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SEAT Ibiza Bocanegra review

The new SEAT Ibiza Bocanegra is the hottest Ibiza ever. Read our review to see if it's any good.

"It's a new hot SEAT Ibiza - cue lots of puns about it being party time"

What is it?
Meet the SEAT Ibiza Bocanegra. This is the flagship model in the Ibiza range, powered by a 1.4-litre turbo- and supercharged TSI engine. There are actually three new hot Ibizas to choose from, the FR, the Cupra, and this Bocanegra model, all powered by the same engine. But as the Bocanegra is the car that’s aimed at keen drivers, that’s the one I took for a spin.

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[Click here to watch our video road test]

What does it look like?
Bocanegra is Spanish for black mouth, which is why this car has a glossy black front end. It’s mechanically identical to the Ibiza Cupra, so the power output is the same 180hp, but the Bocanegra costs £700 more, weighing in at £16,695. The extra buys you unique styling and trim detailing, with black inserts in the rear bumper and a Bocanegra badge.

What’s it like inside?
The Bocanegra gets sports seats which feature red stitching, while special B logos are scattered around the cabin. The design of the interior is largely unchanged from the Cupra, though, so the layout is attractive. There’s a nice leather steering wheel too, which hides the paddles which operate the Bocanegra’s standard-fit twin-clutch DSG gearbox.

What’s it like to drive?
The Bocanegra’s engine has been tweaked to sound sporty, but in practice, it sounds a little bit thrashy. The engine has to be worked hard to deliver its performance, and feels strained higher in the range, so the Bocanegra can be coarse when you’re pushing hard.

The handling could do with more sparkle, too – the electronic XDS diff, as used in the Golf GTI, eliminates the need for a mechanical differential by using the stability control to maintain traction, but it’s intrusive. Still, the driver aids ensure safe cornering, and grip out of bends is good.

But the Bocanegra’s chassis doesn’t have the agility and engagement of key rivals such as the new Renaultsport Clio, and you get the sense that the technology has engineered the fun out of this hatch.

For £1,150 extra, you can also specify a brake upgrade, yet even with this expensive option fitted, stopping power doesn’t feel particularly strong.

Verdict
Whether the Bocanegra’s styling changes are worth the £700 premium over the Cupra is down to personal taste. Nevertheless, the sharply styled, technology-packed and solidly built Bocanegra makes a decent case for itself. And with the cheaper, but dynamically similar, Cupra and FR going on sale at the same time, there’s plenty of choice when it comes to hot Ibiza fun this summer.

Car Specs - SEAT Ibiza Bocanegra

Engine:1.4-litre TSI, 180hp
0-62mph:7.2 seconds
Top speed:141mph
Economy/emissions:44.0mpg/148g/km CO2
Price/On sale £16,695/Now

We rate:
Concept car looks
Top notch build quality

We slate:
Engine pretty thrashy
Bocanegra stuff a question of taste

Rating:

by Bryce Richards

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Richard is a former editor of Carbuyer, as well as sister site DrivingElectric.com, and he's now Deputy Editor at Auto Express. Having spent a decade working in the automotive industry, he understands exactly what makes new car buyers tick.

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