Struggling to make a profit for quite a few years now, Seat is in the middle of a massive makeover that includes new products for the brand’s entry in previously unexplored segments. Having launched both a new hot-hatch and performance estate under the Cupra 280 badge, as well as the 2014 Seat Leon X-Perience, a competitor for the 2013 Audi A4 Allroad and 2014 Skoda Octavia Scout, Seat is now preparing the launch of its first SUV, due to arrive in 2016. Meanwhile, the Spanish automaker unveiled the Leon Cross Sport concept at the 2015 Frankfurt Motor Show.

A hybrid between the newly introduced Leon Cupra 290 and the Leon X-Perience, the Cross Sport concept is a high-riding hot-hatch the folks over at Seat describe as "a performance athlete in high-tech trekking shoes." There’s no word as to whether it will spawn a production car, but we hope so.

Either way, the Cross Sport concept is likely Seat’s way of raising awareness about the company’s future, which will include at least a couple of crossovers by the end of the decade.

Updated 09/22/2015: We’ve added a series of new photos we took at the 2015 Frankfurt Motor Show. Find them in the "Pictures" tab.

Continue reading to learn more about the Seat Leon Cross Sport.

  • 2016 Seat Leon Cross Sport
  • Year:
    2016
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • Engine:
    inline-4
  • Transmission:
    six-speed DSG
  • Horsepower @ RPM:
    295
  • Torque @ RPM:
    280
  • Displacement:
    2.0 L
  • 0-60 time:
    4.9 sec.
  • Top Speed:
    155 mph (Est.)
  • car segment:
  • body style:

Exterior

2016 Seat Leon Cross Sport High Resolution Exterior
- image 645960
2016 Seat Leon Cross Sport High Resolution Exterior
- image 645961
2016 Seat Leon Cross Sport High Resolution Exterior
- image 645959

You only need a quick glance to realize that the Leon Cross Sport is just a perched Leon Cupra with crossover-like wheel arches and bumpers. Or a two-door version of the Leon X-Perience with a dash of sportiness, if you will.

The concept is obviously a Leon Cupra from the waist up, as it includes a couple of subtle cues only available on the performance-oriented version of Seat’s hatchback. These include the blacked-out front grille and the black mirrors. Below the waist, the Cross Sport is packed with features borrowed from the Leon X-Perience. The front bumper is identical to the X-Perience, save for the slimmer LED daytime running lights, as is the SUV-like cladding on the wheel arches and door sills, and the underbody guard visible below the front apron.

The hatch also sits significantly higher than the standard model. Seat says the concept received an additional 1.6 inches (41 mm), enabling it to handle poor road surfaces better. It also features 19-inch wheels in exclusive Y-spoke design and a two-tone finish, with polished accents set against a black background.

Interior

2016 Seat Leon Cross Sport High Resolution Interior
- image 646002

Not surprisingly, the interior is identical to the 2016 Seat Leon Cupra 290’s, so there’s nothing futuristic about it. However, it does stand out thanks to its orange accents, which Seat says it’s inspired "by the Barcelona sun." The hue adorns the seats and the door panels as big pieces of Alcantara and the steering wheel, gear shift knob, and floor carpets as contrast stitching. Not exactly breathtaking, but better than what the regular Leon Cupra has to offer.

Drivetrain

2016 Seat Leon Cross Sport High Resolution Exterior
- image 645995

Power comes from the same 2.0-liter four-cylinder found in the 2014 Seat Leon SC Cupra 280 and the 2016 Volkswagen Golf R, but output is identical to the newly launched Cupra 290. Specifically, the turbocharged four-banger cranks out 286 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque, 10 horses more than the already awesome Leon Cupra 280. Charging from 0 to 62 mph takes 4.9 seconds with the DSG transmission and the electronically controlled all-wheel-drive with electronic differential lock. Top speed is likely limited at 155 mph.

Drivetrain Specifications

Type 2.0 liter
Output 295 HP
Torque 280 LB-FT
Transmission six-speed DSG dual-clutch
0 to 60 mph 4.9 seconds

Conclusion

2016 Seat Leon Cross Sport High Resolution Exterior
- image 645998

In need of a successful turnaround after many years of slow sales, Seat pins its hopes on a lineup of crossovers that’s set to debut in 2016 with a 2015 Nissan Qashqai competitor built on Volkswagen’s MQB architecture (shared with the Leon and the 2015 Volkswagen Golf). Although it’s unlikely the brand will launch a crossover-like version of the Leon Cupra, this concept will probably give it an opportunity to explore customer reactions to Seat-badged crossovers and the company’s new direction.

  • Leave it
    • Just a perched Leon Cupra
    • Likely to remain just a concept

Press Release

SEAT is presenting a new definition of sporty performance at the Frankfurt International Motor Show (IAA): The SEAT Leon Cross Sport Show Car offers the performance of a compact sports car and the coupé-like silhouette of a two-door. And it combines this with the versatility of all-wheel-drive and increased ground clearance, as well as a design that unites both worlds with powerful dynamics and robustness. The SEAT Leon Cross Sport is a performance athlete in high-tech trekking shoes.

2016 Seat Leon Cross Sport High Resolution Exterior
- image 645959

“The SEAT Leon family is not only incredibly successful, but also exceptionally multi-faceted. With the Leon Cross Sport, we are testing out a new idea – the performance of the Leon CUPRA with the many possibilities offered by an all-road vehicle, says Jürgen Stackmann, Chairman of the Executive Committee, SEAT, S.A. “The Leon Cross Sport is therefore a perfect match for the brand and for a young, multi-faceted lifestyle. And, as a compact two-door, this crossover fits well into the urban jungle.”

The SEAT Leon Cross Sport takes its performance from the recently uprated Leon CUPRA 290, widely recognised as one of the best hot hatches, as well as multiple winner of automotive media comparison tests. The two-litre engine generates 300 PS, as well as being capable of propelling it from 0 to 62 mph in just 4.9 seconds. The electronically controlled all-wheel-drive with electronic differential lock and ground clearance 41 millimetres higher than on the Leon CUPRA guarantee driving fun, even when the route involves poor road surfaces.

“Performance has many facets for us. The Leon Cross Sport marks an enormous expansion of the possibilities offered by a CUPRA. Thanks to all-wheel-drive and an all-road set-up, those driving the Cross Sport face virtually no restrictions – and absolutely no limitations to everyday driving fun,” says Dr. Matthias Rabe, Vice President of Research and Development at SEAT, S.A. “The Leon Cross Sport is equipped with the full Leon technology package, from an exceptionally refined drive, through to an extensive array of assistance systems and a whole new level of connectivity with SEAT Full Link.”

2016 Seat Leon Cross Sport Exterior Drawings
- image 645723

Unique and dynamic design language

The Leon Cross Sport is based on the Leon SC CUPRA, with its evocative two-door bodyshell. The perfect proportions, clear lines and taut surfaces allude to its exceptional dynamics, not to mention its incredibly high standards of precision and quality. This emotional design language, highly rated by customers, has been further developed for the Cross Sport and enhanced with robust elements.

Compact and powerful like a highly trained cross-country runner

The new show car looks incredibly compact and powerful, like a highly-trained cross-country runner. An additional 41 millimetres greater ground clearance gives the Cross Sport an impressive stance. The 19-inch wheels with their exclusive Y-spoke design have a two-tone finish, with polished accents set against a black background. These are paired with prominent, extended wheel arches and powerful sills, both in gloss black. At the front and rear, CUPRA elements, such as the signature grille mesh, are accentuated even further. The large air intakes make the sheer potency of this athlete apparent at the very first glance, as do the quadruple exhaust system and large rear roof spoiler. It goes without saying that the full-LED headlamps on the Cross Sport deliver a determined look, as well as great visibility.

2016 Seat Leon Cross Sport High Resolution Exterior
- image 645960

Crossover ideas with SEAT style

The Leon Cross Sport show car is painted in ultra orange – the same colour featured on the SEAT 20V20 show car at the Geneva Motor Show in March 2015. And that is not all the two concept cars have in common – both redefine the combination of dynamic performance and versatility in the unique SEAT style, with an unmistakable design language, clear dynamic credentials and perfect quality. These show cars make a very clear statement of the direction that SEAT will be taking over the next few years with new products in the crossover and SUV segments.

High-quality interior with exceptional attention to detail

The interior of the Leon Cross Sport, too, features the colour inspired by the Barcelona sun – orange is used here as an accent in the intricate seams of the leather seats, the cockpit and the steering wheel, and as a powerful surface colour on the seats’ centre panels and door panels. The leather is combined with orange Alcantara, with a focus on high quality and attention to detail that are part of the SEAT brand’s DNA. The cockpit has a light, weightless feel and is clearly focused on the driver – as in every Leon.

Latest-generation connectivity

2016 Seat Leon Cross Sport High Resolution Exterior
- image 645961

Like all current SEAT products, from the Ibiza to the Alhambra, the Leon Cross Sport is equipped with the latest-generation connectivity. Smartphones from various different manufacturers and platforms (Apple iOS, Android, MirrorLink) can be easily and conveniently connected to the vehicle system using SEAT’s Full Link connection and then operated via the car’s touchscreen. And, with the exclusive SEAT ConnectApp, all it takes is a few simple, self-selected gestures to carry out functions such as calling a friend, activating route guidance or finding a petrol station. The SEAT ConnectApp reads out incoming messages, while answers can be dictated via voice recognition. The driver’s concentration remains fully focused on the road ahead, which is extremely good for safety – and not just with 300 PS under the bonnet.

Responsive sports engine with excellent pulling power

The state-of-the-art two-litre TSI engine in the Leon Cross Sport has already caused quite a stir in the Leon CUPRA, with achievements such as record laps of the Nürburgring Nordschleife. In the Leon Cross Sport, this highly responsive sports engine has been boosted to give 300 PS, with a mighty 380 Nm of maximum torque available from just 1800 rpm. The six-speed DSG dual-clutch transmission delivers fast and precise gearshifts.

Permanent all-wheel-drive for every situation

The Leon Cross Sport’s permanent all-wheel-drive is one of the most modern and efficient systems of its kind in the world. SEAT uses a newly developed, multi-plate clutch with hydraulic actuation and electronic control – a fifth-generation Haldex coupling. It reacts extremely quickly to all imaginable drive influences, delivering considerably improved safety and handling.

Assistance systems for the urban jungle

2016 Seat Leon Cross Sport High Resolution Exterior
- image 645962

This dynamic handling is supported by the very latest electronic safety and assistance systems. The progressive steering and a specially adapted electronic stability system improve handling and driving fun. Adaptive cruise control with Front Assist, traffic sign recognition and lane keeping assistance are likewise extremely useful in the urban jungle.

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