Seat's official company line is that this, the IBE, is a concept coupe to show off a new VW Group modular electric drive system. The design chief says it shows us the company's new design language: 'a rolling DNA concentrate.' There's a lot of new-Leon in here.
The IDE is remarkably, er, unshowy for a show car. No mad curves or levitating wings or rocket booster pods. But Donckerwolke says good design is about paring stuff back. "You should design with the minimum number of design elements. Then subtract one. So this car has no bluff or fireworks," he says.
What's left after all that reduction? A little coupe, shorter than an Ibiza but very wide, with narrow wheels. A compact electric motor snuggles under the bonnet. The compact surface-mount LED lights are possible for production in two years' time.
When we first clapped eyes on the IBE, we were a bit underwhelmed. But like many subtle things - and unlike Patum Peperium anchovy paste - it's definitely growing on us. The trick is to carry the purity to production and not let it get blanded-out to make the engineering easier.
Donckerwolke knows this. "Design is about battles. If I don't have a fight every day, I don't go home happy." We've always found him a charming fellow. But suddenly we're glad we don't have to work with him.
Paul Horrell, Consultant Editor of Top Gear magazine