The high-revving 188bhp 1.8 TSI engine is the most successful and enjoyable aspect of this new Ibiza Cupra. Our acceleration figures show that a 0-60mph time of 6.7sec is entirely achievable even with two occupants, but outright speed isn’t the Seat's greatest achievement. The 1.8 TSI’s real success is in its usability. 

There’s always ample acceleration for overtaking, even lower down the rev range, thanks to a peak output of 236lb ft of torque from 3200rpm, and it pulls strongly all the way to its 7000rpm limiter. It’s an impressively flexible engine that ensures the Ibiza Cupra always feels quick

Even under hard use the brakes resist fade and offer good stopping power

A low kerb weight helps significantly with every element of the Ibiza’s performance, including its economy. Over a route covering motorways, towns and B-roads we returned a reasonable 31.4mpg – a long way short of the claimed 45.6mpg but still good for a hatch with this level of performance. 

The manual gearbox is light and smooth to operate, although it will take some getting use to along with its notchiness, but after that it is never an issue. 

Even under hard use the brakes resist fade and offer good stopping power, even without the £1150 racing brake upgrade, which adds four-pot calipers and uprated brake pads. 

The standard brakes may be effective, but they are not consistent. Push the brake pedal as hard as possible and you activate the Emergency Brake Assist, which results in a quite violent change in responses. It would work well in the emergency situation it is developed for, and you’re unlikely to activate it on road, but on track it is extremely disconcerting and easy to activate, despite the noticeable difference in pressure on the pedal. 

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