The Octavia vRS you’ve always known is gone. It’s been 19 years since Skoda unveiled its first modern Octavia RS (or vRS) passenger car, which at the time was powered by a turbocharged 1.8-liter gasoline engine, the engine was tuned differently for different markets with 180 HP and 235 Nm of torque for the European market and 150 HP and 210 Nm of torque for the Indian Market. The car was an immediate success, offering great looks, boastful power figure with amazing driving dynamics in a family saloon. Plus, these cars could be upgraded with aftermarket parts to be turned into sports car killers. Same was the story with the MK II vRS which featured a 2.0L turbo charged engine and the MK III which also featured a 2.0L. The recipe has remained the same over the years, take a high displacement 4-cylinder engine, slap a turbo on it and build it to be mod friendly and power hungry.
This latest iteration however stands far removed from such simple and awesome beginnings, featuring a plug-in hybrid powertrain that combines a 1.4-liter TSI four-pot with an 85-kW electric motor for a total output of 242 HP and 400 Nm of torque. Skoda executive Christian Strube while introducing the new gen vRS said, “By introducing the Octavia RS iV, we are starting a new chapter in the success story of our RS portfolio. We are using plug-in-hybrid drive in a sporty top-of-the-range model for the first time. In the new Octavia RS iV, this both increases performance and reduces fuel consumption as well as CO2 emissions.”
While the power figures are nothing to complain about but this flagship plug-in hybrid RS fails to put its predecessors to shame when it comes to straight line performance. In Sport mode, which allows you to access the Octavia RS iV’s full power, you’ll be doing 0-100 km/h in 7.3 seconds, which is identical to the performance of the European market’s second-generation Octavia RS (Laura RS for us). The top speed meanwhile is rated at 225 km/h. Visually, the new Skoda Octavia RS iV comes with specific LED fog lights and black 18-inch alloy wheels (19-inch optional) as standard, as well as red RS brake calipers. Of course, the grille, air curtains, diffuser, aeroflaps and window frame all come in black. While the rear spoiler is black as well on the hatchback, the wagon model’s roof spoiler matches the car’s color.
I am a little skeptical of the new RS, and it hits close to home for me as I both have experienced and daily driven a stage 2 MK I vRS and currently own a Laura/Octavia MK II TSi and my colleague Nilesh too owns an Octavia MK III TSi. Motorise is a big fan of the TSi and the vRS, and what I’ve always loved about these cars is the raw power, the engines desire to be pulled and the cars ability to remain stable even at ridiculous speeds. The new Octavia RS iV has big shoes to fill and I hope it does better than I envision it doing.