It was back at the 1984 Paris Motor Show that the world caught its first glimpse of a Spanish supermini that would shake up the small car class for good, bringing much-needed style and excitement to the sector and establishing SEAT as a key component of the Volkswagen Group.
The public unveiling 25 years ago of the Ibiza Mk I signalled the start of a motoring success story that has taken the car to worldwide sales of more than four million and, in the process, the title of SEAT’s best-selling model of the modern era.
Throughout its history, the
The first generation car clearly threw down the gauntlet to the established players in the class by combining the spaciousness and interior comfort of higher segment models in a more compact body (3.6 metres long).
To create the first Ibiza SEAT went straight to some of the most well-known names in the industry, collaborating with Italian designer Giorgio Giugiaro’s Italdesign, as well as Karmann for industrialisation and Porsche for the powertrain technology (called ‘System Porsche’ and proudly displayed on the engine).
With a choice of petrol engines ranging from 44 PS to a spirited 100 PS, as well as an efficient 55 PS diesel, the
After seven successful years on the market, in 1991 the model underwent a complete transformation – entitled New Style – which saw revisions to both the front end and the interior trim. At the same time the Sport Line version made its debut in
The following year, the SEAT Ibiza became the official car of the
Following such a successful debut was never going to be easy but, in 1993, the Spanish brand announced the second generation of the
Noteworthy for a number of reasons, perhaps the most important fact about the second generation car was that it became the first SEAT to be manufactured in the new Martorell factory, 30 kms from SEAT’s original
Unveiled at the 1993 Barcelona Motor Show, the car was developed within the Volkswagen Group and featured a total of six engine choices (petrol, diesel and turbo-diesel) with three- and five-door body styles on offer.
Also in 1996, SEAT debuted what was quickly to become another landmark model with the unveiling of its first, spectacular, Ibiza Cupra – equipped with a fire-breathing 150 PS 2.0-litre engine. This much-anticipated launch was also used by SEAT to celebrate its brilliant victory in the 2.0-litre category of the
At the 1999 Barcelona Motor Show the
A year later in May 2000, and coinciding with SEAT’s 50th anniversary, the company presented the new SEAT Ibiza Cupra equipped with a turbocharged 156 PS 1.8-litre petrol powerplant. This car marked another important ‘first’ for SEAT by becoming the first car in its class to feature
Meanwhile, the experience gained by SEAT Sport through competing for six successful years in World Rally Championship events delivered a direct benefit for SEAT buyers with the launch of the range-topping, ultra-sporty SEAT Ibiza Cupra R, the first mass-produced model developed by the company’s motorsport division. This exclusive car was equipped with a class-leading 180 PS 1.8-litre 20V turbo engine.
Unsurprisingly perhaps, sales of the Ibiza Mk II outstripped those of the previous generation with a total of 1,522,607 units sold between 1993 and 2002.
The third generation of the
Designed by no less a motoring legend than Walter de Silva, the
More than that, though, the 2001
In 2004 the
In February 2006 the SEAT
Equipped with an 80 PS 1.4-litre
Sales of the third generation Ibiza reached a total of 1,084,989 between 2002 and 2007 making it the best-selling supermini in
A year ago, SEAT began the roll-out of its fourth generation
Quality is, of course, another key feature of the new
The new model debuts designer Luc Donckerwolke’s ‘Arrow Design’ concept at the front, lending the new Ibiza a sporty, yet more distinctive look thanks to the use of sharp geometric lines as well as the evolution of the brand’s classic Dynamic Line sweeping across the sides.
Equipment on today’s Ibiza also puts SEAT’s ‘baby’ in pole position in its class, with the likes of head-chest airbags,
Euro NCAP crash tests have validated the excellent work carried out by the Martorell Technical Centre, resulting in five stars for passenger protection, four stars for child safety and three stars for pedestrian protection.
Engine options in today’s Ibiza SC and Ibiza 5dr include a suite of smooth and willing petrol powerplants: 70 PS 1.2; 85 PS 1.4; and 105 PS 1.6 while diesel options (available in some markets) include an 80 PS 1.4
They all feature exceptionally low CO2 emissions with the new, second generation, Ecomotive versions laying claim to be the joint lowest emitting five-seater in their class with an official output of just 98 g/km.
The new Ibiza range is growing all the time, of course, with the imminent arrival of new versions such as the spectacular Ibiza Cupra, FR and head-turning Ibiza Cupra Bocanegra, the last two of which having made their world debuts just days ago at the Barcelona Motor Show.
As ever these new cars have powerful, efficient engines, excellent performance, generous equipment and cutting edge technology such as XDS and Bi-xenon headlights with
Boasting attractive designs, engaging dynamics, exciting performance and exceptional economy, today’s
Notes to editors:
· SEAT (pronounced say-at) is a Spanish motor company owned by The Volkswagen Automotive Group. It employs around 11,000 people, and offers a wide range of cars comprising the
· In the
· Overall, SEAT registered 29,397 cars in 2008, with the new
· The word SEAT is an acronym of the original company name: Sociedad Española de Automóviles de Turismo, and should always be written in block capitals.
· SEAT was founded on 9 May 1950 with production of its first vehicle, the 1400, beginning in 1953. The 600 model, launched in 1957, is the car credited with putting
· SEAT’s production is concentrated at the ultra-modern Martorell plant, near
· The firm began its
· SEAT also operates a strong international motorsport programme comprising participation in the
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For SEAT Ibiza Mk I images click here
For SEAT Ibiza Mk II images click here
For SEAT Ibiza Mk III images click here
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