Ireland’s cheapest hot hatch the SEAT Ibiza CUPRA looks set to get even better as the all-new model has been teased by SEAT ahead of its reveal at the forthcoming Frankfurt Motor Show. The new car retains the muscular stance of its predecessor but now gets 17-inch alloy wheels, bi-xenon headlights with daytime running lights, black door mirrors, a matt-black diffuser and a trapezoidal tailpipe. The interior has been improved in line with the rest of the Ibiza range with a new steering wheel from the Leon family, new air vents, a new instrument panel and infotainment systems. There are new plastics used throughout too, to give a more luxurious feel to the cabin. Under the bonnet, the new car sees its power boosted to 192 PS from 180 PS compared to its predecessor thanks to a 1.8-litre TSI engine and a boost in torque from 250Nm to 320Nm, meaning 0-100km/h arrives in just 6.7 seconds and there is a top speed potential of 235 km/h. Also new is the addition of an XDS electronic differential lock which reduces the tendency to understeer and improves handling characteristics – especially under fast cornering. There are high-performance brakes on the new car and the addition of the CUPRA Drive Profile, which allows the characteristics of the car to be adapted at the touch of a button to suit driver preferences. This encompasses CUPRA Selective Suspension, an adaptive suspension control system that lets driver’s choose between comfort suspension or sport suspension and also, modifies the steering behaviour.
Connectivity, so important for the modern motorist has been further enhanced and now alongside MirrorLinkTM, the SEAT Full Link connectivity solution incorporates the functions of Apple Car PlayTM and Android AutoTM. Users can be online, while retaining full concentration on the road, and make use of the various permitted functions conveniently and safely via the touchscreen in the new Ibiza. In the case of Apple CarPlay, those functions currently cover phone, messaging, music and maps, with more to follow in future. MirrorLink is another perfect technology that enables the safe operation of smartphones and many of their functions and apps via the Ibiza CUPRA’s infotainment system by “mirroring” the smartphone screen on the touchscreen in the redesigned Ibiza cockpit. This works seamlessly with a growing number of MirrorLink-compatible Android smartphones. Android Auto provides quick and easy access to navigation, communications, and music applications and services in a way that is safer than accessing these apps on the phone screen while driving. The new SEAT DriveApp has been developed exclusive for users of SEAT FullLink and MirrorLink. It offers a whole range of innovative functions that can be used either in or outside the Ibiza CUPRA. For instance, the vehicle’s touchscreen can be personalised with local weather reports or contacts. Plus, the SEAT DriveApp uses “text to speech” to read out the latest posts from Facebook or Twitter, while “Challenger” offers interesting challenges to optimise driving skills, leading to a more efficient driving style. On leaving the vehicle, the “where is my car” function stores the Ibiza’s current position and finds it again whenever necessary.
SEAT has agreed a cooperation with Samsung for the development of innovative connectivity solutions and is offering the new SEAT ConnectApp within the MirrorLink technology as an initial step. It makes perfect use of MirrorLink integration – the driver is “always on”, yet remains fully concentrated on the traffic. One new and exclusive function is gesture control, enabling functions such as calls or contacts to be called up on the SEAT Media System touchscreen. The welcome screen of the SEAT ConnectApp can be individualised to display information such as the current weather forecast or appointments. With “smart tips”, the app learns personal preferences such as frequent destinations and can issue appointment reminders. A wide range of other functions are already available at launch of the SEAT ConnectApp, with regular updates scheduled to maintain currency going forward. Prices and on-sale dates for the new Ibiza CUPRA have yet to be finalised but should be less than €24,000 when the car goes on sale in early 2016. This is a car we are truly looking forward to because not many can offer this type of performance for such an affordable price. We are already anticipating the first drive in 2016.