Hot diesel versions of key models to join tradition Cupra products in an expanded portfolio

The facelifted Seat Ibiza Cupra will be offered with a manual gearbox when it appears later this year - and it could ultimately form part of an extended performance line-up that includes hot diesel versions of key models.

The existing Ibiza Cupra mates a 178bhp turbocharged 1.4-litre petrol engine with a dual-clutch automatic gearbox, controlled by steering wheel-mounted shift paddles. That set-up will continue to be offered on the facelifted model, but Seat sources have confirmed that the car will also be offered with a six-speed manual gearbox.

This will allow the Ibiza Cupra to take on the Ford Fiesta ST and Vauxhall Corsa VXR and will render the Renault Clio RS the only small hot hatchback to be restricted to an automatic transmission only.

Speaking at the Barcelona show, Seat chairman Jürgen Stackmann suggested that the Cupra brand is likely to expand through the firm’s larger models in the years ahead. He hinted that this could extend to diesel editions.

Seat is believed to be evaluating the 237bhp twin-turbo diesel engine found in the recently launched Volkswagen Passat as the basis of a Leon Cupra TDI.

“The idea of a high-performance diesel Cupra is not a bad one,” Stackmann said. “The question is how we get to that and still make it affordable, because getting to Cupra levels of power and performance with a diesel can be quite expensive. The decision has to be based on it being accessible in its range and strong in performance and value. If we get to that, then yes, we should talk about a Cupra diesel.”

Stackmann confirmed that a Cupra version of Seat’s forthcoming Qashqai rival - due to make its public debut at next spring’s Geneva motor show - is under consideration.“Cupra on an SUV is not impossible,” he said. “It’s much more logical to have FR, with its mix of performance and comfort, but there is a niche in Europe that is more than FR and we have to explore that. It’s not unthinkable. I can see it being probably more relevant than small high-performance cars in the future.”

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Our Verdict

Seat Leon Cupra
The new Leon Cupra is offered with a choice of 261bhp or 276bhp 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol engines

New hot hatch promises to outgun its rivals, including the Volkswagen Golf GTI

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17 May 2015

Given the problems that the 1.4 twin-charged engine has had and the fact that the Polo has the 1.8 now instead, why are Seat persisting with the smaller one?

Where has all Japanese design went to?

17 May 2015
Zeddy wrote:

Given the problems that the 1.4 twin-charged engine has had and the fact that the Polo has the 1.8 now instead, why are Seat persisting with the smaller one?

Maybe it the poor relation thing, the hand me down thing,would letting Seat have the 1.8 encroach on the Polo's patch?

Peter Cavellini.

17 May 2015

I've got a friend who has a Fabia VRs with the 1.4 engine. He was saying that most of the problems with the engine have been fixed now, and are very reliable. Although, I agree, I will be surprised if the Ibiza continues with this engine. Is it used in any other car now?

18 May 2015

'Cupra on an SUV is not impossible', he said. There is something fundamentally depressing about this current crop of car bosses and their fixation on sub brands and market niches, rather than engineering innovations and possibilities. Not surprising that SEAT lacks a real personality. Its 'brand' really is just skin deep.

18 May 2015

"Hot Diesel" is an oxymoron. Diesels can be powerful and have lots of low-end torque but they are not "hot" in the sense of a hot hatch or petrol performance car which revs quickly and delivers power though out the rev range. They do not rev high enough or quickly enough for that. Given the Supreme Court decision on diesels which will cause the Government to start rolling back the tax advantages for business users and increasing taxes on diesels and the anti-diesel backlash that has already started (Islington charging you more for a parking permit if you have a diesel, fines in London Boroughs if you keep the engine running on a diesel etc) why does VAG think there will be a market for niche "hot diesels"? In 3 to 5 years time diesels will be a rare choice for buyers. VAG should just fit their 1.8 turbo petrol with cylinder deactivation or a hybrid powertrain that way they will be (slightly) ahead of the curve.

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