Seat to expand hot hatch line-up
* Diesel Ibiza FR due in 2010 * Leon Cupra R to cost less than 23,000 * Leon shares engine with VW Scirocco R...
Seat is to expand its range of hot hatches in 2010 with the addition of a diesel-engined Ibiza FR and the hottest version yet of the recently revised Leon.
The Leon Cupra R is the first of the pair to arrive, and goes on sale on January 1. It uses a version of the engine used in the recently announced high-performance VW Scirocco R a 261bhp 2.0-litre petrol-powered unit.
The price of the new car is yet to be confirmed, but Seat says it hopes that it will be less than 23,000.
Joining the new hot Leon in showrooms will be a diesel-engined version of the Ibiza FR. This will use the 138bhp 2.0-litre TDI engine already used in several other VW Group cars. Unlike other hot Ibizas, this new model will have a conventional six-speed manual gearbox, rather than the semi-automatic DSG 'box that is standard on the petrol-engined FR and Cupra.
Seat will say nothing about the car's anticipated price beyond that it will be 'competitive'. Our estimate is that the three-door car will cost somewhere around 15,000, while Seat says that a five-door version is also under consideration.
Looking further ahead, Seat has also confirmed that the estate version of the Ibiza, the ST, will go on sale around September. This is closely based on the IBZ concept car from this year's Frankfurt motor show, and we expect to see the full production version for the first time at the 2010 Geneva show in March.
Finally, Seat confirmed that it expects to have its own version of parent company Volkswagen's super-economical Up city car on sale in 2011 or perhaps 2012.
However, the company also said that, in the current economic conditions, it had no plans to make a production version of the Tribu 4x4 concept car that was first shown at the 2007 Frankfurt show.