Parkers overall rating: 4 out of 5 4.0

The Cupra and Bocanegra are both mechanically identical and are powered by the same 1.4-litre TSI engine. It may seem very small for a performance-focussed car, but thanks to the use of a turbocharger and a supercharger it delivers an impressive 180bhp – not that much less than the 2.0T FSI engine in the larger Leon FR. Its small size means it’s very economical with average fuel consumption of 44mpg, but what this Ibiza is really about is performance.

0-62mph takes 7.2 seconds, although that’s not quite as quick as other small hot hatches like the Vauxhall Corsa VXR. However, thanks to the twin-charged engine, there’s plenty of pulling power low down and no ‘turbo lag’ either. But what’s unusual about this model is the fact there’s no manual gearbox. Instead both the Cupra and Bocanegra come with a seven-speed DSG gearbox as standard.

This is a sequential automatic which means you’re able to change gears manually using paddles on the steering wheel. It also uses two clutches to provide super-quick smooth shifts. While the system is undoubtedly very impressive and works well on certain models, it’s frustrating on the Cupra. It often kicks down through too many gears when you push the accelerator to the floor and doesn’t hold gears at high revs, instead automatically changing up.

True, there is a nice automatic throttle ‘blip’ when you downshift, but ultimately it robs the Cupra of that important sense of driver enjoyment and involvement that’s crucial in a hot hatch. SEAT says it has no plans to launch a manual either.

Thanks to stiffer sports suspension and a lowered ride height, the Cupra is great in corners with minimal body roll and masses of grip. Like the Bocanegra it’s fitted with a feature called XDS – basically an electronic system that acts like a differential and uses the stability control and brakes to maintain traction in bends by channelling power to the wheel with most grip.

It works well, especially on twisting roads, so it’s a shame that the steering lacks a little in feel. It’s well weighted but there’s little feedback from the front wheels and it’s not as engaging as alternatives like the Renaultsport Clio. However, the brakes are very effective and there’s even an upgrade to racing brakes available as an optional extra.