Future Seat line-up set to include EVs and diesel Cupras

Published: 21 October 2016

► Seat considering electric power for 2019 model range
► New diesel-engined Cupras also under consideration

► Mk4 Ibiza was the last Cupra to feature diesel power

Dr. Matthias Rabe, head of R&D at Seat, has stated that the brand has ‘concrete plans for electric cars starting in 2019’.

While it’s currently unclear what form its EV would take, Seat is sure to make use of the Volkswagen Group’s upcoming MEB platform – which is designed specifically for electric cars. 

Hybrids, however, do not appear to be on the list for the Spanish marque – at least, given its current target market and price range. Rabe said: ‘Today, a hybrid car for Seat would be too expensive’ – thus ruling out any immediate thoughts of a VW Golf GTE-inspired Leon.

So, EVs aside, diesel Cupras will be making a comeback? 

Speaking at the same event as Rabe – the launch of the facelifted 2017 Seat Leon in Barcelona – a senior company spokesperson stated that the brand was looking at returning to putting diesel engines in cars sporting the Cupra badge.

This move would mark a significant about-face for the brand, given that the last Cupra diesel was the MK4 Ibiza Cupra TDI – which was launched in 2002 and removed from sale in 2009.

As it stands, Seat’s most powerful diesel is the 181bhp 2.0-litre found in the Leon and Ateca. Any new diesel hot hatch launched by the brand would likely feature a modified version of this engine.

Could the tuned diesel be offered in an Ateca Cupra?

The likely destination for any diesel Cupra engine could be the all-but-confirmed Seat Ateca Cupra SUV, aside from the Leon and Ibiza.

Due to the torque and potential economy offered by diesels, they pair neatly with larger, heavier SUVs. The sales figures reflect their popularity, with diesel SUVs far outselling their petrol counterparts – meaning a hot diesel would likely appeal the most to potential buyers.

We certainly wouldn’t say no to the idea of an Ateca Cupra with the 237bhp BiTDI engine from the Volkswagen Tiguan…

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By James Dennison

Head of automotive video for CAR magazine and our sister website Parkers.co.uk