The hot new Ibiza Cupra is SEAT's most powerful, production small car yet and also the most powerful new car you can buy for under £14,000. It's now available to order, hitting the decks of SEAT's UK showrooms from October.

Starting with the name, Cupra comes from the words Cup and Racing and is SEAT-speak for its top-of-the-range models - cars which are a right laugh to drive, look fantastic and yet don't skimp on value and/or spec. The £13,995 Ibiza Cupra follows hot on the twin-chromed exhaust pipes of the Leon Cupra introduced earlier this year. It has the same 1.8-litre 20-valve turbocharged engine but tuned to give a maximum power output of 156 bhp. And just in case you missed it the first time, that's more than any other £14k new car.

The latest release Ibiza Cupra is also £1000 less than the price of its forerunner, the Cupra Sport 16V which, when it left the price list over a year ago, was not only lower powered but also much inferior in its standard kit list. But enough of pricing. Thank goodness, you say.

On to performance, that's much more fun. The Ibiza Cupra accelerates to 62 mph in 7.9 seconds with a top speed, for the record, officer, of 135 mph. (Customers are advised to give the yellow paint option a swerve if they plan on exploiting the Cupra's pumpin' power - SEAT thoughtfully offers more discrete shades.)

While not exactly discrete, the Cupra's styling avoids Laddish excess. That's down to SEAT's urbane Mr Style, Walter da'Silva, being the artist behind the design changes. He has taken the Ibiza three-door, substantially revised a year ago, and added anthracite painted, honeycomb radiator grilles and anthracite in lieu of black front/rear bump strips, he's incorporated deeper colour-keyed side skirts, rear apron and front spoiler (with integrated, anthracite lined spot lamps), the rear apron is also colour-keyed to show off the chrome twin exhausts, new five-spoke 16" alloys are an obvious Cupra cue as are red brake calipers and, finally, Walter has ringed the twin beam headlamps in - you guessed it - anthracite.

Opening the Cupra's door reveals sills stamped with the Cupra moniker - anthracite painted, of course. The seats, fatly bolstered, are part black leather with centres upholstered in Cupra logo cloth, the steering wheel has a thicker, leather rim to it and the centre console and instrument cluster are sprayed, yes, anthracite with the dials themselves painted white. These glow SEAT red all the time, as does the Cupra logo stamped into the rev counter. The gearknob is a unique, metal-topped Cupra item as are the metal-faced pedals. Polishing off the changes, quite literally, is a chrome ring surrounding the gear-lever gaiter and, lest you forget what you're driving, there's a small Cupra logo just ahead of it. Only marketing types of a rival car manufacturer would deny that this SEAT is a quality item. And they'd be lying.

Now for standard equipment. It's got lots as the following list of the major stuff reveals:

driver, front seat passenger and side airbags
anti-lock brakes
EDS and TCS (… traction control systems, in case you're wondering)
ISOFIX child-seat mounting points
alarm and remote control central locking
electronic "set and forget" air conditioning
trip computer
six speaker radio/cassette system, integrated into the dash' so un-nickable
one touch electric front windows
height adjustable steering column
electrically adjustable and heated door mirrors
part leather upholstery
16" alloys
Tech spec - Ibiza Cupra 20V T

Capacity
(cc)
1781

Power
(bhp/rpm)
156

Torque
(Nm/rpm)
210/1800-2200

(lbs ft/rpm)
155/1800-2200

Maximum speed
(mph)
135

Acceleration 0-62
(sec)
7.9

Fuel consumption

- urban
(mpg)
26.2

- extra-urban
(mpg)
47.1

- combined
(mpg)
36.2

CO2 emissions
(g/km)
187

Weights

- kerb weight
(kg)
1119

- gross weight
(kg)
1579

- max tow limit braked
(kg)
1000



P.S. The Cordoba 2-door Cupra doesn't get a mention in the above because SEAT UK has chosen just to import the Ibiza.