2016 SEAT Ibiza Cupra 1.8 TSI | Review

With the current SEAT Ibiza nearing the end of a lengthy lifecycle, the Cupra has been hotted-up for one final fling. Is this Ibiza still up for all-night rave, or is it now more last tango in Benidorm?2016 SEAT Ibiza Cupra BlackYou remember 2008, right? A time when George W. Bush was still President of the United States, ‘Rockstar’ by Nickelback was inescapable, and the world was facing a humongous financial catastrophe. Ring any bells? At the same time as all that, SEAT was unleashing the fourth-generation Ibiza on the public. Cutting to the chase, this Ibiza has been around the block a few times.

After eight years, the fourth-gen Ibiza looks remarkably similar to the original Luc Donckerwolke design, despite having had two facelifts. It’s still an attractive car and, with the evolution of hot hatch styling in that time, manages to actually be relatively subtle compared to its rivals. Aside from the extra cut outs below the front grille, and the bespoke rear bumper and diffuser, you’d be hard-pressed to tell it apart from a cooking FR model.2016-seat-ibiza-cupra-black-review-004This particular test car was ‘Cupra Black’ spec, which means it gains black alloy wheels along with red brake calipers. There’s also additional interior equipment differences, but we’ll cover that later. Unless you have a serious dislike of gloss black alloy wheels, it’s most probably £800 well spent to upgrade.

The biggest alteration to this latest Ibiza Cupra is beneath the bonnet. Gone is the weird twincharged 1.4-litre petrol engine – which suffered a reputation for guzzling engine oil – that could only be had with a DSG dual-clutch gearbox. In comes a 1.8-litre turbocharged petrol engine from the EA888 VAG family. It has already seen service in the current Polo GTI and, as ESM’s Editor can attest, isn’t shy when it comes to twist.2016 SEAT Ibiza Cupra BlackWith 189hp and 236lb-ft of torque, the Cupra gains 12hp and 52lb-ft over the old 1.4 unit. As a result of the extra power, 0-62mph drops by 0.2 of a second to 6.7 seconds, whilst the top speed increases to 146mph. In case you’re wondering, both performance figures are identical to the Polo GTI, and are also ahead of the ubiquitous Ford Fiesta ST. So rest assured – you’ll have the bragging rights in a Halfords car park. (more…)

Lessons in conservatism – New BMW 3 Series and New SEAT Ibiza

Today’s title may be a pun on yesterday’s general election, but we don’t want to labour the point too much. Sorry. Yesterday also saw the unveiling of two ‘new’ cars, although you’d be hard pressed to realise it.

Being a car-designer must be a fairly easy job these days, especially when it comes to mid-lifecycle ‘refresh’ time – what the rest of us refer to as a ‘facelift’ usually. The idea is to give the car a minor makeover to keep interest from buyers up, but without the need to change so much for factory production lines to need updating. Alterations to lights, bumpers and grilles are usually your lot for a facelift model, but even these two seem to have done that as mildly as possible. First up, in the blue corner, is the revised 3 Series:

BMW 3 Series

2015 BMW 3-Series 002
As a car that counts for almost one in every four BMWs sold, Munich has of course played it very safe with its key model. You’ll have to be a keen BMW fan to know what’s different, with the revised headlights and taillights now being full LED units. Beyond that, there are minor tweaks to the bumpers, and new exhaust tailpipes dependent on the engine selected. Oh, and you can have 20″ wheels if you really want them, too.

2015 BMW 3-Series 003
The interior is also largely unchanged, with minor tweaks to the materials used such as gloss black trim on the main control panel, and extra chrome bits dotted around. Put simply, when you’re classing sliding covers for cupholders as a new feature, you know nothing much has altered. (more…)

SEAT Leon Eurocup Racer – A Seriously Good Looking Race Car!

SEAT’s Leon is on something of a roll at the minute, with the Cupra 280 taking the FWD record at the Nürburging, whilst also picking up various accolades and positive reviews from the motoring press. So, what’s better than a 280 PS Leon? A stripped out racer with 330 PS and a humongous rear wing of course.

2014 SEAT Leon Eurocup 001

Make no mistake, that’s a rather good looking race car. Featuring as a support race for select rounds of the FIA World Touring Car Championship (WTCC) and International GT Open, the Eurocup one make series will be contested across six weekends. With each race weekend featuring two 50-60km sprint races, there’ll be a lot of on-track action for the one make series. Let’s just hope SEAT have a lot of spare body panels if the racing is going to be a close as we expect. Developed with Jordi Gene – of WTCC and that ‘ring record fame – the Leon Eurocup adds more to the 450 Leon race cars produced during 12 seasons of the Supercopa.

Costing €70,000 plus taxes, the Leon Eurocup Racer is relatively affordable for a one-make racer supplied direct from the manufacturer. With a 2.0 turbocharged engine giving 330 PS (326 bhp), and 295 lb-ft of torque, fitted to a car weighing 1,150 kgs, performance should be on a par with BTCC racers. A six-speed gearbox is standard, as is a reassuringly complex roll cage and 18″ racing wheels. No notes on tyres, so we’re presuming the Eurocup will be using slicks. (more…)

SEAT Leon Cupra – Extreme Simulator Video

Ok, we’re willing to admit we’re already a bit of a sucker for SEAT UK’s marketing around the new Leon Cupra here at EngageSportMode. But they’ve really outdone themselves with this rather special video:


Geneva 2014 – SEAT Leon Cupra sets Nürburgring Record

With 280 PS the new SEAT Leon Cupra was always going to have decent performance. But was it enough to set a new lap record for production cars at the infamous Nürburgring Nordschleife circuit? Indeed!

2014 SEAT Leon Cupra 280 Nur 003

The previous record for production front-wheel drive cars was set in 2011 by the Renault Sport Megane RS Trophy with a time of 8 m 7.97 seconds. With a record lap of (more…)

2014 SEAT Leon Cupra – Something of a bargain

We like the new SEAT Leon Cupra here at EngageSportMode. We like it even more when SEAT UK announces keenly priced finance options, that match the power output of their car’s 2.0 TSI engine.

2014 SEAT Leon Cupra 02

Call us OCD, but having a Personal Contract Purchase (PCP) finance deal that lets you drive a 265 PS SEAT Leon Cupra SC for £265 a month makes us a little bit happy. Oh, and that’s with a £1,000 deposit contribution from SEAT UK and an interest rate of 4.9% on a 36 month deal. SEAT haven’t provided any worked finance examples to accompany this news, so there may be hefty deposit contribution lurking behind that headline figure. But regardless, we admire the marketing work there SEAT, and it makes for an attractive payment to get behind the wheel of something which will do 0-62 mph in 5.9 seconds.

2014 SEAT Leon Cupra 003

If you’re unsure what exactly a PCP scheme entails, then have a read through our previous car buying deliberations here. Also, if you’re serious about buying a 265 PS Spanish hot hatch, ESM would suggest visiting the SEAT website or getting yourself down to your local dealership. They can provide financial advice; we can’t!

New – 2014 SEAT Leon Cupra and Cupra 280

A Cupra version of the latest Leon was inevitable. Less so was a choice of doors and power outputs which the all-new Leon flagship will offer. For the UK, the Cupra 280 will represent the most powerful production car SEAT has offered. So, just what do you get for your money?

  • Choice of 265 or 280 PS 2.0 TSI engines,
  • Standard six-speed manual, with optional DSG gearbox,
  • 3-door Sport Coupe or 5-door hatchback options available,
  • Prices from £25,960 OTR

2014 SEAT Leon Cupra 001

In comparison to the two previous generations of Leon Cupra, the third iteration looks somewhat more restrained with less to differentiate it from its normal stable mates. Compared to the regular Leon FR, only the slightly deeper (Golf R mimicking) front bumper, unique cut-outs below the grille, and bespoke rear-diffuser set the Cupra apart as packing more heat. It’s certainly attractive, and pays credit to the good looks of the base car, but you can’t help but feel SEAT have played it a little safe. Perhaps the bodykit hijinks will be reserved for a Cupra R model?

2014 SEAT Leon Cupra 003

Power comes, predictably, from a 2.0 litre turbocharged petrol engine with two flavours on offer for the SC three-door: 265 PS (261 BHP) or 280 PS (276 BHP) with both churning out 258 lb-ft of torque. As seen with the recent Golf GTI, the Volkswagen Group strategy seems to involve producing two versions with slightly varying power levels and charging a premium for the higher output. (more…)

Brand New -The SEAT Leon ST Estate

If you happened to like the SEAT Leon featured in yesterday’s review by The Tame Geek, but worried it wouldn’t be suitable for carrying labradors or wardrobes, then fear not. SEAT had already preempted your concerns, and can now allay them with this:SEAT Leon ST 01

That right there is the newly announced Leon Sport Tourer (or ST for short), (more…)

Tame Geek Review – SEAT Leon FR 2.0 TDI

Some say he manages to get behind the wheel of more new cars than The Stig. All we know is he’s called The Tame Geek, and tonight he’s feeling all Catalonian.

2013 SEAT Leon FR 2.0 TDI 

2013 SEAT Leon FR 00

What! The Tame Geek is going to review another car from the Volkswagen Group? Yes, but hold on! This is important, as it’s actually some consumer advice too!

So, as these things often go, and act of providence brought this car to me and I couldn’t pass up the opportunity for a good long spin.

Having reviewed the new Audi A3 already, many would say what’s the difference considering they are both based on the MQB? Well the differences are subtle in some respects and vast in others. (more…)

Uncle Steve Writes – Part 1 of 4 – The Leon FR TDI

In part 1 of a 4 part special, ESM’s Uncle Steve returns. Since he knows you’d be disappointed if none of the four contained a rant or complaint, he’s getting in there straight away with an article on possibly the least reliable car ever produced by SEAT, a Leon FR TDI owned initially by Steve’s fiancé and, more recently, by Steve himself. At some point Steve also intends to stop writing in the third person!


In the summer of 2010 my fiancé decided that she needed a hot hatch to rival my own (see my article on the MkV Golf GTI I owned), she’d always loved the SEAT Leon Mk2 and we decided that the frugal diesel was the model to go for to give us a nice blend of practicality and fun between our two vehicles. (more…)