MADRID – SEAT will roll out the third generation of its Leon range at the Paris auto show next month.

The model, at 181.1 ins. (460.0 cm) long, is about 2.0 ins. (5 cm) shorter than its predecessor and features a wheelbase that has been narrowed 2.4 ins. (6 cm).

The dimensional changes result from a new architecture that has allowed engineers to move the front axle forward 1.6 ins. (4 cm), improving weight distribution.

Advanced construction technology and use of lightweight materials means the model will tip the scales at 198 lbs. (90 kg) less than the outgoing version of the car.

The Leon gets light-emitting-diode headlamps, what SEAT engineers say is a first in the midsize segment, as well as LED daytime running lights.

Volkswagen’s Spanish arm will offer a variety of TDI diesel and TSI gasoline, direct-injected, turbocharged engines, ranging from 1.2L to 2.0L. Fuel economy is expected to increase up to 22% compared with the outgoing car.

The lineup includes a 1.6L TDI rated at 105 hp and 184 lb.-ft. (250 Nm) of torque. In the Leon Ecomotive version – with start/stop and energy recovery systems – the engine is rated at 62 mpg (3.8 L/100 km), or about 99 g/km of carbon-dioxide emissions.

The reengineered 2.0 TDI engine, rated at 150 hp and 236 lb.-ft. (320 Nm) of torque, is expected to achieve 59 mpg (4.0 L/100 km).

Early in 2013, a 1.2L TSI engine will arrive, available in 86-hp and 105-hp versions. Also to be added to the options list are a 1.4L 122-hp TSI engine and a top-of-the-line 1.8L 180-hp TSI 4-cyl.

The diesel lineup will be extended with a 1.6L 90-hp TDI and top-end 2.0L TDI, rated at 184 hp and 280 lb.-ft. (380 Nm) of torque.

Depending on the engine, the car can be had with either 5- or 6-speed manual transmissions or 6- or 7-speed dual-clutch gearboxes.

The new Leon suspension features a MacPherson setup in front and a subframe and torsion beam at the rear for engines up to 150 hp. For more powerful engines, a multilink construction is used to better handle longitudinal and transverse loads.

State-of-the-art infotainment solutions will be offered based on SEAT’s Easy Connect operating system, which controls entertainment, communication and vehicle-operating functions via a touchscreen.

The new Leon also is fitted with a drowsiness-detection system that recognizes when the driver is losing concentration and suggests he take a break.

A camera mounted behind the interior rearview mirror manages both the automatic high-beam system and the lane-keeping assistant, which actuates the electro-mechanical power-steering system to force corrections to prevent the vehicle from crossing over lane markings.

The new model will be the first to carry SEAT’s new logo on its grille, rear deck and steering wheel.