IN THE WORLD OF MOTORS
After the recent debut of the updated Toledo sedan and the Ibiza hatchback, the Spanish SEAT presented another, perhaps the most curious model, the Leon. And the point is not only that with this hatchback, SEAT is being introduced into the so-called lower middle sector, which accounts for about 33% of annual sales in Europe. It is no less interesting that, with the assistance of its rich “guardian” represented by Volkswagen AG, SEAT was able to implement several unusual technical solutions in this model.
First of all, it is worth saying that the top version of Leon is equipped with the most powerful engine ever produced by this company: the 180-horsepower turbocharged gasoline engine can rightly be called one of the most powerful in its class. To maximize its capabilities, a six-speed manual gearbox with close gear ratios was first designed at SEAT.
And finally, the main thing: “Leon” became the first serial four-wheel drive SEAT! In favorable road conditions, it behaves like an ordinary front-wheel drive car. With the change, their new system, having processed data on the speed of rotation of the wheels, the crankshaft and the position of the accelerator pedal, directs the necessary moment to the rear axle. This "action" takes place with the help of an electronically controlled Haldex clutch, which operates in conjunction with active safety systems, of which there are four: anti-lock, anti-skid, traction and directional stability.
With such an arsenal on board with a length of just over four meters and a mass of about a ton, the Leon overcomes the milestone of 100 km / h in less than 8 s, and its maximum speed approaches 230 km / h. However, the novelty is good and its versatility. In addition to the aforementioned engine, the company offers a choice of three more gasoline (1.4–1.8 l; 75–125 hp) and three diesel engines (1.9 l, 68–110 hp); as an option, the installation of an automatic transmission is also possible. All this gives the SEAT the right to count on the broadest interest in the new model. It is no coincidence that the production of Leon, launched in November last year, was mastered simultaneously at two of the company's plants - in Martorel and Brussels.