Seat Leon SC three-door revealed

* Three-door Seat Leon revealed * Same length as five-door; sportier styling * On sale in April, from around 15k...

Seat Leon SC three-door revealed

This is the Seat Leon SC, which has been unveiled at the Geneva motor show.

This is the first time that Seat has offered a three-door version of the Leon, and while the Leon SC is the same length as the five-door, the wheelbase has been shortened by 35mm to give a sportier look.

The SC's styling is a development of the IBE, IBL and IBX concept cars'. It features sculpted body panels, an aggressive stance and a more steeply raked rear hatch than the five-door model.

Despite this, Seat claims that rear headroom and boot space remain unchanged in the SC. The load space is 380 litres exactly the same as the VW Golf's and 15 litres more than the three-door Audi A3's, but more than 200 litres less than the load capacity of the (five-door) Skoda Octavia.

The UK will get three trims at launch: S, SE and FR. All cars will get Bluetooth and air-conditioning. Entry-level cars miss out on alloys, but these are standard on SE and FR versions.

Petrol options include a 1.2 TSI that produces either 85bhp or 104bhp, along with a 138bhp 1.4 TSI and 178bhp 1.8 TSI. There are three diesel options: a 1.6 TDI with either 89bhp or 104bhp, and a 148bhp 2.0 TDI.

Four gearboxes will be available two manuals and two dual-clutch DSG semi-autos. The manuals will be five- or six-speeders depending on the engine, while the DSG will be offered in six- or seven-speed form. They will also feature a free-wheeling function (similar to the coasting system available on the VW CC) that helps to reduce fuel consumption.

The 89bhp 1.6 TDI is the cleanest unit; equipped with engine stop-start and energy-recuperation systems, it has claimed average economy of 74.3mpg and emits 99g/km of CO2. The 2.0 TDI has average economy of 68.9mpg and emissions of 106g/km.

The Leon SC goes on sale in April, with deliveries from July. Prices haven't been announced, but we'd expect the Leon SC to cost from around 15,000.

Seat is also expected to add an estate version to join the SC and the five-door hatchback. It is likely to be called the Leon ST and will be launched later this year.

By Matthew Burrow