A couple of years ago I had the pleasure of a week with the Skoda Octavia vRS (HERE), which I enjoyed hugely. At the time I wondered how good it would be with four-wheel drive. Now I know.
This is because at the end of last year I renewed my relationship with this good value powerhouse and this time it came with all four wheels driven (car pictured in grey).
Powered on this occasion by a rorty 2.0L 181bhp diesel engine, economy was obviously improved at the expense of that extra bite of power. Otherwise I found the car had lost none of those vRS qualities that makes the Skoda such a pleasure to drive: poised handling, a comfortable ride and sufficient power to hold your attention.
All the positives I noted in my older review still apply – only better. The Skoda Octavia vRS has evolved into a fine performance motor and, in estate car guise (specification below), is also a versatile family shuttle.
No Resting On Laurels
Skoda are clearly not ones for sitting on their hands though. Not content with providing their customers with a performance car for under £30k, they have decided to push the power into new territory. The most powerful Skoda in the company’s history is on its way.
The new Skoda Octavia vRS 245 delivers 245 PS (242bhp), that’s 15 PS more than the previous top-of-the-range vRS variant.
The powerful engine and innovative chassis technology including the electronically regulated VAQ limited-slip differential offer the ultimate driving experience, say the company. Available as a hatchback or an estate the new car be celebrating its world premiere at the 87th International Motor Show in Geneva. The compact sports hatch accelerates to 62mph in just 6.6 seconds (Estate: 6.7 seconds) with its top speed limited to 155 mph.
As is usual for Skoda, the car features a spacious interior and boot. In addition, the latest driver assistance systems are also available as you would expect. The infotainment system means occupants have the opportunity to be online on the move, thanks to the optional Wi-Fi hotspot and LTE module.
New Face New Features
The vRS 245 features the new face of the brand and has particularly sporty design details. The completely new front section with wider radiator grille and the wide honeycomb air inlets in the redesigned bumper provide the vRS 245 with a dynamic appearance.
The redesigned headlight clusters in a crystalline look feature full-LED technology and AFS adaptive front headlights as standard. The fog lights, tail lights and number plate illumination also feature LED technology and the same crystalline appearance. The Skoda Octavia vRS 245 can also be recognised as a high-performance motor acoustically thanks to the husky sound of its exhaust system.
A Special Interior
The sporty look also dominates in the interior, which has been designed largely in black – from the roof lining to the foot well. The pedals come with an aluminium finish. With their high sides and integrated headrests, the Alcantara sports seats provide maximum support in fast corners. The front seats bear the vRS logo – as do the front door sills.
The multifunctional sports steering wheel with perforated leather and integrated steering wheel paddles (for DSG transmissions) match the car’s dynamic ambience. The LED ambient lighting in the vRS 245-specific decorative trims immerses the interior in one of the ten choices of colours.
Skoda Connect offers pioneering mobile online services divided into the two categories of Infotainment Online (information/entertainment) and Care Connect (driver assistance). The top-of-the-range Columbus navigation system features a 9.2” screen and an optional LTE module for super-fast data transfer, and provides occupants with a Wi-Fi hotspot.
One of the particularly helpful services is Online Traffic Information, which offers recommended alternatives to the chosen route in the event of a traffic jam. In the Columbus system, destinations can be entered via voice control using the Point of Interest search.
The list of safety equipment and Skoda ‘Simply Clever’ features is far too long to add here; suffice to say that all the expected bases are covered. In due time information on the new car will be found HERE.
High On Power, Low On Consumption
The range-topping model has a four-cylinder, TSI petrol engine under its bonnet. Maximum torque of 273lb/ft (370 Nm) is achieved between 1,600 and 4,300 rpm. There is a choice of a 6-speed manual gearbox or – for the first time in a Skoda Octavia – a 7-speed, dual-clutch transmission.
Sporting chassis, Mechanical Limited Slip
Compared to the ‘normal’ models in the range, the sports chassis lowers the body of the Skoda Octavia vRS 245 by 14 mm with a wider rear track. The standard, gloss-black alloy wheels are 19” in diameter.
The ESC stability system with Sport mode, as well as the electronically regulated VAQ limited-slip differential are also part of the standard equipment. This electronic inter-wheel lock for the differential on the driving wheels allows for particularly dynamic acceleration when exiting corners: the amount of slip on one of the front wheels is limited and transferring power to the road is optimised.
The dynamic character of the car is additionally highlighted by the car’s progressive steering and the optional adaptive Dynamic Chassis Control.
Unquestionably, the existing Skoda Octavia vRS is a terrific, good value sporting motor that can also double as a load-lugger. The new car will add some extra spark to an already well-rounded package. Geoff Maxted