Seat - Arosa Racer
SEAT AROSA RACER
The junior sports car
The key to the most sporting development of the Arosa yet seen lies in its name – ‘Racer’. It’s a term which evokes speed and the thrills of competition driving, mixing emotion and adrenalin in equal measures. Although the ‘R’ stands for Racer, it could equally stand for Rapid and Rebel – all three are fitting descriptions for the SEAT’s feisty baby. The Arosa Racer is a car imbued with genuine sporting sensations and will delight the driver who demands the utmost from any vehicle – even a compact utility car.
And why not? Since its launch in October 2000, the SEAT Arosa has been acclaimed for its versatile, dynamic and sporty character. Little wonder SEAT’s Martorell Technical Centre has been unable to resist the temptation of creating an extreme version of the model, one which might well become the basis of a genuine competition vehicle. The Arosa Racer is the result of a collaboration between the Martorell Technical Centre and the Research and Development department of SEAT Sport, the Spanish brand’s competition wing.
An eager look
Even without dramatic modifications, the exterior of the Arosa Racer states its intentions clearly. This is down to its dramatic Flash Red body which is offset by the white roof and white rear-view mirrors. Exclusive 6J x 15" O.Z. white wheel rims wear chunky low profile 195/45 tyres.
The front of the Arosa Racer features a deep aerodynamic skirt integrated into the body colour bumper and includes large intake vents to cool the brakes. To provide further differentiation, the front grilles feature an anthracite finish while the radiator grille is distinguished by a chrome rim around the SEAT logo.
At the rear, there’s a small spoiler extending from the upper part of the hatchback as well as a deeper bumper (also in body colour) which now frames the central exhaust pipe.
In keeping with its new image, the Arosa Racer has subtly different badging to the rest of the range. The word ‘Racer’ moves to the centre of the rear hatch directly below the SEAT ‘S’ badge which, as ever, doubles as the door handle.
The result is a more compact and purposeful silhouette, heightened by the absence of side mouldings.
The interior owes more to the world of motor sport than to a city car. Two fully adjustable bucket SEATs are equipped with four point racing-type safety harnesses giving a clear indication of the Arosa Racer’s intentions.
On board equipment has been pared down to essentials only with just one concession to luxury – the power windows. Virtually everything else has been done way with. The lower part of the door panel maintains its cloth covering as well as a storage net, but the remainder of the door frame has been left as painted metal. The carpets and all other elements of interior trim have been removed, with small painted plates screwed over structural dips in the floor but leaving electric wiring elements exposed.
The spare tyre is moved to where the back SEAT used to be, and there’s a 5 kg halogen fire extinguisher mounted just in front, within arm’s reach of both front passenger and driver. A lateral cross member is employed not only to strengthen the bodyshell but also to act as an anchoring point for the SEAT belts.
There are many other details that enhance the sporty atmosphere inside the Arosa Racer. The steering wheel is finished in black leather and its white composite structure is visible at the top. The same stylish leather/composite combination also can be found on the gear lever and similar composites are used for the door handles. Completing the interior finish, a driver is treated to an aluminium brake pedal.
The real strength of the SEAT Arosa Racer lies in its performance. Equipped with a 16 valve 1.6 MPi engine with electronic petrol injection, this mini race-car develops 125 hp (92 kW) at 6,500 rpm and 152 Nm torque at 3,000 rpm. When allied to the diminutive size and light weight of the Arosa Racer, these truly impressive figures mean a 200 km/h top speed with 0 to 100 km/h acceleration taking barely 8 seconds.
A close ratio six-speed manual gearbox allows full use of the engine’s performance with a minimal rev drop between gear changes.
The suspension settings have been stiffened, giving a firm ride and effective, road hugging handling at all times, even on tight and twisty curves. The brake system (ventilated discs at the front and solid discs at the rear), with ABS, is perfectly matched to the Racer’s sporting pretensions, giving smooth, progressive braking.