Hot hatch concept is revealed to gauge reaction of potential customers before decision on production is made
Sam Sheehan
22 February 2018

Cupra, the new performance arm of Seat, has unveiled a concept Ibiza model that could preview a 200bhp hot hatch rival to the new Ford Fiesta ST.

Cupra could get electric powertrain tech before Seat

On show at the Cupra brand's launch event, the Ibiza has been developed to gauge reaction before a decision on production is made.

Although not confirmed, Autocar understands Seat executives are eager for the car to make it to market because of the ‘halo effect' it can have on the rest of the Ibiza line-up. R&D boss Matthias Rabe said this strategy will be used in the Cupra brand's first few years, in which it "will have derivatives" of Seat models. A pure Cupra model is possible later, however.

Cupra Ateca revealed

Since it'll remain very closely related to the Seat Ibiza, the Cupra Ibiza is expected to continue the trend of its Seat-badged predecessors and be twinned with the Volkswagen Polo GTI. As such, it’ll get that car’s 2.0-litre turbocharged engine, which produces 197bhp and 236lb ft of torque.

A Cupra version of the Arona crossover was also shown - albeit via promotional video only - at the Ateca's launch. The Arona variant is also a concept but appears likely to make production following comments from Rabe, who said Cupra was part of Seat’s “biggest product offensive”.

Cupra's sales and marketing boss Wayne Griffiths said that splitting from Seat was important for brand value. "In terms of positioning, it adds more to go with a separate brand," he said. "If we kept it in the Seat world, there would always be compromises. We want to take it out of the Seat world to the race track. Most firms that have sporting brands take them out of heritage, like Abarth. But we want to look to the future."

Read more

Cupra could get electric powertrain tech before Seat

The Cupra plan according to R&D boss Matthias Rabe

Why Cupra split from Seat

Our Verdict

Seat Ibiza

A model upon which Seat has staked its future, the new Ibiza must now deliver in an extremely competitive market. So can the supermini upset the likes of Ford, Mini, Mazda, Nissan and others?

Join the debate


22 February 2018

That is very grey, inside and out.

22 February 2018

A certain other well known Weekly Motor Mag put an Ibiza and Fiesta against the New Polo, and the Ibiza was the winner, come a long way the Seat Ibiza,but now it’s a fine drive and well spaced too.

Peter Cavellini.

22 February 2018

Why has the Cupra got a stupid transformer logo instead of a SEAT logo?

22 February 2018

Is this really a concept ? looks production ready and looks like any other Ibiza with minor changes.. when the word concept is used , normally it shows some elements that are unique or  outstanding, but what did you expect from the VW group ?  Boring.. same old.. same old !

Add your comment

Log in or register to post comments

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week