Right now, the short answer to the question of whether there will be a Cupra version of the new Seat Ibiza appears to be ‘maybe’, but don’t hold your breath.

Sales of supermini-based hot hatchbacks aren't exactly booming and are confined to only a handful of European countries, of which the UK is one of the most important.

Seat knows it has a loyal Cupra buyer base in the UK, but boss Luca de Meo is taking a hard-nosed approach to investment in future models, driven by his desire to keep Seat profitable after eight years of losses. "Every new model has to have a solid business case," one insider told Autocar.

On the other hand, Seat also recognises that a halo model for the Ibiza is important. The Ibiza has sold a very solid 20,000 units a year in the UK - 40% of them three-doors - in its current generation. That's in no small part due to its sporty image, which appeals to young Ibiza buyers and is partly cultivated by the Cupra.

However, Seat will also reveal a refreshed, 300bhp-plus Leon Cupra later this year, and one hot hatch might just be enough for the range right now. There is also a 300bhp-plus Ateca Cupra in the pipeline. Seat is getting heavily into SUVs, so maybe a Cupra version of the new Arona compact SUV makes more sense.

There's also the fact that the new Ibiza is available as a five-door only, moving any new Ibiza Cupra into a different category.

Our reading of the situation is: don’t rule out an Ibiza Cupra, but don’t expect anything for three to four years, and even then it will be five-door only.

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2017 Seat Ibiza supermini revealed: first images and details

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