More oomph for sportiest Skoda
WITH its Octavia range having just benefited from a facelift, Skoda has taken the opportunity to give the range-topping vRS sports model an injection of power, writes William Scholes.
The new model will be called the vRS 245 because the 2.0-litre turbo petrol engine is now tuned to pump out 245PS, or 242bhp in old money.
The vRS 245 also benefits from an electronically regulated limited-slip differential. The hatchback version completes the 0-62mph sprint in 6.6 seconds - the estate takes 6.7 seconds - and a seven-speed version of the double-clutch gearbox is available for the first time. A six-speed manual is standard.
Styling tweaks include a new grille and headlamp arrangement, lots of gloss black trim and spoilers front and rear.
Headlamps are now full-LED affairs as standard and a 'husky' exhaust is also fitted. Inside, sports seats and silver pedals are among the details which set the vRS apart from more mundane Octavia models.
Torque is 273lb.ft and Skoda makes much of the engine's flexibility, saying that in fifth gear a manual vRS 245 can sprint from 37mph to 62mph in 6.4 seconds and from 50mph to 75mph in 6.6 seconds.
As with other facelifted Octavia models, an array of the latest safety and driver assistance kit is available.
The long list of such features includes: trailer assist, which steers and brakes the car and trailer when reversing; predictive pedestrian protection, which brakes in the event of an impending collision with pedestrians; blind spot detect, which warns of any vehicles in the blind spot; rear traffic alert, which warns the driver of approaching traffic when reversing out of parking spaces; manoeuvre assist, which brakes the vehicle as soon as the sensor detects an obstacle when moving forwards or reversing; and crew protect assist, which closes the windows and sunroof in the event of an impending collision and tensions driver and passenger seatbelts.
For the vRS 245, the adaptive cruise control system, which helps the driver to maintain the selected speed and the desired distance from the car in front, can be activated up to a speed of 130mph...
Skoda's vRS models have been key to the brand's renaissance, with sporty Octavia's accounting for about 20 per cent of the model's sales.
Before the vRS 245 arrives, we will get the upgraded regular vRS model, which compared to the outgoing version benefits from a slightly higher power output of 227bhp.
With the manual gearbox, it completes the 0-62mph sprint in 6.7 seconds - the DSG-equipped car takes 6.8 seconds - and top speed is rated at 155mph.
Diesel vRS models continue to use a 182bhp 2.0-litre unit, and can be specified with either front- or four-wheel-drive; 4x4 versions come only with the double-clutch automatic gearbox. The diesel has a 0-62mph time of 7.9 seconds, with the four-wheel-drive model a little quicker at 7.6 seconds.
Prices of the vRS 245 have yet to be announced, but the cheapest petrol vRS hatch is now £24,930; diesel prices start at £25,105. Estate models start at £26,130, and the most expensive version - a diesel 4x4 estate with the double-clutch gearbox - is £29,145.
Meanwhile, Skoda has also announced prices of the 'soft-roader' Scout 4x4 version of the Octavia.
Available only as an estate and with a 2.0-litre diesel with either 148bhp or 182bhp, the Scout features alcantara and leather upholstery, an 8-inch touchscreen infotainment system, full LED headlamps, beefed up body styling and an off-road mode.
The lower-powered Scout costs £26,470 and the more potent model £29,265.
The updated Scout and vRS models can be ordered now.