The new Exeo (pronounced 'ex-ay-o') represents a major leap in quality for Seat, whose aim with this and other newcomers is to explore new markets and significantly broaden its model range.
Outside, both the front and rear ends are clearly indicative of the Spanish brand's image – it is sporty with fluid forms, soft curves and prominent wings that heighten the car's athletic looks. The unmistakable Seat grille, markedly larger on this model, plus the proportion of glass to metal lends an even sportier look to the car. The new Exeo's assertive styling is enhanced on the Paris show car with 18-inch alloy rims and a muscular twin exhaust pipe arrangement, both telltale signs for those 'in the know' that this is a potent piece of machinery.
At the front of the passenger compartment the dashboard lines flow towards the door panels and the driver-facing central console, creating a pronounced and engaging wrap-around effect. The two-tone instrument panel's great looks are completed with dark brown wood inserts. The interior colour scheme of the show car is particularly interesting. Entitled 'magnolia', it creates a feeling of spaciousness with light, airy tones. The leather seats and Alcantara lining on pillars and roof panel also underscore the Exeo cabin's feeling of style and roominess.
The bodywork construction includes a steel monocoque structure with integrated aluminium components. The further use of high strength steel helps reduce weight on the new car. These special elements are used on both the front-end structure and the passenger compartment. Seat's saloon also features boot space with a volume of 460 litres, while the 1,000 mm loading width between the interior extrusions allows bulky objects to be loaded with ease.
The Seat Exeo uses the Volkswagen Group's Premium platform, found on mid-sized saloons. The front suspension set-up is an independent multilink, with a trapezoidal link at the rear. Light alloy elements on both shafts also considerably reduce the unsuspended mass.
The Exeo is packed with the occupant protection measures, including two front airbags which deploy in two stages depending on the severity of the collision, two front side airbags, two curtain-type head airbags, driver knee airbag and rear side airbags. The car also features active front seat head restraints that protect driver and passenger from whiplash caused by a rear-end collision. The front passenger and rear seats are also equipped with Isofix anchoring points for the safe securing of child seats. Seat's new executive class saloon is also equipped with numerous active safety elements including ABS, TCS and ESP +, EBA and tyre pressure monitoring.
The Exeo showcased in Paris boasts a petrol engine in the shape of a turbo-charged direct injection 200 PS 2.0-litre TSI. It delivers maximum torque of 280 Nm at 1,800 rpm. Fuel consumption comes in at 36.6 mpg on the (provisional) combined cycle, while CO2 emissions fall below 185 g/km.
Further details, prices and specification will be announced closer to the Seat Exeo's UK launch during the first half of 2009.