SEAT auto news

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Seat reveals Leon-based X-Perience soft-roader [w/video]

06/24/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Wagons/Estates, Euro, Videos, Crossovers/CUVs, SEAT

Seat Leon X-Perience

In the market for a Volkswagen Golf but don't actually want a Volkswagen Golf? If you live in North America, your choices are limited to the Golf or, if you've got the scratch, the outgoing Audi A3. But if you live overseas, you can also opt for the Skoda Octavia or Seat Leon, which open up a whole array of possibilities. And this is the latest.

Rather unfortunately called X-Perience, you're looking at a soft-roader based on the Seat Leon ST wagon. Of course, there are some key upgrades to make it a bit more rugged, including all-wheel drive with electronic locking differentials. It also rides over half an inch higher off the ground, and has more lower body cladding including beefier side sills, aluminum under-bumper inserts and more prominent wheel arches packing 17- or 18-inch alloys. The interior remains largely the same, albeit with orange accents and optional leather or Alcantara trim.

Buyers (in markets where Seats are sold) will also be able to choose between a 1.8-liter turbo four with 178 horsepower, a 1.6-liter TDI diesel with 108 hp or a 2.0 TDI with either 148 hp or 181 hp. It's that top model responsible for propelling the soft-roader to 62 mph in 7.1 seconds and on to a top speed of 139 mph. Stop/start engine management help keep fuel consumption and emissions down to a minimum. Scope out the details in the press release under the video below for more details.

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Seat pondering more extreme Leon Cupra to answer Renault's Ring record

06/22/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Sports/GTs, Euro, Hatchbacks, SEAT

Seat Leon Cupra on the Nurburgring

In case you haven't been paying attention, there's a battle raging on between two European automakers over who makes the faster hot hatch. The battle ground has been the Nürburgring, where Seat and Renault have been going back and forth, taking the front-drive lap record away from each other.

First Renault set the bar with the previous Mégane R26.R that set an 8:16.9 lap time in 2008, then reset it with the newer Mégane Trophy in 2011 at 8:07.9. Years later, Seat picked up the gauntlet and ran it across the finish line in 7:58.44 with the new Leon Cupra. Not happy letting the Spanish automaker steal its thunder, the French team returned to Eifel this past weekend with the new Mégane Trophy-R and set a new FWD lap record at 7:54.36, knocking over four seconds off of Seat's time.

The big question, then, is whether Seat is going to return to reclaim the bragging rights it stole from Renault in the first place. And the answer is: probably. According to Auto Express, Seat is already working on a lighter - if not necessarily more powerful - version of the Leon that could reclaim those four seconds it lost to Renault.

As it is, the Seat in question was no ordinary Leon: it was the Leon Cupra, with the higher 280-horsepower output and a performance pack with bigger brakes and wheels, more extreme aero and semi-slick Michelin Pilot Sport 2 tires. The package will soon be available to customers as well, thereby legitimizing Seat's previous claim.

Renault took things even farther with the Trophy-R, though. As it is, the new Mégane RS 275 Trophy has ten more horses than the previous version, along with a titanium exhaust, Ohlins dampers and those same Michelin tires. Then the Trophy-R stripped out the seats, fitted a pair of Recaro buckets and more.

Seat could, according to Auto Express, ditch the back seats from the Leon Cupra 280, strip out some excess weight and maybe even give it an extra 20 or so horsepower to really stick it to Renault. It only has to make up four or five seconds on an eight-minute lap, after all. One thing it is not considering, however, is all-wheel drive. For one thing, that's the purview of the VW Golf R that shares much of its oily bits with the Leon. For another, that would disqualify it from claiming the front-drive record anyway. One way or another, we doubt this will be the last we'll hear of this particular rivalry.

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Seat Leon Cupra racecar dropped like it's hot

06/12/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Motorsports, Sports/GTs, Videos, Hatchbacks, SEAT, Racing

Seat Leon Racer drop

Crashes in racing are expected to happen at high speed with two drivers challenging each other to be the first one into a corner. They are not, however, supposed to happen like this. The poor Seat Leon Cupra racecar here goes out in the most humiliating way possible - a combination of gravity and human error.

In the video, the car is attached to a crane and is being hauled up a building. However, they apparently didn't tie the racer down (or at least, didn't tie it down enough), because what happens next is heart-wrenching. The shocked silence that briefly follows says it all. Scroll down to watch a very expensive case of human error in action.

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Seat Leon Cupra race car dropped like it's hot

06/12/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Motorsports, Sports/GTs, Videos, Hatchbacks, SEAT, Racing

Seat Leon Racer drop

Crashes in racing are expected to happen at high speed with two drivers challenging each other to be the first one into a corner. They are not, however, supposed to happen like this. The poor Seat Leon Cupra racecar here goes out in the most humiliating way possible - a combination of gravity and human error.

In the video, the car is attached to a crane and is being hauled up a building. However, they apparently didn't tie the racer down (or at least, didn't tie it down enough), because what happens next is heart-wrenching. The shocked silence that briefly follows says it all. Scroll down to watch a very expensive case of human error in action.

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Seat Ibiza Cupster celebrates nameplate's 30th anniversary

05/22/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Concept Cars, Convertibles, Sports/GTs, SEAT

Seat Ibiza Cupster

More automakers need events like the annual Wörthersee Treffen in Austria from Volkswagen Group. It offers a chance for the automotive giant's designers to go wild and create one-offs that wouldn't get made otherwise. This year Audi has its 525-horsepower A3 Clubsport Quattro for the show, and this quirky Ibiza Cupster is the creation of Seat.

The Cupster is Seat Design's stylish way to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Ibiza. Mechanically, it's a standard Ibiza Cupra 1.4 TSI with 178 horsepower and a DSG dual-clutch transmission, but the look is entirely unique. The little roadster is missing its roof, and it's replaced by a shortened, wraparound windshield and cut down side windows. It features metallic roll hoops above the seats that connect to a dark gray tonneau cover and leads to an integrated spoiler at the rear. The body is lowered and widened compared to the stock version, and it is all topped off with a coat of New Orange paint. The interior also gets a few upgrades with sport seats, Alcantara upholstery and a steering wheel in aniline leather. It's weird to see a subcompact hatchback turn into a coupe, but it kind of works here.

Like most of VW Group's creations for Wörthersee, there is no chance the Cupster actually sees production. It's just an opportunity to show off, and good for Seat Design for trying it. Scroll down for all of the details in the official announcement.

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Seat confirms first SUV is on the way

03/27/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: SUVs, Euro, Crossovers/CUVs, SEAT

Seat IBX Concept

If you're traveling overseas and happen upon a Seat showroom, you can expect to see a lot of lift-gates. You'll see them on city cars, hatchbacks, wagons and minivans, but with the sole exception of the rebadged old Audi A4 they call the Exeo - which is available as either a sedan or, again, as a wagon - they've all got hatches at the back, not trunks. The one thing it's been missing is an SUV or crossover, but that's just what the Spanish automaker has in the works.

Seat revealed a concept crossover called the IBX at the Geneva Motor Show way back in 2011, but now it's putting it (or something like it) into production. The model is being developed by Seat at its headquarters in Martorell, and will hit European showrooms in 2016. Little in the way of details were disclosed in the official announcement below, but you can bet that the Seat sport-ute, whatever it will be called, will share much from the Volkswagen Group parts bin. In particular, it's almost certain to use a lot of parts used in the Q3 that Seat builds for Audi in Spain.

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Seat Leon Cupra driving simulator is not what you think it is

03/25/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Sports/GTs, Euro, Videos, Hatchbacks, SEAT

Seat Simulator

Racing simulators have come a long way in recent years. As computers have gotten quicker, developers have been able to create more sophisticated models that practically bring real-world driving to the screen. Volkswagen's Spanish brand, Seat, has harnessed a bit of this cutting-edge tech to give its fans an all-too-real taste of the new Leon Cupra a few weeks before the car begins deliveries in Europe.

The simulator combines hydraulic rams to replicate the hatchback's pitch and roll with sophisticated sound programming that even recreates the turbo's whistle during gearshifts as its occupants race around a waterfront shipping dock. The two unsuspecting guys in the car seem suitably amazed when they get out at the end, and we're betting you'll get a kick out of this video as well.

By way of refresher, this latest Leon Cupra packs a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder available with either 261 horsepower or 276 hp and a choice of a six-speed manual or six-speed dual-clutch gearbox. It's quite a hot hatch, given that a version with the optional Performance Pack recently set a new front-wheel drive, production car record around the Nürburgring. The latest Seat won't be coming to these shores, of course, but you can scroll down to watch the short promo and let us know if you think this video simulator stunt is real or staged.

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Seat Leon Cupra is the new front-drive King of the Ring [w/video]

03/06/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Sports/GTs, Geneva Motor Show, Videos, Hatchbacks, SEAT

SEAT Leon Cupra

We know you might be thinking that this is just another Volkswagen Golf clone. But what you're actually looking at is the new King of the Ring.

That is, as far as hot hatches go. Because here in Geneva, VW's Spanish subsidiary Seat has confirmed what we reported a couple of days ago: that the Leon Cupra has taken the new lap record for front-drive production cars at the Nürburging. The Cupra 280 equipped with the new Performance Pack clocked a time of 7:58.4, making it not only the quickest front-driver ever to lap the vaunted Nordschleife, but also the first to crack the eight-minute barrier.

Based on the same MQB architecture as the Golf, the amped-up Cupra version of the new Leon packs a 2.0-liter turbo four available with either 261 or 276 horsepower, with three doors or five, and with a six-speed manual or DCT. Unfortunately we don't get any of these versions in North America - where we'll just have to settle for the more powerful VW Golf R - but you can scope it out in the gallery of live images above. Oh, you can also see what happens when you connect that Cupra 280 engine to a washing machine in the video below.

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Geneva: Seat Leon Cupra is the new front-drive King of the Ring [w/video]

03/05/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Sports/GTs, Geneva Motor Show, Videos, Hatchbacks, SEAT

SEAT Leon Cupra

We know you might be thinking that this is just another Volkswagen Golf clone. But what you're actually looking at is the new King of the Ring.

That is, as far as hot hatches go. Because here in Geneva, VW's Spanish subsidiary Seat has confirmed what we reported a couple of days ago: that the Leon Cupra has taken the new lap record for front-drive production cars at the Nürburging. The Cupra 280 equipped with the new Performance Pack clocked a time of 7:58.4, making it not only the quickest front-driver ever to lap the vaunted Nordschleife, but also the first to crack the eight-minute barrier.

Based on the same MQB architecture as the Golf, the amped-up Cupra version of the new Leon packs a 2.0-liter turbo four available with either 261 or 276 horsepower, with three doors or five, and with a six-speed manual or DCT. Unfortunately we don't get any of these versions in North America - where we'll just have to settle for the more powerful VW Golf R - but you can scope it out in the gallery of live images above. Oh, you can also see what happens when you connect that Cupra 280 engine to a washing machine in the video below.

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Video: Did Seat take FWD Nurburgring lap record with new Leon Cupra?

03/03/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Sports/GTs, Euro, Videos, Hatchbacks, SEAT

Seat Leon Cupra at the Nurburgring

While Porsche and McLaren vie for sub-seven-minute lap records at the Nürburgring, there's another hotly contested category, and it's not for the fastest time of any vehicle. It applies specifically to front-wheel-drive cars, and is contested between European hot hatches.

The record was set and the gauntlet thrown down by Renault in 2008 with the Megane R26.R, which clocked a lap time of 8:16.90, and then again with the newer Megane RS Trophy at 8:07.97. Honda has made no secret of its desire to claim the record with the upcoming Civic Type R, and Opel could very well take it with the new Astra Extreme, but before either of them could get to it, it appears that Seat has taken the lead.

According to the video below, Volkswagen's Spanish brand recently set a lap time of 7:58.44 with the new Leon Cupra (likely the 280-horsepower version) while testing on the Nordschleife. That would make it nearly ten seconds faster than the previous record, and place it ahead of purpose-built, performance-focused, mid-engined vehicles like the Alfa Romeo 4C and Porsche Cayman, which would be damn impressive if verified.

The video was leaked out on YouTube and not accompanied thus far with any official information from Seat, so there's always the possibility this is a hoax. But with footage spliced together from inside the car, alongside the track and overhead from a helicopter, the hoax would be almost as impressive as the purported lap time itself.

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