Seat's sportier, three-door Leon is revealed for the first time today (11 February), and it's the first time the Spanish Golf has ben sold as a three-door.
The 'SC' moniker stands for 'Sports Coupe', but don't think of the Leon SC as a VW Scirocco rival. Despite a shortened wheelbase and raked rear screen, the Leon SC boasts the same rear headroom and bootspace as its five-door sister, claims Seat.
Is the new Seat Leon SC just two doors short of a regular Leon?
Nope. Seat has actually made some big alterations which could make the already fine-handling Leon more agile to drive. The SC's wheelbase is 35mm shorter than a regular Leon, and the entire car's length has been cut by some 100mm.
The sculpted 'character lines' down the Leon's flanks remain, and the rear screen has been raked back by 19 degrees to give a sportier profile. Seat's head of design Alejandro Mesonero-Romanos is keen for the Leon SC to look like a standalone model, saying 'just deleting two doors would not have been enough for us'. CAR interviewed the Seat design boss at the Paris motor show in October 2012, quizzing him about the new Leon and the future for all Seats' looks. To read the full interview, click here.
Underneath, the Leon uses the VW Group's new lightweight aluminium blueprint, which slashes weight by 90kg versus the old Leon. The new VW Golf Mk7, Audi A3 and Skoda Octavia all share the same 'MQB platform' bits under the skin.
Like the regular Leon, you can choose from S, SE and racier FR trim. Hotted-up 200bhp Cupra models will arrive soon, spoiling for a fight with the new Golf GTI and Ford Focus ST.
Any other changes for the Seat Leon SC?
No surprises inside: the Leon SC's cabin is shared with the five-door car. That means a recognisably VW group cabin, with a few angular touches thrown in to liven up the greyness. The boot capacity remains at 380 litres (15 litres better than an Audi A3's, and a healthy 64 litres bigger than the five-door only Ford Focus's).
Engines too are regular Leon fare. You can choose from 1.2-litre, 1.4-litre and 1.8-litre TSI petrol engines, developing between 104 and 178bhp. Eco-nuts will want the 1.6-litre TDi diesel motor, good for a claimed 74.3mpg and 99g/km of CO2 output. A pokier 2.0 TDi is also available, scoring 68.9mpg and 106g/km.
Five- or six-speed manual gearboxes are standard depending on the engine choice, with six- or seven-speed twin-clutch DSG auto 'boxes an optional extra.
Prices for the new Seat Leon SC will be announced after the car's Geneva motor show unveiling, though it's predicted to cost less than the five-door model. Reckon on prices ranging from £15-21k, depending on engine output and equipment level.
>> In the battle of the MQB-platform hatches, would you pick a Seat Leon SC, Audi A3 or VW Golf? Click 'Add your comment' below and make your case...