► Cupra Ibiza concept car
► 200bhp pocket rocket
► Not due for sale before 2019
A Cupra Ibiza concept gatecrashed the launch of Seat’s new performance brand today, at a disused race track just outside of Barcelona.
The Ibiza hot hatch – running the 197bhp turbocharged four-pot from Volkswagen’s Polo GTI – was a surprise unveil at the Cupra brand’s launch. Currently a prototype, a Seat insider confirmed that a test programme is underway, but there’s no confirmed launch date as yet. Don't expect a production car before 2019 at the earliest.
In the space of an afternoon, Seat revealed the 300bhp Cupra Ateca SUV, and showed visions for both a Cupra Arona and Cupra Ibiza. Copper, as introduced on the hardcore Leon R special edition, is the chosen colour to underpin the new brand’s identity.
So what's new on the 2019 Cupra Ibiza?
One of the key tenets of the Cupra brand is individualisation and the Ibiza is made over with a sports bodykit incorporating a carbonfibre front splitter, and rear diffuser and mirror caps of Formula 1’s favourite black stuff. Darkened lamps complete the moody effect, and the hot Ibiza also gets offset twin exhaust pipes. Inside, carbon-effect trim is introduced, along with grippy sports seats.
Mechanical changes include a sports suspension, and upgraded 340mm Brembo discs up front clamped by four-piston calipers. The concept wears 215/40 ZR Michelin tyres. The extra go is generated by a 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine, generously side-stepping the downsizing trend to kick out 236lb ft of torque between 4400-6000rpm.
That’s sufficient shove for a 0-62mph sprint in 6.7sec, says Cupra, with the speedy supermini topping out at 146mph. The new brand has issued a surprisingly detailed set of figures for a concept car: fuel consumption is modelled at 46mpg, with 139g/km of CO2... giving more reason for us to believe this pocket rocket is destined for a showroom near you next year.
Power is transmitted to the front wheels by a six-speed dual-clutch auto ‘box, but a six-speed manual is likely if/when the car makes production.
Why is Seat spinning off Cupra as a standalone brand?
The Spanish car maker is launching the Cupra brand to attract customers who would refuse to buy a Seat. It will be priced at the mid-point between mainstream and premium brands, and will seek to attract more youthful consumers who don’t feel the more traditional draw of the premium German car brands.
Read more about the Cupra Ateca unveiled alongside the Ibiza
This will influence the interiors of future Cupra products, too - with a more zesty, young vibe, according to insiders. Copper accent colours and more personalisation will allow youngsters to tailor their cars.
Sales and marketing chief Wayne Griffiths explained the brand ethos. ‘The customers want to be different, and we’ll deliver that with design, a sophisticated finish, and cars that are fun to drive.’
The new brand will be introduced gradually – the existing Leon Cupras will continue with their Seat badging until the end of their lifecycle, though their badges will naturally switch to copper.
Read all our Seat car reviews here