The Mk4 Seat Ibiza has been with us since 2008, although you wouldn’t necessarily know it when comparing that year’s Geneva Motor Show debutant with the Spanish brand’s bestselling hatchback of today.
The discrepancy is largely down to fact that the fourth generation Ibiza has undergone not one but two face-lifts since its launch seven years ago. The first refresh in 2012 was little more than a minor short-back-and-sides but earlier this year the Golf-based hatch received a more comprehensive change of wardrobe. The revamp extended both inside and out with additions such as full LED lights, multiple new tech upgrades and a range of VW’s new 1.0 litre three-cylinder engines joining the powertrain roster.
Hot on the heels of this comprehensive refresh comes the newest hot-hatch in the SEAT family; the SEAT Ibiza Cupra.
The latest incarnation of SEAT’s hottest hatch will announce its entrance at the 2015 Frankfurt Motor Show with some very welcome upgrades under the bonnet. SEAT have squeezed an extra 12bhp out of the turbocharged 1.8 TSI engine which powers the new Cupra, pegging maximum output up to a tidy 189bhp. Perhaps more significantly, the new powertrain endows the Ibiza Cupra with 236lb/ft torque – that’s a hefty 52lb/ft more pulling power than its predecessor – and the extra oomph is accessible across a much broader rev range at that.
These considerable engine room enhancements equate to a 0-62mph sprint time of 6.7 seconds and a top speed of 146mph, meaning the Ibiza Cupra is perfectly placed to take on key hot-hatch rivals such as the Clio Renaultsport and the Ford Fiesta ST.
The new Ibiza Cupra compliments its increased power output with a series of systems aimed at delivering optimum grip, and precision handling in abundance. An XDS electronic differential lock keeps understeer in check in the corners, whilst the Cupra Drive Profile feature allows ride and handling settings to be tweaked at the touch of a button. The Selective Suspension system alters damper settings between comfort and sport modes whilst also modifying steering responsiveness.
The single element that’s as reliably spicy as the Ibiza Cupra’s drivability and performance is its characteristically up-to-the-minute styling. At the front, the tick-shaped array of LED daytime running lights provides a snappy focal point either side of the otherwise-unaltered SEAT grille.
The flanks of the three-door coupé are characterised by three sharply defined lines, one of which stretches forward from the highly accentuated rear headlamps. A set of 17-inch wheels are framed by bolder, broader wheel arches whilst at the rear a chunkier rear bumper protrudes over the large matt-black diffuser whose trapezoid shape mirrors that of the centre-mounted tailpipe.
The interior also receives a general spruce up and now includes a SEAT Leon-sourced steering wheel and new instrument panel. The upgraded infotainment system harbours an assortment of new connectivity-based gadgets and gizmos such as SEAT Full Link, the SEAT DriveApp and the SEAT ConnectApp. Of particular note is the MirrorLink function which essentially mimics the familiar display of your smartphone of choice and handily reproduces it on the Ibiza Cupra’s infotainment touchscreen.