Seat Ibiza Bocanegra review

In customer language Bocanegra should actually translate into ‘a styling pack for the Ibiza Cupra’ because that’s essentially what it is; adding 17-inch alloys, a distinctive black grille and a more sculpted, sporty exterior to the Ibiza Cupra.

However, the Ibiza is an attractive car in its own right so adding all the sporty touches required of a hot hatch only helps to create a more eye-catching and aggressive car.

As with all hot hatches, the real assessment should be made from behind the wheel, and it is in driving the Seat Ibiza Bocanegra where the pocket rocket really begins to wow.

Underneath all the superficial styling sits a 178bhp 1.4-litre TSI engine lifted straight from Volkswagen but this hot hatch mates its drivetrain to a brilliant DSG gearbox complete with paddle shift.

It can clear 0-62mph in 7.2 seconds with a top speed of 140mph and having seen the embroidered race seats you could expect the Bocanegra to dish out a pretty aggressive ride.

To a certain extent that’s exactly what the Spanish hot hatch does. It packs a punch and that’s helped no-end by being able to pre-load your gear changes without moving your hands away from the steering wheel.

We were fortunate enough to test the Bocanegra in a track situation and it came out with flying colours.

As well as decent acceleration along the straights and the excitement brought about by thrashing a hot hatch about on a track, the Bocanegra was also notable for its grip and handling around corners.

There was almost no body roll and handling/body control was second to none thanks to a combination of big tyres and Seat’s XDS traction system.

That makes the Ibiza Bocanegra incredibly comfortable to ride in as well as sporty and although it’s probably too sophisticated and too nice a place to be for it to truly carry the hot hatch tag, Seat doesn’t think that and there are constant reminders to the Bocanegra’s sporting intent inside.

As well as the embossed race seats, carbon fibre detailing and a straight-edged steering wheel there’s also a bright red stitching across the upholstery and quite a moody dashboard-come-centre console.

Inside, it looks the part and feels upmarket and well put together. It’ll never win spaces for practicality, but that is not the reason to buy such a car.

In the UK, the love affair with hot hatches is undiminished, and Seat has delivered one of the best in its class.

Known for its explosive, desirable small cars – Seat even featured huge explosions on its press shots for the Seat Leon Cupra R last year – the Ibiza Bocanegra continues the tradition in style.

It may only be a small premium over the standard Ibiza and act as more of a range-topping trim level than a model in its own right, but the Seat Ibiza Bocanegra is a joy to get behind the wheel of and certainly will not disappoint hot hatch fans in the UK.

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