Seat turns up the heat on new Ibiza

Published: 26 June 2008

Seat has already started work on turning up the new Ibiza’s wick – our spy snapper caught this mule testing this week – less than a month after the new three-door SportCoupe’s debut. Expect both diesel and petrol FR models to arrive early next year, with the mad Cupra arriving mid-2009.

This Seat Ibiza doesn't exactly look like a ripper…

Good point – this is a mule, but one being used to test the electronics on the FR’s new seven-speed DSG transmission, rather than chassis and suspension settings. Which explains why it’s riding on standard wheels with unchanged suspension settings. Seat claims it will be the first to market with a seven-speed double-clutch supermini – although that’s a pretty easy promise to make when it simply entails sauntering into VW’s transmission shop and helping yourself to what's on the shelf.

But will the FR be warm or hot?

Warm, in a word. It will be powered by the VW-sourced twin-charge 1.4-litre TSI engine – you know, the one with both a supercharger and a turbo blower. Developing around 150bhp, it should provide the FR with decent, insurance-friendly pace for around £15,000. You’ll also get bigger brakes, uprated suspension and a cabin shotgunned with FR logos, as well as the full visual treatment with stubby twin exhausts, lowered ride height, 17-inch alloys, silvered wing mirrors and a slick body kit.

Click 'Next' below to read more about the Seat Ibiza FR

There will be a diesel?

The petrol version will be followed by a turbodiesel model, packing the 2.0-litre 140bhp TDI from the Golf GT. Seat insiders claim that the lighter and more compact engine should benefit the petrol Ibiza’s ride and handling. With the Ibiza’s talented chassis, it should elevate the FR’s dynamics a league ahead of the old model.

Which means the Cupra will be the one to watch?

Indeed. Details of the petrol-only Ibiza flagship are pretty sketchy, but it will certainly use the same twin-charge 1.4TSI as the FR, but this time reworked to swing with a 180bhp punch. It’ll certainly look more outrageous than the FR, and insiders claim that the positive response to the Bocanegra – the Luc Donckerwolke-penned Ibiza concept from this year’s Geneva motor show – has persuaded Seat to offer the Bocanegra’s striking black visage as on option on the Cupra.

Has Seat finally found its mojo, or is it simply playing pick and mix with VW Group parts… again? Click 'Add your comment' below and have your say.

By Ben Whitworth

Contributing editor, sartorial over-achiever, HANS device shirt collars

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