648729_SE003171

Also debuting at next month’s Geneva show is the SEAT Leon SC – a new three-door variant that’s been added to the small family car line-up. It’s expected to begin UK sales in July, before welcoming ST estate and more potent Cupra versions in 2014.

Taking the VW Group’s MQB platform as its base, the car weighs just short of 1.2 tonnes in its lightest form. A ‘Línea Dinámica’ (dynamic line, we guess) runs over the rear wheelarches, while the twin swage lines are not parallel to one another, running instead in a slight arc to “increase surface tension.”

648757_SE003180

SC stands for Sports Coupe, and to that end, the sporty Leon’s wheelbase has been shortened by 35 mm to 2,600 mm, its roofline lowered and its rear windscreen made 19 degrees more inclined than the five-door. Despite this, SEAT says boot space (380 litres) and rear headroom are unchanged from the five-door.

Like the five-door, the 4,230 mm-long SC is offered in S, SE and FR trims in the UK, and rides on front MacPhersons, with below-150 hp versions adopting a rear torsion beam, and the rest getting a multi-link set-up. The FR gets unique bumpers, lowered suspension and 18-inch alloys.

Three TSI (1.2, 1.4 and 1.8) and two TDI (1.6 and 2.0) engines ranging from 1.2 to 2.0 litres in displacement, covering a power spectrum of 105 to 184 PS. The 1.8 TSI is the leader in terms of power, and develops 250 Nm of torque.

The clean 1.6 litre TDI, with Start/Stop and Energy Recovery, emits 99 grams of CO2 per km and boasts an average fuel consumption of 3.8 litres per 100 km. Depending on the engine, a manual gearbox is offered with five or six speeds, and a DSG with six or seven.

“We have given the three-door Leon SC a highly distinctive character – just deleting two doors would not have been enough for us,” says design chief Alejandro Mesonero-Romanos. “That is why we opted for the shorter wheelbase – although it is only 35 millimetres, the visual effect is very powerful.”