2021.7.0 COM/EN
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Powertrain: Combustion and electricity in sync, maximising dynamism

The world is changing, and a more holistic approach to personal transportation is needed as the world looks to lessen its impact on the environment. Electrification is the key to delivering what the future demands and the SEAT Leon e-HYBRID has been developed with that in mind, whether it’s the 5-door or Sportstourer versions.

The building blocks for the SEAT Leon e-HYBRID come from the MQB Evo architecture that underpins the vehicle and creates a pathway to develop the compact vehicle, so it meets as closely as possible the demands of modern life.

SEAT took advantage of the most advanced powertrain technology available, integrating plug-in hybrid so the SEAT Leon can deliver the highest levels of performance and driveability, balanced perfectly with the need to reduce tailpipe emissions and the impact on the environment. Mixing well known combustion systems, optimised over decades of research and development, with the simplicity of electric components, brings an advanced driving experience not seen in the SEAT Leon before.

“Combining combustion and electric technologies provides the ultimate mix of dynamism and efficiency, helping move the brand towards a more environmentally conscious future” said Dr. Werner Tietz, executive Vice-president for Research and Development at SEAT. “By joining the most advanced engine and battery technology the SEAT Leon is able to spend more time in pure electric mode, maximising its benefit, while leveraging traditional motive power when necessary.”

The advanced plug-in hybrid mates a 1.4 litre 150PS (110kW) TSI petrol engine with an 115PS (85kW) electric engine, 13kWh lithium-ion battery pack to produce an overall output of 204PS (150kW) of power and 350Nm of torque.

The 1.4 litre TSI unit which uses its turbocharger and direct-injection technology to maximise performance and efficiency, while its bore and stroke of 74.5 and 80.0 respectively and compression ratio of 10.0 aid the unit’s smooth running. The combustion engine has been configured specifically to run perfectly within the plug-in hybrid setup.

Linked to the brushless electric engine, the system can switch instantly between the different driving modes – whether the SEAT Leon is powered solely by the combustion engine, a mixture of both combustion and electric energy or only by electricity.

The power delivery is smooth no matter what mode the vehicle is running in. And, as one of the main benefits of electric propulsion, power delivery in electric only mode comes instantaneously, providing a dynamic not felt in the SEAT Leon until this point.

The plug-in hybrid version provides an all-electric range of  up to 64km in WLTP (72km in NEDC) using the energy stored in the vehicle’s battery – perfect for increased efficiency, or to travel around city streets where air quality regulations are stricter – and can be used at speeds of up to 140km/h making it incredibly versatile. And when there is the necessity of driving for longer distance, the SEAT Leon e-HYBRID offers the possibility to use both electric and petrol engines, in order reach around 800km without refuelling. 

The driver retains a huge amount of control over the system and can choose to maintain the battery’s state of charge, saving it for situations when zero emission driving is required. And when the battery is running low, the powertrain switches back to hybrid mode. But once you’re near a power source, the battery can be plugged in and replenished in as little as 3 hours and 40 minutes using a 3.6kW charger (Wallbox), or little less than 6 hours using a 2.3kW charger.

Back in the car, the plug-in hybrid uses DSG automatic transmission technology to maximise efficiency. The SEAT Leon’s six-speed system now benefits from shift-by-wire technology designed so that the gear selector is not connected to the gearbox mechanically, instead using electronic signals to shift.

Shift-by-wire provides the possibility to select gears without using a physical shifter, this is useful for the new automatic park assistance systems, where the mechanical parking lock was substituted for an electronically controlled parking lock. All in all, the new shift-by-wire not only adds a greater level efficiency, but advancement to the art and pleasure of driving.

And because of its electric-combustion powertrain carbon emissions are between 25-30g/km while it uses between 1.1 – 1.3 litres of fuel to travel 100km according to the WLTP official test cycle.

While efficiency is a crucial part of the SEAT Leon e-HYBRID, dynamics, performance and the sheer driving pleasure remains incredibly important. For that reason, the vehicle remains a thrilling drive.

When the e-HYBRID system requires more space than a traditional combustion engine, it’s been packaged to maximise dynamics – the chassis isn’t forced to compensate – with weight balanced between the front and rear of the vehicle. Under the bonnet sits the engine, motor and PCU while at the rear is the lithium-ion battery and fuel tank. The SEAT Leon e-HYBRID weighs 1,614kg in 5-Door and 1,658kg in Sportstourer.

But thanks to the vehicle’s chassis setup with MacPherson struts at the front and a multilink system at the rear, as well as the direct steering, the SEAT Leon e-HYBRID is able to offer a more involved drive when you turn off the main roads and on to more interesting tarmac.

This is aided by the chassis driving mode pre-sets: Eco, Normal, Sport as well as the ability for drivers to use a sliding scale (DCC Slider) of changes to adapt the SEAT Leon to their exact requirements, offering an infinite number of possibilities (individual mode).

Thanks to the SEAT Leon’s DCC Dynamic Chassis Control, the vehicle’s ride and handling can change depending on the conditions and the driver’s requirements, making the vehicle more comfortable.

The adaptive chassis technology constantly reads the road conditions, while also considering steering input, braking and acceleration, to adapt the suspension, optimising damping at each wheel to provide comfort and dynamics like no other. That customisability means no matter what the conditions, no matter who the driver, the SEAT Leon e-HYBRID can provide the right driving characteristics at the right time.

The SEAT Leon e-HYBRID always starts in all-electric mode (when the battery is sufficiently charged). The drive switches to Hybrid mode if the energy capability of the battery drops below a certain level or if the speed rises above 140 km/h. In Hybrid mode, the driver has the possibility of maintaining the status of charge, increasing it or reducing it to a well-defined level. This makes it possible to drive into an urban destination area under electric power and with zero emissions.

The SEAT Leon e-HYBRID blows away the traditional view of hybrids being efficient but uninspiring, allowing the joy of driving to carry on no matter what the form of propulsion used under the bonnet.