SEAT – the sporty, design-driven Spanish brand – is adding a big dose of Mediterranean flair to this year's British International Motor Show with a stunning and diverse line-up of cars.  Undoubted star of the stand and, arguably, the Show is the tantalising SEAT Ibiza SportCoupé which makes its world debut at ExCeL, though a host of other model highlights ensure that the little beauty is far from the only attraction.

The SportCoupé's family-friendly sibling in the Ibiza line-up, the 5dr, is also a UK show debutant just days after making its showroom debut at SEAT dealerships around the country.  With a healthy order bank and positive Press reception already established, the slick, sporty Ibiza is on course to cement its success with the public at ExCeL.

Meanwhile SEAT's hugely relevant Ecomotive range of green machines, launched at the turn of the year with the fuel-sipping Ibiza Ecomotive, sees two important additions with the UK show debuts of the Leon Ecomotive and Alhambra Ecomotive.  Using similarly sensible fuel-saving tweaks as the Ibiza (revised engine management, aerodynamic alterations, low rolling resistance tyres and ultra-green DPF diesel particulate filter technology, among other things) the Leon Ecomotive and Alhambra Ecomotive bring top notch economy and reduced CO2 emissions to two massive segments of the UK car market.

SEAT's perennially popular Leon range gets a boost with the debut of one of a brace of models.  The Leon Emoción offers enhanced equipment and value, plus even more style, at an affordable price.  Meanwhile the Spaniards' most extreme Leon – the fire-breathing 240 PS Cupra – stands out at the Show courtesy of a Speed Blue paint job, one of a selection of fashionable shades set to be made available to Cupra buyers later this year.

In London, the British Touring Car Championship Leon naturally reinforces the sporting, race-bred prowess of the SEAT brand.  Boasting ground-breaking TDI turbodiesel technology, the oil-burning BTCC racer has already proved its mettle with historic wins in the 2008 championship.  Star drivers Jason Plato and Darren Turner are unlocking the full potential of the 280 PS motor and are looking forward to more track success throughout the second half of the BTCC season.

That race-bred diesel transfers to the road in the form of the Leon FR 2.0 TDI, on show at ExCeL.  With a more manageable 170 PS from the same 2.0 TDI that sits in the BTCC car, the 135 mph FR offers a rare mix of excitement and economy at an accessible price.

Finally, other SEAT representatives at the show include the full suite of flexible, family-friendly Altea models namely the Altea, Altea XL and Altea Freetrack 4.

SEAT Ibiza SportCoupé

Sporty, design-driven supermini breaks cover

  • Ibiza SportCoupé boasts unique profile – shorter and lower than Ibiza 5dr
  • Strong resemblance to stunning Bocanegra concept car shown at Geneva this year
  • Sits on Agile Chassis platform (with 5dr, first application in Volkswagen Group);  independent front suspension, torsion beam rear
  • First application in supermini sector of full ‘double clutch' DSG automatic/ sequential manual gearbox technology via optional, seven-speed, Direct Shift Gearbox
  • First production vehicle created solely under the direction of SEAT Design Director Luc Donckerwolke, formerly Lamborghini design chief
  • Introduction of distinct SportCoupé body style to visually differentiate from 5dr
  • Length 4034 mm; width 1693 mm; height 1428 mm
  • Wheelbase 2469 mm (up 9 mm over outgoing Ibiza 3dr).  Boot space with split folding rear seats in place is up 17 litres to 284 litres
  • As with the Ibiza 5dr, SEAT is making the Ibiza range clearer to understand courtesy of a set of model names.  Out go the existing Reference, Reference Sport and Stylance designations.  In their place come the more widely-understood S, SE and Sport nomenclatures
  • Availability of innovative technology such as Hill Hold Control; combined AUX-IN and USB connectivity for music devices; clever sat/nav docking port; Bluetooth hands-free phone connectivity; front fog lights with side illumination (cornering) function
  • Launched in UK with a broad range of 4-valve per cylinder petrol engines.  SportCoupé will initially offer a frugal 1.2-litre, three cylinder 70 PS; tractable 1.4-litre, four cylinder 85 PS; and 1.6-litre, four cylinder 105 PS.  Further engine options, including a choice of diesels, are set to be introduced in 2009
  • Prices to be announced closer to autumn on-sale date

With production totalling more than four million since its introduction more than 20 years ago, and just shy of 200,000 of those sold in the UK, the Ibiza is SEAT's best selling model to date.  This energetic Spanish supermini is the most overtly sporty car in its class; every Ibiza guarantees a young, dynamic attitude.

2008 SEAT Ibiza SportCoupé picks up the sporting baton and races with it. With two fewer doors and an even more svelte shape than its stylish five-door supermini sibling, the sassy SportCoupé is tailored very clearly towards drivers keen to mix fun and functionality with a head-turning shape.

The SportCoupé's bespoke silhouette – at 1,428 mm it is 17 mm lower than the five-door with a markedly different and more aggressive design treatment throughout – clearly signals the sporting intentions of the latest addition to the new Ibiza family.

And that dedication to driving excitement is underlined by the newcomer's technical highlights which include the option of cutting edge seven-speed DSG double clutch gearbox technology – a world first for the supermini segment.

The ultra slick-shifting automatic/sequential manual ‘box will be available on 105 PS 1.6-litre versions of the car, while crisp handling and a composed ride are assured courtesy of the Ibiza SC's supermini platform – the first application of this particular engineering base within the Volkswagen Group.

There's also a different interpretation of designer Luc Donckerwolke's ‘Arrow Design', with lowered headlights and repositioned radiator grille serving to reinforce the muscular motor's obvious kerb appeal.

Precise engine and trim combos have yet to be confirmed, although it's already clear that more potent FR and Cupra versions of the Ibiza will certainly sport SC styling when they make their debuts over the coming months.

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SEAT Ibiza 5dr

Drive in style with chic, sporty supermini

  • Ibiza sitting on ‘Agile Chassis' platform (first application in Volkswagen Group).  Independent front suspension, torsion beam rear
  • First application of full ‘double clutch' DSG automatic/sequential manual gearbox technology in the sector with optional, seven-speed, Direct Shift Gearbox
  • Introduction of distinct, and distinctive, five-door bodystyle
  • Larger, inside and out.  Length 4052mm; width 1693mm; height 1445mm
  • Boot space with split folding rear seats in place has grown to an exceptional 292 litres (to sill); 554 litres (seats down, to sill) and 847 litres (seats down, to roof)
  • Major emphasis on safety with top-performing Euro NCAP five star status achieved.  Availability of the latest generation ESP, driver and passenger front and front side curtain airbags, rear side curtain airbags, front passenger airbag deactivation, driver and front passenger seatbelt reminder, remote central locking, ISOFIX rear child seat anchoring points
  • Generous comfort and convenience features with ALL models featuring one-shot anti-trap electric front windows, remote central locking, electro hydraulic power steering and six-speaker MP3-compatible CD stereo radio with steering column-mounted controls
  • Optional equipment, depending on model, includes ‘big car' features such as ultra bright Bi-xenon headlights with AFS ‘cornering' and ‘coming home' functions (Bi-xenon technology is a first for the class), tyre pressure monitoring and warning system, automatic lights, rain-sensing windscreen wipers, combined AUX-IN and USB connectivity, auto-dimming rear view mirror, rear parking sensors and integrated Bluetooth hands-free telephony
  • Ibiza range is the first production SEAT line-up to be developed under the control of President Schmitt. The ex-Audi board member is driving a major quality initiative via new, regular, early morning ‘parts clinics' with suppliers, and the stated aim of delivering significant improvements without compromising cost competitiveness

Value and quality, as well as style, are key to the appeal of the Ibiza 5dr.  SEAT has confirmed its family-sized supermini will cost from just £8,995 RRP – a saving of more than £300 over the outgoing range's entry-level 1.2 Ibiza Reference Sport 5dr.

At the same time, SEAT has made the Ibiza range clearer to understand courtesy of a set of model names.  Out go the existing Reference, Reference Sport and Stylance designations. In their place come the more widely-understood S, SE and Sport nomenclatures.

In line with SEAT's aim of offering ultra-competitive levels of equipment as standard, every Ibiza 5dr model arrives with an impressive array of comfort, style and safety features included.  Thus, even entry-level S 1.2 versions include the likes of a height- and reach-adjustable steering wheel; height adjustable driver's seat; speed-sensitive electrohydraulic power steering; electric front windows; driver, front passenger and head-thorax front side airbags; ABS braking; rolling code immobiliser; remote central locking and six-speaker FM/AM RDS radio with MP3-compatible CD player, steering column-mounted remote audio controls and AUX input.

Move up to the Ibiza SE and the selection of styling, comfort and equipment features grows further to include goodies such as body-coloured door mirrors and handles; electrically-adjustable and heated door mirrors; electric rear windows; cruise control; air conditioning; trip computer; height adjustable passenger seat and 15-inch alloy wheels.

Sport versions of the Latin newcomer include, naturally enough, an array of sports-orientated additions including sports suspension; sports seats; arch-filling 16-inch alloy wheels and leather-clad steering wheel and gearknob.

What are anticipated to be the most popular options have been bundled together into handy packs, too, with the Convenience Pack (available on SE and Sport models) offering rear parking sensors, rain-sensing wipers, auto-dimming rear view mirror and ‘coming home' headlight function for £250 RRP.

Meanwhile, the SE Design Pack includes a custom-styled dashboard, folding front centre arm rest, storage pack and leather steering wheel and gear knob for a modest £210 RRP.

Electronic Stability Programme (ESP), which also includes Emergency Brake Assist (EBA), is bundled into a pack which also adds tyre pressure monitoring and SEAT's unique Hill-Hold Control function.  The pack's available across the range for only £280 RRP.

And there's great news on insurance groups, with the Ibiza five-door gaining particularly competitive ratings ranging from Group 2 for the frugal S 1.2 to Group 5 for the lively Sport 1.6.

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SEAT Ibiza, Leon and Alhambra Ecomotive

Lean, green driving machines

  • Top notch economy and CO2 emissions from the most economical Ibiza, Leon and Alhambra to date
  • Improved fuel efficiency of up to 88.3 mpg (Ibiza); 76.3 mpg (Leon) and 57.6 mpg (Alhambra)
  • CO² emissions slashed to just 99 g/km, 119 g/km and 159 g/km respectively
  • Leon's range of more than 900 miles between fill-ups has allowed it to drive from the SEAT factory at Martorell, Barcelona to London with fuel to spare
  • Leon's improved performance sees 0-62 mph time down to 10.9 seconds (reduced by almost half a second from the standard Leon 1.9 TDI's time of 11.3 seconds)
  • All Ecomotives have no complex or costly hybrid technology.  The cars improve economy and reduce emissions by maximising efficiency of conventional turbodiesel engines, thereby allowing a very attractive pricing structure
  • SEAT's addition of an ultra-efficient, maintenance-free DPF (Diesel Particulate Filter) to all three models further cuts the already low levels of soot emissions from the exhaust.  The ECU constantly checks the filter condition and activates regeneration when necessary to burn off accumulated soot particles

With fuel prices at the front of many a hard-pressed motorist's mind, the rolling launch through 2008 of SEAT's fuel-sipping Ecomotive models could not be more timely.  The use of common sense measures to cut both fuel consumption and CO2 emissions means all three cars are making a big impact among buyers eager to minimise their carbon footprint, but who are unwilling to pay the earth for their next car.

First, and in showrooms now, comes Ibiza Ecomotive.  This important addition to the Ibiza line-up combines cutting-edge engineering and SEAT's trademark sporty styling to deliver a car that's as exciting to drive as it is to look at.

The firm's engineers have wrung every ounce of economy from the already efficient Ibiza 1.4 TDI model (on which this car is based) to allow exceptional carbon dioxide emissions of just 99 g/km, remarkable combined fuel economy of more than 74 mpg and yet a spirited 0-62 mph time of just 12.8 seconds.

As with the rest of the Ecomotive range, SEAT has rejecting the potentially expensive and complex hybrid powertrain route, instead focusing on squeezing ultra-economical performance from its advanced three-cylinder turbo-diesel engine.

Software is added to the characterful powerplant's ECU, while particulate emissions are further reduced thanks to the addition of a state-of-the-art Diesel Particulate Filter (DPF).  Meanwhile, gear ratios in the Ibiza Ecomotive's smooth-shifting five-speed manual gearbox are lengthened, making for both more relaxed cruising and improved economy.

The same techniques, including the use of low rolling resistance tyres and modest aerodynamic enhancements keep a lid on Leon and Alhambra Ecomotive emissions, too.

But while the engineers have obviously been keen to save weight, the cars have not skimped on creature comforts: minimum specifications across the range include (at least) manual air conditioning, electric front windows, MP3-compatible single-disc CD/radio and speed-sensitive electro hydraulic power steering.

The larger Leon Ecomotive takes as its base the 1.9-litre TDI-powered car which appears in the range in Reference, Emoción and luxurious Stylance trims.  Compared with the standard 1.9-litre TDI on which the Ecomotive's engine is based, this 105 PS version has been substantially modified at the SEAT Technical Centre.

The result?  Highly impressive efficiency of up to 76.3 mpg  (62.8 mpg combined, 47 mpg urban), and CO² emissions slashed to just 119 g/km (down 16 g/km from the standard 1.9 TDI's 135 g/km).

Meanwhile, the SEAT Alhambra has long been recognised as one of the best-specified, best-looking and best value MPVs on the market. It has won the Best MPV Award from the respected industry journal, Fleet News, a total of three times in 2000, 2001, 2003; confirmation of its enduring appeal.  It has also been recognised by Used Car Buyer magazine as its Best MPV (2002, 2003) because of its outstanding value, high specification, fitness for purpose, image, reliability, low running costs and strong residual values.

Now, in Ecomotive guise, the Alhambra adds impressive fuel economy to the package.  The capacious seven-seater is good for 36.2 mpg around town, 57.6 mpg on the extra urban cycle and a commendable 47.1 mpg combined.  Add CO2 emissions of just 159 g/km to the mix, and the Alhambra Ecomotive's appeal is crystal clear.

Priced at £19,145 RRP, the green variant of SEAT's perennially popular seven-seater is set to arrive in showrooms in the next few weeks.

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Leon Emoción, and cool new Leon Cupra colours

Expanded model range and new colour options for SEAT's sexy five-door

  • Generously-equipped Leon models underscore SEAT's sporty, value-led appeal
  • Leon Emoción is for model year 2009 and making its show debut in London
  • Choice of willing yet frugal petrol or diesel powerplants
  • Equipment highlights include 16" alloys and steering wheel-mounted audio controls
  • Range-topping Leon Cupra to get bold palette of high fashion paint colours
  • Speed Blue available on SEAT's 240 PS hot hatch for the first time
  • More bespoke colours to debut later in the year

New for SEAT's recently-announced model year 2009 comes the Leon Emoción, a keenly-priced creation permanent addition to the range that's based on the entry-level Leon Reference but boasts subtle styling and equipment upgrades designed to lift it comfortably above the crowd.

Powered by either a slick 1.6-litre, 102 PS petrol or frugal 1.9-litre 105 PS TDI diesel, the Emoción model adds sporty 16" ‘Badia' alloy wheels and front fog lights, plus the convenience and safety boost which springs from steering wheel-mounted audio controls.

The newcomer costs from just £13,250 RRP (for the 1.6 petrol) rising to £14,350 RRP for the 1.9 TDI.

Alternatively, Leon buyers after an even more exhilarating motoring experience can now consider the appeal of the Leon Sport.  Powered by either SEAT's new, state-of-the-art 125 PS 1.4-litre TSI turbocharged petrol engine or frugal yet fiery 140 PS 2.0-litre TDI, the Stylance-based Sport offers air conditioning, 17" ‘Aquila' alloys, grippy sports seats and dynamic sports suspension among its unique selling points.

Capable of hustling from 0 to 62 mph in a crisp 9.3 seconds (2.0 TDI) or 9.8 seconds (1.4 TSI), and offering up to 50.4 mpg on the combined cycle (2.0 TDI) the Leon Sport firmly ticks the box marked ‘environmentally responsible' courtesy of official CO2 emissions set at just 147 g/km (2.0 TDI) or a modest 155 g/km for the 1.4 TSI petrol engine.

The price?  £14,795 RRP for the 1.4 TSI Sport, £16,995 RRP for the 2.0 TDI Sport, and £17,995 RRP for the 2.0 TDI Sport with ultra quick-shifting DSG auto/sequential manual gearbox in place of the standard six-speed manual.

At the very top of the Leon family tree sits the undisputed king of auto emoción, the SEAT Leon Cupra.  Already renowned for its grace and pace, the fire-breathing Spaniard is soon to become available in a variety of bold colours.

The UK's first Speed Blue Leon Cupra is turning heads at ExCeL, while other similarly striking hues are lined up for introduction later in the year.  At the same time, precise pricing will be confirmed for the bespoke exterior colour options.

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SEAT Altea family – Altea, Altea XL and Altea Freetrack 4

An Altea for every occasion

  • Altea is a compact MPV with a twist – offering not only more sporty styling than the competition but also a genuinely involving drive and, in the FR, the promise of performance potent enough to catch more than the odd hot hatch driver off guard
  • Created by Walter de'Silva and his team at SEAT's impressive Technical Centre, Altea became the first model of the SEAT generation, with the now trademark ‘Dynamic Line' clearly visible from the side
  • FR is the most overtly sporty Altea, available with a choice of 200 PS petrol or 170 PS diesel engines for genuine high performance
  • Simple line-up consists of Reference, Reference Sport, Stylance and FR
  • XL is longer, more estate-like version of standard Altea, with extra luggage capacity
  • Targeted very much at families, with more space than other cars in its sector
  • Combines stylish SEAT design with huge practicality and keen driving dynamics
  • Same appearance as Altea up to the B-pillars, with revised rear section including attractive split tail lights.  Roof rails are fitted as standard
  • Inside, modifications include 2cm greater range of movement of the sliding rear seat, for even more generous leg room
  • Increased in length by 18.7 cm compared with Altea
  • Standard boot capacity of Altea XL is 532 litres as opposed to already generous 409 litres offered by Altea.  With Altea XL's rear seats moved forwards by 14 cm, capacity is increased to 635 litres – more than all of its competitors
  • Total XL luggage capacity is 1,604 litres, with rear seats folded down
  • Altea Freetrack 4 is first all-road car from SEAT
  • Designed for off-road terrain, though not a fully-fledged ‘4x4'
  • Uses Haldex-type four-wheel drive, which has hydro-mechanical connection and electronic control.  In normal use, power is fully transferred to front wheels
  • 40 mm of extra ground clearance over Altea XL

The Altea (pronounced al-tay-a) is the model that not only spearheaded a generation of cars from SEAT but also brought innovative styling, fine handling and a distinctly sporting flavour to the hitherto decidedly ‘traditional' compact MPV segment.  In short, it's a car to enjoy and be proud of – so much more than just a family workhorse.

Created at SEAT's Technical Centre in Martorell, the Altea's nose features a bold radiator grille, bonnet and headlamp design, while the trademark SEAT Dynamic Line is clearly visible from the side.  Starting at the front wheel arch and descending gracefully over the doors to the rear wheel, this line highlights the Altea's bold profile and is the most recognisable characteristic of the Brand's current generation of cars.

The Altea is first and foremost a family car built to satisfy the growing demand for added room and functionality.  Despite its seemingly compact exterior dimensions and modest ‘footprint', the interior offers exceptional room in all five seats and the two-tiered 409-litre capacity boot (which becomes 510 litres with the rear seats slid forwards).

The car also parades many advanced technological features including TSI direct injection petrol engines and the groundbreaking dual-clutch DSG gearbox.  A sophisticated multi-link rear suspension and electro-mechanical power-assisted steering are other technical and design highlights.

The Altea boasts a broad spectrum of petrol and diesel engines which all deliver more than 100 PS.  The petrol range comprises a 102 PS (75 kW) 1.6-litre and a sporty 200 PS (147 kW) 2.0-litre TSI, while diesels include a 105 PS (77 kW) 1.9-litre TDI, and a sophisticated 2.0-litre TDI unit with 140 PS (103 kW).

Underlining SEAT's commitment to lively, sporty driving the firm offers two potent FR versions of the Altea driven, as you might expect, by the two most powerful and exciting engines in the line-up: a 200 PS (147 kW) 2.0-litre TSI petrol, and a 170 PS (125 kW) 2.0-litre TDI diesel with DPF.  This brace of FR options are the most sporty and performance-oriented models in the range and, indeed, are among the most exciting cars in their class.  The FR badge brings race-track styling touches and an enthusiastic driving experience to the family driver who is young at heart and refuses to settle for a run-of-the-mill family hatchback.

Of course, as a family car, the Altea also takes safety very seriously.  Comprehensive active safety systems include ABS, TCS (Traction Control System) and ESP (Electronic Stability Programme – on FR models) with a built-in emergency braking system (EBA).  The classic indicators of modern safety credentials are a healthy collection of Euro NCAP stars, and the Altea is well placed in this regard boasting five stars for Occupant Safety, four stars for Child Protection and a creditable three stars for Pedestrian Protection.

In addition to the extensive engine choice, the Altea is available in four distinct specifications: Reference, Reference Sport, luxurious Stylance and, at the top, sporty FR.

With the Altea XL, SEAT brings ‘auto emoción' to another car category – the family estate car.  Clearly a part of the Altea family, the XL adds 18.7 cm in length to create the largest luggage capacity in its class and, in turn, one of the most stylish estate cars on the market.

As its name suggests, the five-seat XL is an Altea aimed at those customers who need more space than that provided by the ‘standard' Altea.  Anyone who was previously attracted to the Altea's svelte lines and sporty image, but found that it did not meet their needs in terms of space, now has the perfect package.  For the record, maximum boot space (with rear seats upright) is 532 litres, as opposed to an already generous 409 litres in the Altea.

Compared with rivals such as the Ford Focus estate, Vauxhall Astra estate, Peugeot 307 SW and Renault Mégane Sport Tourer, the SEAT Altea XL offers plenty of style and space for the money.

Last in this trio, but certainly not least, comes the Altea Freetrack 4.  Clearly a part of the Altea family, the Altea Freetrack 4 is SEAT's first full 4x4 and benefits from Haldex four-wheel drive, tough-looking bodywork enhancements and a raised ride height.

Based on the Altea XL the Freetrack 4 is the most comprehensively equipped model in the Altea family.  As one would expect from SEAT and its performance image, its first offering in the crossover segment boasts exclusively powerful direct-injection 2.0-litre engines: a 200 PS TSI petrol and 170 PS TDI diesel.

Inspired by the Freetrack concept car shown at the 2007 Geneva Motor Show, the four-wheel drive vehicle is the work of SEAT's Design Director Luc Donckerwolke, who joined the brand from Lamborghini in 2005.  It is essentially three cars in one: it has off-road capability, the space of a large family estate, plus the handling and performance of many a hot hatch.

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SEAT Sport UK Leon TDI BTCC car

Historic BTCC race-winning diesel grabs the motorsport spotlight

  • Diesel-powered 2008 British Touring Car Championship racer shows SEAT's engineering excellence, and spirit of adventure
  • Track car boasts a 280 PS version of 2.0 TDI powerplant that sits in SEAT's fiery Leon FR
  • SEAT Sport UK's star drivers Jason Plato and Darren Turner have steered the diesel racer to historic BTCC race victories in its debut season

SEAT is showing off its very special Leon race car at this year's British International Motor Show.  The race-prepared SEAT Sport UK Leon TDI is breaking ground in the world of British motorsport, building on the success of SEAT's diesel-driven WTCC cars which continue to dominate in races across the globe.

Scott Dennis, SEAT UK Motorsport Manager said: ‘More than 40% of cars sold in the UK last year were diesels, the Leon was the best-selling SEAT model in the UK and the sporty FR TDI derivative was the best-selling Leon, so there are strong marketing and commercial reasons why we are campaigning a pair of Leon TDIs in the 2008 British Touring Car Championship.

‘SEAT is pioneering the development of diesel engines in touring cars, and the Leon TDI has proven to be very competitive in the World Touring Car Championship.  We were the first manufacturer to win a World Touring Car race in a diesel-engined car, the first to win a British Touring Car race with a diesel and with half a season still to go, who knows how much more success we will record?'

SEAT Sport UK Leon TDI BTCC, 1 of 3
SEAT Sport UK Leon TDI BTCC, 2 of 3
SEAT Sport UK Leon TDI BTCC, 3 of 3