PARIS: NEW SEAT EXEO IS A SPANISH SURPRISE * New saloon is indicative of the Spanish brand's ambition * Highest levels of quality and performance * Advanced technology combined with exciting new equipment SEAT is pulling off one of the surprises of the 2008 Paris Motor Show with the debut of its handsome new Exeo saloon. The Spaniards' unexpected showcasing of their new super-saloon in the French capital underlines SEAT's determination to present a real challenge to existing offerings in the mid-size saloon segment. Exclusive, elegant and sporty, 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 already attractive model range. Quality and precision of both manufacturing processes and materials were the underlying requirements when designing and producing Exeo, and their expert application results in a sporty, refined, safe and engaging car. Distinctive personality Distinctive, elegant styling abounds on the new Exeo. 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 stunning 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. Inside, the Exeo's extraordinarily ergonomic interior is especially comfortable. 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 comfortable leather seats and Alcantara lining on pillars and roof panel also underscore the Exeo cabin's feeling of style and roominess. Naturally, the new car also provides an extremely comfortable driving experience. The front seats have four automatic memory positions, and the seat length offers exceptional leg support. And, in a touch of limousine-like luxury, even the rear sunshade can be controlled electrically to reduce incoming glare. 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, guaranteeing excellent results in both occupant and pedestrian protection. These special elements are used on both the front-end structure and the passenger compartment. SEAT's saloon also features ample boot space, with a volume of 460 litres, while the notably generous 1,000 mm loading width between the interior extrusions allows bulky objects to be loaded with ease. Agile, dynamic and sporty With the arrival of the Exeo, SEAT is demonstrating its efforts to design and manufacture truly 'made-to-measure' vehicles. Its compact size and exceptional manoeuvrability provide more comfortable, agile performance in both city driving and when parking. Add the exceptional long distance performance that comes with a top quality mid-size saloon and SEAT is confident its newcomer will have significant appeal. The SEAT Exeo uses the Volkswagen Group's Premium platform, found on mid-sized saloons, to provide outstanding driving comfort for both passengers and driver. The platform's exceptional dynamic performance is due to the exhaustive work carried out on its rigidity and geometry, as well as significant modifications to suspension coils and shock absorbers. 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. On board the Exeo, the driver immediately feels the vehicle's controlled behaviour, even when driving to the limit, with the car's body responding succinctly to the steering wheel and delivering minimal roll. Speed-dependent Servotronic power steering, where the degree of assistance depends on the car's speed, provides greater comfort and driving pleasure. Technologically advanced Driving enjoyment is at the very heart of the SEAT Exeo ethos and, as such, several solutions have been specifically added for both driver and passengers to deliver exceptional comfort. Besides the many features expected on a saloon in this category, the Exeo also features double-thickness door windows which significantly reduce noise inside the car and are also a theft deterrent. It is also equipped with a tilt sensor alarm and an innovative 'solar roof', which provides enough electrical power to activate the car's ventilation system even allowing it to continue to work when the engine is turned off. SEAT's new car also features latest generation Xenon Plus headlights, including stunning daytime running lights, providing an intense, even beam. The dynamic turning system is made up of swivelling lights that illuminate the inside of a curve when the car is travelling at a speed of at least seven miles an hour. The twin-zone automatic climate control system is equipped with a sophisticated air quality sensor, which not only provides independent climate control on the driver and front passenger sides, but also detects and avoids the entry of noxious gases, maintaining a constant air quality for the vehicle's occupants. The new car also naturally features a sophisticated satellite navigation system with two SD ports, MP3-type audio player and hard disc, including a map database of the whole of Western Europe. Extensive safety measures The Exeo is packed with the most sophisticated 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. More horsepower, fewer g/km of emissions The Exeo showcased in Paris boasts a powerful 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 only 1,800 rpm, providing highly accessible performance. 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.