Seat IBL concept car (2011) at the Frankfurt motor show

Published: 12 September 2011

Seat is sometimes described as Spain's answer to Alfa Romeo. And if that's the case, then the new Seat IBL concept car is surely a 159-influenced take on what future Seat road cars could look like.

The IBL concept is another ideas car from Seat – an exploration of what to expect from future models. It’s just a shame it’s taking them so long to actually build the new cars; where bedfellows VW and Audi are launching new models left, right and centre, Seat is having to bide its time.

Seat IBL concept car: what we know about it

This is bang on Mondeo territory – stretching out to 4670mm long and 1850mm wide – giving a hint at what the next Exeo could look like (assuming they have the budget to design their own, rather than borrow a last-gen Audi blueprint).

But Seat openly admits the IBL is about more than previewing future product. ‘This concept car does not pre-empt a specific model, but rather shows the design philosophy we are applying to bring the unmistakable Seat identity to a saloon car,’ said Seat president James Muir. ‘Over the next few years, Seat will embark upon a product offensive that will see the spirit of the IBL reflected in several series-production models.’

Seat is about to start refreshing its range, which - Alhambra apart - is beginning to grow old gracefully. A new city car based on the Up lands first, and we’ll see it in spring 2012. And later next year the new Leon should hove into view, although it won’t go on sale until 2013, while Seat will also get a version of the Skoda MissionL.

What else can we read into the IBL show car?

Looks like Seat’s styling team has been looking to Italy for inspiration. The IBL bears a passing resemblance to the Lambo Estoque, but also to the Alfa Romeo 159 – especially in the sharp-creased form language of the sides. And is that a BMW-ish Hofmeister kink in the C-pillar chromework?

New head of design, Alejandro Mesonero-Romanos, talks about ‘pure forms, precise lines and exact surfaces.’

Clean, crisp lines are the order of the day, and the same applies inside where the IBL’s cabin is uncluttered and minimalist.

Seat IBL: another hybrid

Seat isn’t saying much about the technology of its IBL, other than that it’s a plug-in hybrid. The last few Seat concept cars have been and we know the engineers at Martorell are working on roadgoing systems which will use the Volkswagen group hybrid hardware.

The IBL shows how Seat will roll out its new look across a variety of different sectors: the IBE was an Ibiza-sized concept car, the IBX showed the new look manifested as a crossover, while the IBL shows how a family car could adopt the Mediterranean aesthetic.

Now all Seat has to do to convince us is go ahead and actually build it.


 

By Tim Pollard

Editorial director of CAR's digital publishing arm. Motoring news magnet

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