What is it?
The hottest of the current Seat Ibiza range, with the revisions introduced as part of last year’s standard-car facelift applied. That means the new Seat Ibiza Cupra gets a fresh nose and rear lights and an interior spruce-up.
Of more interest is this latest version of the Ibiza Cupra features a new engine management configuration which helps boost performance. The net result is a 0-62mph time reduced by 0.1sec to 6.9sec and a top speed raised by 2mph to 142mph.
Running costs are also reduced, with the official combined fuel consumption figure improving to 47.9mpg – a 4.2mpg improvement – while a 9g/km drop in CO2 shoves the hot hatch down a tax band.
The Navigon-developed Seat Portable system is now standard. The detachable navigation system also features integrated Bluetooth connectivity and a range of information displays.
What's it like?
The pre-facelift Ibiza had an impressively tractable twin-charged 1.4 engine, and the tweaks that Seat’s engineers have made improves this further. There’s urge from 2000rpm round to the redline. Coupled with a good application of the VW Group’s 7-speed DSG gearbox, there’s always plenty in the tank for swift overtaking manoeuvres.
In slow-speed urban environments, the Cupra is surprisingly smooth. The gearchanges are as quick as ever, but the DSG's ability to auto-shift even when in manual modes means that occasionally a tug of the downshift paddle means you’ve swapped two cogs instead of one.
There’s a disconnected feeling to the steering you wouldn’t find in a Clio RenaultSport, and it is enough to put most of the car’s improvements in the shade. The steering lacks ultimate precision and there’s an inconsistent feeling as you wind lock on and off.
Better are the changes made to the rear suspension set-up, which gets a new axle bearing configuration for a more gently-sprung feeling. It is claimed to make it more forgiving on longer runs, and on smooth Spanish roads, it appears to be the case.