SEAT Leon history
Leon MK1 (1M)
The initial SEAT León (Volkswagen Group Typ 1M), launched in 1999, was the hatchback version of the SEAT Toledo. It was based on the Volkswagen Group A4 (PQ34) platform and, as such, shared many components in common with other VW Group models such as the Volkswagen Golf Mk4, Bora and Audi A3. As SEAT’s first C-segment model as part of the VW Group, the León Mk1 was marketed as a sportier and cheaper variant of the Golf. To reinforce the sporty image, the vehicle had slightly more aggressive looks. The more expensive versions were equipped with powerful internal combustion engines, along with firmer suspension to improve handling. In the interior, the dashboard was derived from that of the first-generation Audi A3.
Available engines were the 1.4 litre 16 valve petrol engine which produced a 55 kilowatts (75 PS; 74 bhp), a 1.6 litre 8 valve petrol engine 74 kilowatts (101 PS; 99 bhp) (quickly replaced with a 16 valve 77 kilowatts (105 PS; 103 bhp) unit), and included two variants of the Volkswagen Group’s 20 valve turbocharged 1.8 litre powerplant, (with some countries also getting the 2.8 litre VR6 engine delivering 150 kilowatts (204 PS; 201 bhp). The original “León Cupra” (which later became known as the “Cupra T”) had a 1.8 litre Turbo with 132 kilowatts (179 PS; 177 bhp), and the “León Cupra R” 154 kilowatts (209 PS; 207 bhp), later becoming 165 kilowatts (224 PS; 221 bhp).
In some countries, there was also a “Cupra 4”, equipped with a 2.8 litre VR6 delivering 150 kilowatts (204 PS; 201 bhp) equipped with four-wheel drive, based on the same Haldex Traction multi-plate clutch as the Volkswagen Golf 4motion.
A range of Turbocharged Direct Injection (TDI) diesel engines was available, including a 110 kilowatts (150 PS; 148 bhp) version of Volkswagen Group’s 1.9 TDI engine, originally sold as a “Cupra 4 TDI”, with 4WD, that was sold for one year only, and only in certain countries, then passed to “Evolution” series, then “Top Sport”, and later rebranded as the “FR” (formula Racing). Lesser diesel versions were available with 66 kilowatts (90 PS; 89 bhp), 81 kilowatts (110 PS; 109 bhp) and 96 kilowatts (131 PS; 129 bhp) outputs.
All engines over 96 kilowatts (131 PS; 129 bhp) have a standard six-speed manual transmission. Rear suspension was by torsion beam for most variants, whilst high-end models were fitted with a multi-link independent rear suspension. All versions came with disc brakes on all four wheels (the front ventilated, and in some cars the rear too).
In Mexico, the León became a very popular car with upper class young people. The only problem the León has suffered in Mexico is the fact that the sport tuned suspension of the León is not designed to withstand the constant road imperfections such as potholes and speed bumps that abound in Mexican roads.
In Switzerland, there was another official version tuned by Abt Sportsline of the León called “SEAT León Cupra 4 Kompressor”. This version had the same 4WD and 2.8 litre VR6 but with 206 kilowatts (280 PS; 276 bhp) and 323 newton metres (238 ft·lbf) of torque.
Factory production of the Typ 1M ended in May 2006. However, the appreciation for the SEAT León Cupra R Mk1’s appeal remained clear still up to the ‘best hot hatchback of all time’ poll conducted in 2010 by the British magazine Autocar, in which its readers honoured the Cupra R with the seventh position in the top ten list of hatchbacks of all time in their preferences.
Leon MK2 (1P)
The MK2 León, Typ 1P, was released in 2005, with factory production commencing May 2005.It is based on the Volkswagen Group A5 (PQ35) platform, most notably used by the Volkswagen Golf Mk5. It is built in Spain, and has a sharper exterior look with vertically parked windscreen wipers, and the external rear door handles more integrated, in a similar style to that seen on recent Alfa Romeo models. Design was handled by Walter de’Silva, and the car uses the same design style that started with the SEAT Altea.
The base model on offer is the new 16 valve 1.2 litre TSI petrol engine with 77 kilowatts (105 PS; 103 bhp). In some markets (e.g. Greece), the Leon is available with a 1.4 litre MPI engine producing 63 kilowatts (86 PS; 84 bhp). The sportier variants begin with the 110 kilowatts (150 PS; 148 bhp) 2.0 litre Fuel Stratified Injection (FSI) and the popular 103 kilowatts (140 PS; 138 bhp) 2.0 litre Turbocharged Direct Injection (TDI) diesel engine. Both are fitted with a standard six-speed manual transmission, with the six-speed or seven-speed Direct-Shift Gearbox (DSG) available as an option. A 136 kilowatts (185 PS; 182 bhp) variant of the 2.0 TFSI unique to the León was later introduced, but despite a low list price and rapid performance – attracted only minimal attention and average reviews, so this was later discontinued to make way for the sportier FR variants.
The first real sporty León within the new range is the León FR with rear twin-exhaust pipes to one side, sport seats and gear stick with FR logo to distinguish it from lesser models, was introduced in June 2006, when it finally received the 147 kilowatts (200 PS; 197 bhp) 2.0 TFSI engine from the Volkswagen Golf Mk5 GTI, as well as a 125 kilowatts (170 PS; 168 bhp) variant of the 2.0 TDI unit featured in the Golf and Audi A3. Further standard equipment includes climate control air conditioning.
From 2008, the K1 variant of the León Cupra was introduced in the UK, featuring extensively re-worked front and rear bumpers, side skirts, a more pronounced tailgate spoiler. It also gained a unique chrome-tipped, centrally-mounted, oval exhaust. The K1 is considered to be a limited edition model, as production was only for the year 2008-2009 and it only being available in the UK.
Next in the range is the 2.0 TFSI Cupra model. It features a 177 kilowatts (241 PS; 237 bhp) engine, and a 0-100 kilometres per hour (62.1 mph) time of 6.4 seconds. The Cupra comes with standard 18″ 5 twin-spoke alloys, red brake calipers, and the standard Cupra oval exhaust, as well as new, unique paint finishes and bolstered sport seats complete with the Cupra logo. Also standard are drilled-aluminium sports pedals.
At the top of the range is the 2.0 TFSI Cupra R. This uses the same 265 bhp engine found in the Audi S3, Golf and Scirocco R. Capable of 0-62 in 6.2 seconds and a top speed limited to 155 mph.
Leon MK3 (5F)
The Current third generation of the León is based on the Volkswagen Group’s latest MQB platform. And has won numerous award’s
Compared to the previous generation, the León Mk3 is shorter by 5 cm (2 in) and lighter by up to 90 kilograms; however, because of its extended by 5.8 cm (2.3 in) wheelbase it has a roomier cabin, with greater shoulder room for the front and rear passengers, more rear legroom and 380 litres (13 cu ft) of boot space.
It features new safety equipment, such as driver knee airbag, and a number of new safety systems, including (often as standard) a multi-collision braking system to automatically brake the car after an accident in order to avoid a second collision, a lane-keeping assistant, and driver fatigue detection. The braking system includes a hill-start assistant.
In the interior, there is a driver-oriented centre console hosting a 5.8-inch touch-screen infotainment display with some models featuring a proximity sensor, also used in the Volkswagen Golf, as well as ambient lighting.
A new feature available for the first time in its class are the optional full-LED headlamps combined with a full beam assistant, offering numerous advantages as the improved illumination with a close to the daylight colour temperature, the low energy consumption and their extended life cycle. Front fog lights can include a cornering feature.
The higher specification also have a new “SEAT Drive Profile” system which allows the driver to choose between four different driving settings: eco, normal, sport, and an individual setting. This system controls the behaviour of the engine, steering, and DSG gearbox. Additionally, the 1.8 TSI 180PS and 2.0 TDI 184PS engine-equipped models will vary their engine sound via a sound actuator, as well as their interior ambient lighting between white (normal, eco and individual) and red (sport).
SEAT announced in early 2012 that the range will include for the first time three-door and estate models in addition to a five-door.
In September 2013, SEAT officially unveiled the Leon ST (estate model) at the Frankfurt Motor Show. The Leon ST extends the Leon’s maximum load capacity to 1470 litres and is available in Europe in three different versions and eleven different engine options.
Then in March 2014 we had the Cupra in 265(ps) and 280(ps) versions. Powered by a 2.0 TSI available in Sport Coupe, 5 Door and will also be available in ST Versions