Half Pint Hauler: A 9-Second Turbo Diesel SEAT Arosa From The U.K.

What do you get when you take a car that’s only slightly larger than a Smart Car and add a turbocharged diesel engine capable of producing over 600 horsepower? You get the SEAT Arosa Mk2 built by Darkside Developments. This nasty little European car is the quickest diesel-powered, front-wheel-drive vehicle in the world and it’s capable of mid 9-second passes.

The SEAT Mk2’s ancestry is based in Germany where it began life as a part of Volkswagen’s Up line of cars. These vehicles were designed to be three-door economy rides made for small families to provide good gas mileage with their 1.0-liter engines backed by a manual transmission. As an economy car, the SEAT fits its role perfectly, but just like so many other vehicles, a drag racer saw it as an opportunity to go fast.

Darkside Developments has been working on its Seat Arosa for a few years and it’s seen a few combinations. The current engine is a 16-valve, 2.0-liter common rail diesel engine that lives inside the MSA spec roll cage. Rotating inside the block is a set of modified stock pistons and Rosten H-beam connecting rods. Darkside ported the cylinder head, added a stud kit, upgraded the valve springs, and added performance camshafts. A single BorgWarner turbo from a John Deere combine creates 60-pounds of boost that is blown through the engine. A TKM twin-disk clutch assists with sending power to the transmission and Quaife limited slip differential.

When Darkside Developments turned the SEAT up with the new combination, the results were impressive: the tiny terror laid down a 9.46 at 150 mph ,highlighted by a 1.48 60-foot and 6.18 1/8-mile times. Check out the video from Darkside Designs that shows just how gnarly this little car really is.

About the author

Brian Wagner

Spending his childhood at different race tracks around Ohio with his family’s 1967 Nova, Brian developed a true love for drag racing. When Brian is not writing, you can find him at the track as a crew chief, doing freelance photography, or beating on his nitrous-fed 2000 Trans Am.
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