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1 May 2014

Seat Ibiza Cupra

Text and Photos: Reinis Babrovskis

Hot hatches have always been the weapon of choice for the younger motoring fraternity, looking for an affordable, practical, but still sporting driving experience. The heritage of the hot hatch is well documented - Volkswagen introduced the concept to the masses with the Golf GTI; Peugeot stole the crown with the legendary 205 GTI in the Eighties; and even Renault gave the mundane 5 a turbocharged, performance makeover. In many ways, this was a golden era for the hot hatch. By the early nineties, hatches grew up, got safer, fatter and, well, slightly less hot.
Thankfully, that trend has been reversed. So what do we have now? Well, we have a multitude of choices including the Fiesta ST, the Renault Sport Clios, the high revving Honda Civic Type-R and also mad 300bhp super hot hatches like the VXR Astra and RS Focus. High output engine in a (relatively!) small car is a sure-fire recipe for fun.  
Marc Whitford is, in some ways, a hot hatch aficionado. He demands that his cars provide driving entertainment and thrills. Something his Ford Fiesta ST provided. But he fancied something newer. Something with even better performance and more advanced technology. So, Marc took the plunge and replaced his trusty Fiesta with and a stunning Emocion red Seat Ibiza Cupra.
The latest Ibiza was designed by the Belgian car designer Luc Donckerwolke. The design followed a distinctive arrow shape to keep in line with the style of the original 1984 model. The sporty design is enhanced by the sharp lines giving it a beautiful silhouette.
Honeycomb structured air vents are integrated into the front bumper. The grill surround finished in stunning black paintwork is proudly wearing the Cupra badge. To continue the lovely red/black theme the door mirror casings match the front grill as is the rear bumper moulding. The rear bumper received a striking diffuser with a centrally placed integrated exhaust. A large Cupra logo is proudly residing under the Seat symbol on the boot. The front and rear lights are true designer masterpieces and blend into the design nicely adding to the mean look. 
The racing theme continues within the car interior – beautiful aluminium pedals, flat base three spoke steering wheel with flappy paddles and centrally placed Seat logo isn’t just beautiful, but very comfortable when you feel like racing. Above the shiny black centre console the Cupra comes with a digital onboard PC – with built in features like sat nav as well as digital gauges.

Being the Cupra model, it comes equipped with a 1.4 engine that is turbocharged and supercharged. The combined power of turbo and supercharger produces 180bhp and 250Nm of torque allowing the car to reach 60mph from a standstill in 7.0 seconds. The engine is teamed up with a seven speed DSG gearbox that can do the work for you, or with manual mode, you can become an F1 hero on the supermarket run by using the flappy paddles on the steering wheel.
All the sporty looks and accessories mean nothing at the end of the day, it is all about the driving experience with hot hatchbacks, so does the Seat Ibiza Cupra perform? Yes, it certainly does. With a high performance engine, the car needs to have traction and handling that takes advantage of this. Alongside the VW group, Seat developed a new electronic anti-blocking mechanism system called XDS that acts as a self-blocking differential. By limiting the power to a wheel that is losing a traction the system prevents skidding, under-steering and body roll.
Indeed, the Ibiza Cupra does something which many modern cars struggle to do. Combines the best of new and old. Striking new age styling, high end technology in the cabin and under the bonnet, yet retaining that proper, authentic, hot hatch formula.

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