Among a series of changes with the New Ibiza CUPRA, arguably the two most telling are the switch to a six-speed manual gearbox, plus, a new, even more potent engine. In relation to the former, where 80% of the UK hot supermini class is stick shift-based, SEAT will be looking to make significant inroads.
Raft of technical improvements
The new Ibiza CUPRA has a powerful and edgy stance, with the three-door Sports Coupé brought to life by sharply executed lines and edges. The accentuated rear shoulders and exclusive 17-inch alloy wheels also underline its performance. The high-gloss black door mirrors and front grille frame set a clear contrast to the Ibiza CUPRA's paintwork, while at the rear its broad bumper frames a substantial matt-black diffuser which incorporates the race-honed central exhaust tailpipe. Emoción Red is the standard free-of-charge paint choice. The upgrades continue on the inside, with the latest Ibiza CUPRA taking a series of styling cues from its bigger brother, Leon. In comes a much higher quality interior, with more premium and tactile touches including a new steering wheel, air vents, instrument panel and infotainment systems.
Expressive design with powerful lines
As well as the series of improvements under the skin, the New Ibiza CUPRA also ushers in several new items of equipment, including a five-inch Media System with colour touchscreen and DAB digital radio, Bluetooth® audio streaming and hands-free system, plus multi-function steering Wheel. In keeping with SEAT's safety expertise, Hill Hold Control and Tiredness Recognition System have also been added to its long list of core equipment. Equipment on both versions is lavish. The standard CUPRA profers 17-inch 'Barcino' alloy wheels, auto lights and wipers, XDS electronic differential lock, CUPRA front sports seats, electrically adjustable, heated and folding door mirrors, plus climate control and cruise control. On the outside, the entry point to SEAT's CUPRA line-up is immediately distinguishable through bi-xenon headlamps with cornering lights and LED daytime running lights and LED rear lights, plus tinted glass on the side and rear windows. Moving up to the range-topping, and likely UK best-selling version, CUPRA Black, brings with it a whole host of styling and technology additions. Costing £800 more than the standard CUPRA, but offering around £1,000 worth of additional equipment, for an even sportier and striking look, it welcomes black alloy wheels with red brake calipers. It also benefits from a Navigation System with 6.5-inch colour touchscreen, 3D map display, voice recognition and two SD card slots. Unsurprisingly, given the generous standard equipment list for both versions of the New Ibiza CUPRA, buyers won't need to be ticking every box in the options list with wild abandon. However, for those seeking the ultimate in comfort, style and technology, there are several tempting items available. Among them for CUPRA are SEAT Sound which profers six high-quality speakers, a boot mounted subwoofer and an amplifier for £155, as well as Navigation System (includes Media System Plus with 6.5-inch color touchscreen with proximity sensor, MP3 compatible CD player and Bluetooth™ voice recognition) at £580 and Full Link for an enticing £145. Taking the cabin ambience even higher on both versions are three upmarket additions; sporty Alcantara upholstery for £400, a panoramic glass sunroof at £495, together with ambient interior lighting for only £60. All prices quoted include VAT. SEAT is the only company that designs, develops, manufactures and markets cars in Spain. A member of the Volkswagen Group, the multinational has its headquarters in Martorell (Barcelona), exporting more than 80% of its vehicles, and is present in over 75 countries. In 2015, SEAT achieved worldwide sales of 400,000 units, the highest figure since 2007. SEAT Group employs more than 14,000 professionals at its three production centres – Barcelona, El Prat de Llobregat and Martorell, where it manufactures the highly successful Ibiza and Leon. Additionally, the company produces the Alhambra in Portugal, the Mii in Slovakia and the Toledo in the Czech Republic. The multinational has a Technical Centre, which operates as a knowledge hub that brings together 1,000 engineers who are the driving force behind innovation for Spain's largest industrial investor in R&D. In line with its declared commitment to environmental protection, SEAT undertakes and bases its activity on sustainability, namely the reduction of CO2 emissions and energy efficiency.