofix anchorage points for attaching child seats. EXTERIOR DESIGN A five-door coupé The design of the new León is rooted in the SEAT Salsa concept car, whose fundamental styling traits have already been seen in the body of the SEAT León Prototype in early March at the Geneva Motor Show. It was from this very prototype that the new León was derived with very few modifications, thereby transforming the Salsa concept car into a genuine automotive reality. The elegantly styled body of the new SEAT León blends the sporty image of a coupé with five-door practicality, whilst emphasising the trademark “design to stir the emotions” which Walter de’Silva uses to define the styling concept for the latest generation of SEAT products. Interplay of lines and forms. The body is all about sporty design, compact proportions and avant-garde forms. At the front end, it is the expressive styling of the graceful headlamps with teardrop-shape design and integrated turn signal lamps that really stand out. Presiding at the head of the alluringly designed bonnet is a large radiator grille in the form of an inverted trapezoid. Singular design characteristic. The distinctive, rounded front wheel arches form the starting point for the Dynamic Line, the most prominent hallmark design trait of the new generation of SEAT models. After sweeping around the wheel arches, the line slopes down the flanks of the body across the front and rear doors before finishing at the rear wheels. This smooth transition of lines and forms flow back from the nose of the car to its tail injects the exterior with an extra-sporty flair. Coupé image. The sporty essence of the new León is accentuated by its coupé looks from the steeply raked windscreen and roof line that curves downwards towards the rear. The sporty image is further emphasised by the impression of no rear doors, these having been concealed out of sight in the doors’ own frames. The sporty picture is completed by the door mirrors which are attached directly to the door panelling. Large hatch. The rear end of the body is dominated by the large hatch, which is capped by a discreet spoiler at the top and the third brake light. The extremely stylish, elongated rear light clusters slice into the hatch from both sides. The large SEAT “S” symbol, which is situated in the centre of the rear hatch level with the rear lights, doubles as the handle for opening the boot, as is customary on SEAT models. Vertical windscreen wipers. The innovative windscreen wiper system with a new vertical park position for the wiper blades made its debut in the Altea and was also adopted for the Toledo. In the new León, the system is transformed into a genuine design element, giving it an even more distinctive character. As in the Altea and Toledo, the windscreen wiper blades run parallel to the A-pillars with the difference that, on the new León, they remain fully visible to show off a more stylised design. The two motors which operate them are also new and operate in perfect harmony to produce a “butterfly-style” wipe before returning the wipers to their park position without coming into contact with the pillars. Superior dimensions. Despite the fact that a dynamic design and compact format are two of the overriding features of the new León, its dimensions have grown significantly compared to the model it replaces. All of its vital statistics – length, width, height, wheelbase and the track width at the front and rear – have increased, resulting in improved spaciousness and handling. INTERIOR CONCEPT Exemplary levels of spaciousness The dynamic design of the exterior has been successfully transferred into the interior of the new León is immediately confirmed by its aesthetic appeal and layout. Its creators paid a great deal of attention to delivering the high level of practicality promised by the car’s five-door format. As a result, the interior offers plenty of room and comfort for up to five passengers. The passenger compartment of the new León offers exemplary levels of spaciousness. For example, the height measured from the seat cushion base to the roof is 1,000 mm in the front and 963 mm in the rear. The “comfort” dimension, which measures the distance from the pedals to the rear seat backrest: a distance of 1,929 mm. In the new León this represents an increase of 88 mm compared to the previous model and a significant increase in knee room in the rear, with an extra 59 mm of space now available. Sporty dashboard. Specially designed for the new SEAT León, the dashboard has a distinctly sporty look. Composed of simple, clean-cut lines, it has been built exclusively from high-grade materials and its surfaces have a soft-touch finish. The instrument cluster is neatly sheltered by the curved instrument shroud arching over it. The centre console has been given a more prominent appearance courtesy of its ample dimensions and refined styling while a generously proportioned glove compartment can be found on the front passenger side. Instrument cluster illumination. The instrument cluster dials now feature white backlighting to contrast with the red needles and displays. Three large dials. All efforts have been made to simplify the driver’s task. Consequently, the instrument cluster is now made up of three large, black-backed dials which are slightly oval-shaped. The centre one houses the rev counter, the right-hand dial the speedometer. On the left hand side is the multifunction screen or display which, depending on the model’s specification, is able to flash up information for the navigation system, the car phone, the trip computer, the audio system, the digital clock, the vehicle’s status, as well as automatic gearshift information and functions for system configuration and personal settings. Prominent centre console. Sporting a design that gives it the feel of a shield, the console is tilted slightly towards the driver. What makes its design particularly special is that it is suspended. This produces a cavity in the transmission tunnel that acts as an oddments tray as well as housing two cup holders and the button for the hazard warning lights, where it can be activated in the event of an emergency. The centre console itself accommodates the climate control system, audio system and the navigation system if fitted. Steering wheel and pedals. The new León will offer a choice of up to five different steering wheels, which vary in terms of the material used and the functions they are able to perform (with controls for operating just the audio system or both the audio system and the car phone). The steering wheel can be adjusted for height and reach. To increase driver comfort the pedals have been arranged to create an ideal distance between them and leave sufficient room for a generously sized footrest on the left. The importance of good seats. During the development of the front seats for the new León, the design was analysed right down to the finest detail in order to offer maximum lateral support and a superior level of comfort. A rigid framework has been used for the backrest and seat cushion in conjunction with a modified foam cushioning design to optimise the seats’ ergonomics. The backrest is now 9% higher than before. The base of the driver’s seat houses a stowage compartment with two opening positions and a crumple system to prevent breakages, while the space below the front passenger seat is reserved for the CD changer. Seat manoeuvrability has also been improved in the new León compared to the first-generation model, thanks to a new ball-type seat guide system. This allows for more practical, more convenient repositioning of the seats, whilst the seats’ height adjustment range has been increased by 24% and the fore-aft adjustment range by 4%. New headrests. With a design that positions them 20 mm closer to the occupant’s head, the headrests also feature locking sleeves for added safety. The rear three passengers each enjoy the benefit of headrests shaped like an inverted “L” which gives the driver improved visibility through the rear window. Generously sized rear seat. Designed to accommodate three passengers, the rear bench seat has an asymmetric split-folding design in all model versions. The seat cushion, has been manufactured using a special cold-foaming technique that offers superior seating comfort, has guides for the Isofix anchorage points located in the join between it and the backrest. These anchorage points allow child seats to be attached more easily. More versatile boot. Capacity has increased, by one litre compared to the outgoing model, now producing 341 litres of luggage space. More importantly, its design allows far more efficient use to be made of the space available. With the rear seat backrest folded completely flat, the available boot space expands to 1,166 litres. CHASSIS More agile than ever Optimising the dynamic performance of the new León was a matter of overriding importance for the engineers at SEAT which is why they have once again opted for the renowned Agile Chassis developed by SEAT’s own Technical Centre. Its integration into the new León required a meticulous fine-tuning process to further refine it compared to the version already featured in some of the brand’s other models. Each and every element that makes up part of the Agile Chassis has been revised and modified. From the front and rear suspension through to the brakes, the steering through to the type of tyres and wheels, and the development of a new concept for the fuel tank through to the new pedal arrangement. More effective suspension. The independent front suspension with McPherson struts is the same as on the first model, but it is now mounted on a new aluminium sub-chassis which replaces the sheet-metal version fitted previously. Agility has been enhanced as a result of the high centre of balance and an anti-roll bar with a diameter of 23.6 mm which has been made more effective by reducing the distance from the anchoring point to the centre of the wheel. Improvements have been made in terms of comfort too by optimising the axle kinematics, using a new wishbone mounting and separating the spring mounting from the shock absorber’s mounting point on the body. New rear axle concept. At the rear, the torsion axle (semi-independent) fitted in the outgoing León, has been abandoned in favour of an independent, four-arm multilink axle, which enables the longitudinal dynamics (comfort) to be handled completely separately from the lateral dynamics (agility). The result is an excellent standard of ride comfort combined with advanced handling agility. The rear suspension features an anti-roll bar with a diameter of 21.7 mm as well as shock absorbers and springs offering different tuning settings depending on the engine. Optimised steering. The Technical Centre also undertook modification work to the car’s steering. The new steering system is the EPS Electrical Power Steering system whose intelligent electro-mechanical design holds an array of benefits over the hydraulic power-assisted steering in the old León. Power assistance is varied to match the vehicle’s speed and the steering wheel angle, bestowing the vehicle with extremely precise handling and outstanding responsiveness to the driver’s commands. The new León offers two separate set-ups, one for the 1.6 petrol engine and a second fitted to the remaining engines. Minor environmental impact. Due to the fact that power assistance is only provided when needed and not as a function of the engine speed, the electro-mechanical power steering produces tangible energy savings equating to 0.2 litres of fuel per 100 kilometres. It also features self-adjustment of the car’s straight-line steerability and offers drivers direct yet gentle steering response. Dispensing with the hydraulic components reduces the impact on the environment, simplifies maintenance and lowers sound levels. Measures have also been implemented in order to optimise steering wheel damping when driving over rough road surfaces. Increased safety. The design of the steering column has undergone further improvement to both enhance comfort and increase safety in the event of a collision. It offers the driver a reach adjustment range of 60 mm and a height adjustment range of 50 mm (51 and 36 mm respectively on the previous model), smooth, stepless adjustment and high resistance to vibrations. Both the housing and the lower shaft are telescopic. The steering column’s upper housing can collapse by 100 mm and the lower shaft by 58 mm. Further features include an energy absorption system and impact-resistant steering lock. New brake booster. The braking system in the new SEAT León comprises ventilated disc brakes at the front and solid discs at the rear wheels. The diameter of the front discs varies depending on the engine fitted. The discs fitted in conjunction with the 1.6 petrol and 1.9 TDI engines measure 280 millimetres across, while the two-litre powerplants (FSI and TDI) are partnered by 288-mm discs. The rear discs have a diameter of 255 millimetres on all models. The new León is equipped with a new dual-rate brake booster with two different characteristic curves: one offers comfortable, precise metered braking while the second provides high braking power by reducing pedal resistance when the driver needs to brake particularly sharply. Wheels and tyres. Three different 16-inch wheel designs are available: a steel variant with hubcap, plus two light-alloy wheels, one with a five-spoke and one with a seven-spoke design. All 16-inch wheel variants measure 6.5Jx16 and are shod with 205/55 R16 tyres. There is also a 17-inch light-alloy wheel measuring 7Jx17 which is shod with a 225/45 R17 tyre. Sophisticated ESP. Several key innovations have been incorporated into the Electronic Stability Program (ESP). The EDL Electronic Differential Lock, EBA Emergency Brake Assistance and O-HBV hydraulic pressure booster (for automatic models only) are now joined by a series of new systems: Overboost, which increases brake pressure without any notable change in the force that the driver has to apply the brake pedal when the system temperature far exceeds normal operating temperatures. BSW, which cleans the brake discs regularly whenever the windscreen wipers are switched on. Driver Steering Recommendation (DSR) which helps to keep the vehicle on the correct course in critical handling situations. Trailer Stability Program (TSP), a system which will become available in the future. The Traction Control System (TCS) now includes an anti-lock braking system with Electronic Brake-Force Distribution (EBD) and ASR wheel-slip regulation. Keeping on course. The most noteworthy of these systems is Driver Steering Recommendation. When the ESP control unit detects the vehicle has entered an unstable situation caused by oversteer, it transmits a signal instructing the steering system’s electric motor to turn the steering wheel in the opposite, i.e. the correct, direction. The driver senses this as a recommendation, prompting him or her to turn the steering wheel in the recommended direction and stabilise the vehicle. When driving over a dry, asphalted road, the driver barely notices this steering prompt. The system proves most effective when driving along roads offering differing levels of grip on each side of the car, e.g. a surface that is dry on one side and wet on the other. The principal benefits of ESP featuring Driver Steering Recommendation are improved stability, less directional deviation and a reduction in the vehicle’s stopping distance of between 5 and 10 percent. However, the task of this are is merely to recommend a steering manoeuvre to the driver in critical driving situations. This function does not steer the vehicle for the driver, the driver is responsible for controlling the vehicle’s steering at all times. BODYSHELL High strength As well as being attractive to look at, the technology behind the new SEAT León is no less beguiling, as is immediately evident from an analysis of the structure and mobile elements of the bodyshell which comes with a 12-year anti-corrosion warranty. Special steels. The bodyshell of the new León comprises a unitised structure made from galvanised steel whose development entailed using 50% more high-strength and ultra-high-strength steels than in the previous León, resulting in far superior passive safety and body strength. 63% of the steels used are high-strength and a further 5% are ultra-high-strength. The sheet-metal components that together make up the top section of the body (roof, side panelling, pillars and side skirts) as well as the protective bars in the doors employ mostly high-strength steels, giving them excellent fracture resistance and a high elasticity limit. Similarly, the frame structure in the lower section of the new León is also composed of a high percentage of high-strength steels. Hot pressing. One of the most significant technological innovations in the new León cannot actually be seen but it has greatly enhanced the level of safety offered in collisions from the side. It all has to do with the central B-pillar which, in addition to being built from ultra-high-strength steels, is furthermore manufactured using a hot-pressing process. This technology, which is being used for the first time ever at SEAT, dispenses with conventional pressing and replaces it with a combination of techniques, including heating the sheet-metal panel prior to drawing, drawing it into the press with a refrigeration system and finally laser-cutting the panel. This new process cuts down the number of different pieces used thus making the body more rigid, reducing the vehicle’s weight and improving structural strength. Laser welding. The tremendous static rigidity of the new León has been achieved by assembling the body using 5,100 mm of laser welding and 5,000 mm of structural bonding. Assembly furthermore involves applying 3,700 resistance-welding spots as well as 3,200 mm of arc welding. Thanks to the use of laser welding it has now been possible to eliminate the moulding that covered the join between the vehicle’s flanks and the roof on the old León. Quality control. Bodyshell assembly involves one further sophisticated process that deserves to be highlighted, the system for tracking the quality of the laser seam, known as Soudronic. Based on artificial vision technology, Soudronic supplies real time information on the quality of the laser seam being used for the assembly of the bodyshells, thereby guaranteeing the necessary process quality and stability. Superior rigidity. The use of laser welding and structural bonding benefits both the static and the dynamic rigidity of the bodyshell in the new León. The car’s high static rigidity is demonstrated by its interaxle torsion of 21 minutes of a degree when subject to a torsional torque of 7,000 Nm. As far as dynamic rigidity is concerned, the torsion mode is over 44 Hz, while the longitudinal flexion mode exceeds 46 Hz in the Z plane and 58 Hz in the U plane. The roof has also been made more rigid than on the outgoing model. Of the five cross struts that used to be fitted, the three struts at the two ends of the roof and in the centre have been retained, while the two intermediate struts that added 902 grams to the weight of the old León have now been omitted. They have been replaced in the new León by two DVD panels weighing a total of 446 grams, representing a weight-saving of 456 grams. Better protected. The new León has been protected against corrosion by applying surface coatings, fine seals around the edges of moving components as well as thick seals. The underbody has been protected by a polypropylene guard that reduces PVC content by 1.2 kilograms, while the cavities are wax-protected. In order to reduce the levels of mechanical noise and tyre roar reaching the interior, as many as 10 soundproofing elements are incorporated into the upper and lower pillars, the rear wheel arches, the sub-platform side member and the pillar surrounds. ENGINES Exclusive 2.0 TFSI developing 185 hp The new León will showcase the new 185 hp (136 kW) 2.0 TFSI engine which is set to make it the most powerful and sportiest model in the new generation of SEAT products. New 2.0 TFSI engine generating 185 hp Scheduled for launch before the end of this year, the new four-cylinder, 2.0-litre power unit with FSI direct-injection technology is supercharged by a turbocharger that forms a single unit together with the exhaust manifold. Additional features include an intake system with continuously variable distribution and internal exhaust-gas recirculation. The 2.0 TFSI powerplant will spearhead the León engine range with its rated power output of 185 hp (136 kW). The engine’s tremendous peak torque of 270 Nm is on tap between 1,800 and 5,000 rpm, which makes for excellent in-gear acceleration. As a result, the car accelerates from 80 to 120 km/h in just 7.5 seconds in fifth gear and in 9.6 seconds in sixth. With this engine under the bonnet, the León reaches a top speed of 221 km/h, sprints from standstill to 100 km/h in 7.8 seconds and requires just 28.4 seconds to complete 1000 metres from a standing start. Whilst returning average fuel consumption figures of 8.1 litres per 100 km and CO2 emissions of 194 g/km under the same conditions. Petrol engines. The entry-level engine in the range is a four-cylinder 1.6-litre unit with a system of indirect electronic multipoint injection developing a rated output of 102 hp (75 kW) and generating a peak torque of 148 Nm. Thanks to the lightweight design of its cylinder block, which is made from aluminium and weighs just 17.2 kilograms, this engine offers excellent performance and fuel consumption figures. Driven by the 102 hp 1.6 unit, the new León delivers exceptional performance for the engine’s power category. The other petrol-powered option is the two-litre unit that is also fired by FSI direct injection technology. It is capable of producing 150 horsepower, with torque peaking at 200 Nm. The engine’s characteristics and power translate into outstanding on-road performance, yet the FSI system manages to keep fuel consumption surprisingly low for such a high-powered engine. Diesel engines. The two-litre TDI unit has evolved from the 1.9-litre engines. Thanks to a slight increase in cylinder capacity, a switch to cylinder heads with four-valve technology as well as the use of pump-injector direct injection in unison with a variable-nozzle turbine, the drive unit delivers 140 horsepower and, even more importantly, a sensational 320 Nm of peak torque. An even more economical drive is available by opting for the 1.9 TDI unit, which now produces 105 horsepower courtesy of its new electronic management. Peak torque is 250 Nm. As with the two-litre power unit, this engine also deploys a direct injection system featuring pump-injector units along with a variable-nozzle turbine and intercooler. Five-speed and six-speed gearboxes with sporty ratios. A wide choice of transmissions is available. The 1.6 petrol and 1.9 TDI entry-level engines are coupled with a five-speed manual gearbox, while the three most powerful models (2.0 TFSI, 2.0 FSI and 2.0 TDI) are partnered by a six-speed gear change. The 2.0 FSI offers a choice of either a manual gearbox or a conventional automatic gearbox, and the 2.0 TDI can be ordered with either an automatic gearbox with latest-generation DSG technology or a traditional manual gearbox. Both automatic gearboxes include the sequential Tiptronic function. An ultra-sporty sound. The sportiness of the new León cannot just be felt, it can be heard too. The engine sound is an identifying feature of a model’s sporty character. In the case of the new León, the exhaust sound has been entrusted to SEAT Sound, a system that blends a balanced sound at high engine speeds with a sonorous, sporty sound at low revs. The resulting acoustic sensation can be experienced both inside and outside the car. The perception of the sporty sound and engine power has been accentuated when: pulling away from standstill, manoeuvring at low speeds and accelerating or braking when fully laden at low rev speeds. The level of exhaust sound amplification gradually reduces until it ceases altogether above 2,500 rpm, ensuring that it remains imperceptible to the vehicle’s occupants at higher rev speeds and does not become an irritation on long journeys so that travel comfort is not impaired in any way. TECHNOLOGY Simple, innovative solutions The new León boasts a host of solutions, all of which share two things in common – simplicity and innovation. The new-design handles for the rear doors, the use of sophisticated materials, the inclusion of Bluetooth technology and the availability of two navigation systems are all fine examples of this. Invisible door handles. The location and operation of the rear door handles are a prime example of the practical solutions which have been incorporated into the new León. The handles are now concealed in the rear door frame, where they can each be accessed inside a recess whose polycarbonate surround gives the design of the C-pillar a lighter feel. Innovative materials. The polycarbonate material, which also features in the headlamp units and the rear light clusters, is another of the innovations showcased in the new León. Apart from providing an appealing design, this material also offers a host of benefits compared to glass: it can be moulded into more complex forms, it is 50% lighter and it is less likely to shatter. Hands-free communication. The Bluetooth phone system allows the driver to link up their mobile phone with the vehicle’s networking by means of a radio frequency connection and then operate the phone in hands-free mode using the steering wheel’s buttons and multifunction control lever. The buttons on the steering wheel can be used to make, accept or reject phone calls, hang up at the end of a call and activate the voice-operated control system. The multifunction control lever is used to navigate through the address book, which appears in the instrument cluster’s display, and to dial numbers. The inclusion of Bluetooth technology allows the system to be used without any need for a physical connection between the vehicle and the mobile phone, which may be placed anywhere inside the vehicle. Choice of two information centres. The new León will offer the option of two navigation systems, one with a monochrome screen and the other with a colour screen. System features common to both units include the tuner (AM/FM waveband selector, presets, etc.), information (for calling up the last navigation instructions and detailed information on the current traffic situation), CD (for playing a CD in the unit’s CD player or from a CD changer), navigation (navigation settings, route selection, route options, etc.), TMC traffic information (requiring a CD-ROM for dynamic navigation and a TMC broadcasting station), plus access to the system settings menu (brightness, preset list, etc,). The audio unit incorporating the navigation system with monochrome screen is able to play both conventional CDs and CDs in an MP3 format. The distinguishing features of the top-of-the-range dynamic navigation system are its large 6.5″ TFT colour screen (16:9 format) and the route guidance functions using maps and/or pictograms displayed on the screen. In addition to the spoken commands, the navigation instructions of both systems can also be depicted visually in the navigation system’s screen Bi-xenon headlamps. The projector-beam headlamps with bi-xenon functionality offer the benefits of xenon technology for both low and high beam. The headlamp units also include a facility for automatic and dynamic headlamp range adjustment. Using two sensors and an electronic computer unit, the position of the headlamp beams can be adapted automatically and dynamically, to take account of both the vehicle load as well as acceleration and braking. This dynamic function enhances safety when accelerating or braking sharply. Headlamp sensor. Switches the headlamps on and off automatically depending on the ambient light levels. This feature truly comes into its own when driving along roads which lead through a succession of tunnels. Rain sensor. The new León is premiering a rain sensor, which is located at the top of the windscreen on the front passenger side. The diminutive dimensions of this component and its positioning in the tinted zone of the windscreen mean that it is barely noticeable. Parking aid sensor. A rear-mounted parking aid sensor is also to be found amongst the equipment features offered by the new León. While the model’s highly advanced electronics repertoire is rounded off by features such as an auto-dimming rear-view mirror, cruise control, a trip computer and the “Coming Home” function. Tyre-pressure control. A further new feature in the new León is the system for monitoring the tyre pressure level. If the system detects a loss of pressure in one of the tyres it warns the driver by triggering a warning lamp in the instrument cluster. Once the tyre pressure has been corrected, a button in the transmission tunnel must be pressed so that the control unit can reinitialise, i.e. reset, the system. Speed warning system. The new León incorporates a speed warning system which can be programmed by the driver in the instrument cluster by using the trip computer controls. If the vehicle’s speed exceeds the speed programmed the system will issue an acoustic and visual warning to the driver. In the case of a dot-matrix display, this visual warning can appear in the form of a message. PASSIVE SAFETY For occupants and pedestrians alike The new SEAT León is the first ever model from the Spanish brand which has the option to be fitted with up to eight airbags. Every model rolls off the production line with six airbags as standard: driver and front passenger airbags, side airbags in the front and two curtain airbags. These can then be supplemented by the new optional side airbags for the rear. Up to eight airbags. Passive occupant protection in the new SEAT León is entrusted to the seat belts acting in unison with the six airbags (two front airbags, two front side airbags and two curtain airbags) fitted as standard in all the models in the range. In addition to the standard airbags, two rear side airbags maybe added as an option. This is the first time that the Spanish manufacturer has offered this feature in any of its models. The front passenger airbag may be deactivated by turning a lock inside the glove compartment using the ignition key. Upon deactivation an indicator lamp lights up in the instrument cluster showing that the airbag is not operational. It is important to stress, however, that all of the remaining airbags, including the driver’s airbag, the side airbags (front and rear) and the curtain airbags, remain active after the front passenger airbag has been deactivated. Securely fastened. All seats in the new León are equipped with three-point seat belts as standard, with the seats in the front also including pre-tensioners and belt force limiters, and the outer seats in the rear benefiting from dynamic belts including belt force limiters, with the vehicle’s own centre rear seat being designed to function as a force limiter. An acoustic signal on the driver’s side also sounds to remind passengers to fasten their seat belts if necessary. Sensory system. Pressure sensors have been integrated into the front doors to shorten the response time in the case of side-on collisions. These sensors combine with the acceleration sensors in the rear wheel arches and the airbag control unit situated in the transmission tunnel to detect an impact from the side within just seven milliseconds. In the case of a collision, the airbag control unit triggers the seat belts and airbags as appropriate, as well as releasing the vehicle’s central locking, shutting off the fuel pump and turning on the hazard warning lights and courtesy lights. Greater safety for pedestrians. The front end of the new León has been specially designed to minimise the injuries caused to pedestrians in a collision. The bonnet is capable of absorbing energy in a carefully controlled manner without losing any of its static or dynamic strength. Its hinge is collapsible to further increase deformation capacity during the impact. In addition to this, the nose of the car crumples in such a way as to minimise the damage caused to the tibia, fibula, knees and hips, without increasing the costs for repairing the car following head-on collisions at low speed. Protection for the smallest members of the family. The new León excels when it comes to child safety. SEAT has worked closely with child seat manufacturers to ensure that the child seat and car fuse together to form an integral unit that guarantees the highest possible level of protection for the smallest members of the family. RANGE Four trim lines The new León range offers four different trim lines: Reference, Sport, Stylance and Sport-up. Reference. Even the entry-level Reference trim features a comprehensive equipment level as standard, including elements such as ABS and TCS (can be deactivated), driver and front passenger airbags, side airbags in the front and curtain airbags, 16-inch wheels with 205/55 tyres, tyre-pressure control, Isofix anchorage points, front electric windows with one-touch control and anti-trap facility, electrically adjustable and heated door mirrors in body-color, remote controlled central locking incl. folding key with three buttons (with extra dedicated button for unlocking the boot), air conditioning, radio/CD unit with six speakers, height-adjustable driver’s seat, split-folding (1/3-2/3) rear seat backrest and trip computer (only in conjunction with the 2.0 TDI engine). Sport. This trim line offers the same standard specification as Reference, adding a sportier character and look – a suspension with stiffer springs, sports seats, exclusive interior styling, leather steering wheel with audio controls, leather gear knob, 16-inch five-spoke light-alloy wheels, trip computer and two extra speakers. Stylance. This model version supplements the Reference equipment package with features such as volumetric alarm, ESP, 16-inch seven-spoke light-alloy wheels shod with 205/55 tyres, front fog lights, twin-zone climate control, rear electric windows, door mirrors with electrical parking position, leather steering wheel with audio controls, leather gear knob, cruise control, trip computer, “Coming Home”function and two extra speakers. Sport-up. This trim line features the same specification as Stylance, plus 17-inch five-spoke light-alloy wheels, 225/45 tyres, sports suspension, sports seats and exclusive interior styling. Optional equipment Depending on the trim line selected, the comprehensive standard specification can be added to by selecting from the wide range of optional extras. Audio: * Steering-wheel controls plus two extra speakers * Radio/CD player with MP3 compatibility and steering-wheel controls * Bluetooth technology and radio/CD player with MP3 compatibility * 6-disc CD changer fitted underneath front passenger seat Practicality: * Navigation system with monochrome screen (including radio with MP3 player) * Dynamic navigation system with 6.5″ colour screen and Bluetooth technology * Cruise control and trip computer * Rain sensor with auto-dimming rear-view mirror * Rear-mounted acoustic parking sensor Fresh air: * Dual-zone climate control * Electrically operated glass sunroof with anti-trap facility Comfort & Convenience: * Rear electric windows and door mirrors with electrical parking position * Front fog lights * Bi-xenon headlamps * Heated windscreen washer nozzles and headlamp cleaning nozzles * Heated seats * Heated front windscreen * Trailer towing pre-fittings and 12V power socket in the boot Safety: * Rear side airbags * Volumetric alarm with backup battery * Front fog lights * ESP incl. EBA Style: * Dark-tinted windows * Metallic paintwork * 16″ light-alloy wheels with seven-spoke design (optional for Reference trim line) * 17″ llight-alloy wheels with five-spoke design (optional for Stylance trim line) * Leather upholstery Functionality: * Emergency spare wheel For more discussion on this story, click on the link to our discussion forums to the left. For more photos related to this story, click on the link to our gallery at the right.