The SEAT Leon FR 2.0 TDI 184 PS offers true hot hatch performance, yet running costs akin to a supermini, with an official 67.3 mpg* combined fuel consumption rating and CO2 emissions pegged at just 109 g/km*. That means it costs exactly nothing in first year Vehicle Excise Duty (VED), then just £20 per year thereafter. Its BIK rating is only 16%.
The Leon FR 2.0 TDI 184 PS is a tremendous feat of engineering: it is 11.9 mpg more efficient on average than the outgoing Leon Mk II 2.0 TDI 170 PS, while being 0.7 seconds quicker to the 62 mph benchmark. In fact, it offers the very same combined mpg rating as the outgoing Leon 1.6 TDI 105 PS.
Arguably the best quantifiable measure of its performance advantage over its predecessor is its torque figure, which is 30 Nm higher but comes in at the same point in the rev range – just 1,750 rpm, giving the Leon FR 2.0 TDI 184 PS its astonishing flexibility.
For example, compare 380 Nm @ 1,750 rpm to the 370 Nm @ 4,750 of the Porsche Cayman R and it’s clear just how much low-end punch this Leon has.
The 2.0-litre TDI engine that powers the Leon is part of the very latest generation of common rail diesel engines from the Volkswagen Group, featuring direct injection and turbocharging. The 184 PS engine comes with Ecomotive Technology as standard, which means it has Start/Stop engine shut-off to preserve fuel when the car is at a standstill and in neutral.
Available with a six-speed manual gearbox only, the Leon FR 2.0 TDI 184 PS costs from just £22,075, making it a true performance bargain – especially considering the standard equipment included with the FR specification level.
Any Leon wearing SEAT’s iconic black and red FR badging includes LED tail lights, 17-inch alloy wheels, FR-specific front- and rear bumpers, dark tinted windows, twin chrome exhaust pipes, sports suspension (lowered by 15 mm from standard), dual-zone climate control, front sports seats, SEAT Easy Connect media system including full colour touch screen interface, Bluetooth audio streaming and eight speakers, and SEAT Drive Profile. By altering the throttle management, steering feel and gearbox settings (in DSG-equipped cars) between three modes, SEAT Drive Profile allows significant alteration of the feel of the driving experience.
On the dynamic front, the FR 2.0 TDI 184 PS is one of only two versions of the Leon from launch, along with the FR 1.8 TSI 180 PS, that comes with a multi-link rear suspension setup, as opposed to the rear torsion beam of less powerful cars.
MacPherson-type suspension is standard at the front of all Leon models, with a semi-rigid axle (torsion beam) at the rear for cars with engines up to and including 150 PS. This solution saves weight and cost – which can be passed on to the buyer – without impacting ride comfort or overall refinement.
A multi-link suspension setup is more suitable to higher performance driving, with five links per side allowing greater lateral movement for improved contact with the road, particularly during high-speed cornering when the tyres are at the limit of grip; the rear torsion beam allows some twist and flex, but the multi-link setup does so even more.
Priced at £22,075 for the three-door SC, and £22,375 for the five-door version, first customer deliveries of the SEAT Leon FR 2.0 TDI 184 PS are expected during September 2013.