Seat is a marque that trades on sporting credentials, and the hot Cupra brand is at the forefront of this strategy, selling fast Ibizas and Leons mostly on the back of the brand’s success in touring car racing.

But the Seat Ibiza Cupra is intended to offer more than just performance and value, showcasing a level of advanced technology that has not been seen in the value-conscious supermini segment before. 

At 178bhp, it takes the power output of the Volkswagen Group’s turbocharged and supercharged 1.4-litre TSI engine to new levels, and a standard seven-speed double-clutch DSG gearbox, complete with paddle shifters, adds to the list of supermini firsts that makes the Cupra the greenest hot hatch in its class. 

But technical novelties and sharp (if polarising) looks are not enough for the Cupra. It must also live up to the benchmark handling abilities of rivals such as the Renaultsport Clio 200 and the Mini Cooper S. 

So can Seat’s hot supermini maintain its credibility as a performance hatch without sacrificing too much to the green revolution?

Top 5 Hot hatches

  • Renault Mégane Renaultsport
    The Renaultsport 265 is the hot version of Renault's Focus-rivalling hatchback

    Renault Mégane Renaultsport

    1
  • Volkswagen Golf R
    The new Golf R is faster than any production Volkswagen before it

    Volkswagen Golf R

    2
  • This four-cylinder Focus feels lighter at the front than its five-pot predecessor

    Ford Focus ST

    3
  • Seat Leon Cupra
    The new Leon Cupra is offered with a choice of 261bhp or 276bhp 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol engines

    Seat Leon Cupra

    4
  • M135i is not a full-blooded M car, rather 'powered by M'

    BMW M135i

    5

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