SEAT will pull the covers off its hottest new Leon so far at next week’s Madrid Motor Show (25th May), with the world debut of the striking new FR. This fully fledged hot hatch boasts powerful engines (a 200 PS petrol and 170 PS diesel) with styling modifications to match.
Already arguably the most dynamic looking model in its segment, the arrival of the new FR sees the Leon step up another gear in the visual department. With a host of sporty design touches, the new Leon FR gives bystanders a clear message about its capabilities.
In particular, the front air intake design with honeycomb grille is very distinct from that found on other Leons, taking inspiration from the Leon Touring Cars of both the BTCC and WTCC. At the rear, the effect is equally dramatic, with a black mock-diffuser also inspired by the race-track. Silver-painted door mirrors and 17-inch alloy wheels (with 18-inch versions available as an option) complete the look.
The distinctive red and black ‘FR’ badge is proudly applied to not only the rear of the car, but also extensively throughout the sporty interior. It appears on the specially designed leather-covered steering wheel, unmistakable silver gearknob, within the rev counter (which, like the other dials, features a white background) and is embroidered on to the backrests of the sports seats.
Power is provided from a choice of two engines. Making its debut for the first time in a SEAT is a new turbocharged 2.0-litre T FSI petrol unit, developing 200 PS and, most notably, 280 Nm (207 lb ft) of pulling power from 1,800 to 5,000 rpm. This combination of power and torque allows not only thrilling top end performance, but also a level of flexibility at lower engine speeds not typically associated with hot hatches. The sprint from rest to 62 mph takes just 7.3 seconds while top speed, where permitted, is 142 mph.
The outgoing Leon FR was hugely popular in the UK in particular, accounting for over 40% of sales. Within the range, the 150 PS diesel version was the top-selling model outright, which makes the new 2.0-litre TDI powerplant highly significant. With 170 PS and a thumping 350 Nm (258 lb ft) of torque from its advanced 16-valve, unit-injector engine, the Leon TDI FR offers zesty performance with low fuel consumption of 47.1 mpg (provisional figure) on the combined cycle. Top speed is 133 mph, with 0 to 62 mph taking 8.2 seconds.
The Leon FR will arrive in the UK in July, with customer ordering opening in late May. UK prices and full specification details will be revealed after the Madrid Motor Show.Published 18 May 2006