Olé for the Audi with a Span­ish twist

Yorkshire Post - Motoring - - FEATURES - Fred­eric Manby

SEAT’S Exeo de­serves to be a more com­mon sight. It is a Span­ish re­make of the last gen­er­a­tion of Audi A4 and looks very much like it. The two com­pa­nies are brothers in the Volk­swa­gen Group.

Exeo is built and was de­vel­oped at Seat’s Mar­torell com­plex near Barcelona with, com­pared to the pre­vi­ous A4, about 30 per cent of the con­tent be­ing new to Exeo. This in­cludes new en­gines, re­worked sus­pen­sion, dif­fer­ent dash, re-de­signed seats and, ob­vi­ously, dif­fer­ent front and rear de­sign. The en­gines used through­out the range are the most up-to-date Volk­swa­gen Group en­gines to in­clude the lat­est 208bhp TSI en­gine and the com­mon rail TDI en­gines, which are all Euro 5 cer­ti­fied.

The Exeo saloon is smart enough, with prices from £19,285 for the 118bhp 2-litre diesel. and the ST es­tate, an ex­tra £1,140 and the more strik­ing de­sign. The main ex­ter­nal marker from the old A4 is the Seat fam­ily grille. I sup­pose you could give it some more so­cial clout by ap­ply­ing the four Audi rings.

On test here is the SE Tech with a 2-litre diesel, giv­ing 141bhp and 236 lbft – fit­ted with the vari­able ra­tio au­to­matic gear­box. It all worked nicely and a typ­i­cal mileage read-out on the com­puter was 42 miles a gal­lon. Its long dis­tance log showed 38 miles a gal­lon over the pre­vi­ous 3,000 miles from a va­ri­ety of driv­ers. Per­for­mance is lively at low speeds but there were times at higher speeds when it ran out of puff for over­tak­ing.

The Exeo is only slightly smaller than the present Audi A4. The in­stru­ment dis­play is old Audi – smart and func­tional. One er­gonomic crit­i­cism from own­ers is the in­tru­sion of the cen­tral arm­rest over the hand­brake, but you can swivel the arm rest up and out of the way. Things like coins or keys in its stor­age pocket will clat­ter as you do so.

The rear seats have a 2:1 split and fold al­most flat over the seat base. To get a fully flat ex­ten­sion to the floor you must prise out the seat base. How­ever, as this is not split you can’t keep part of the rear seat in use as a chair.

The driv­ing dy­nam­ics are fine. It han­dles nicely enough at speed and never gets noisy. Price: £24,270. The model is very well equipped, in­clud­ing leather seats, Bose au­dio, nav­i­ga­tion (old-school DVD based), au­to­matic lamps and wipers, and the only ex­tra was a £745 pack which brought bi-xenon adap­tive lamps, LED rear lights and day­light run­ning lights.

Of­fi­cial econ­omy is 48.7mpg com­bined tests, with 153g/km CO2. The 0-62mph time is 9.6 sec­onds.

I am all in favour of re­cy­cling Audis as Seats. It utilises the skills that went in to the orig­i­nal prod­uct and brings the price down for what is, in ef­fect, Audi mo­tor­ing with a Span­ish Olé.

The cheap­est A4 saloon is the 118bhp 2-litre diesel at £22,200. The cheap­est Avant es­tate is the 118bhp 1.8 petrol at £23,500. True, it is a bet­ter look­ing car with lots of Audi flash on the face.

The Exeo is well equipped and records an of­fi­cial fig­ure of 48.7mpg.


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