I wouldn’t want to be the guy who decides the placement of products for the Volkwagen group. I’m sure he feels more like a car park attendant than a product manager at times due to the many cars under the umbrella of VW, each fighting for that one spot under the tree in the shade.
The Octavia vRS has always been a favourite of mine even if it does closely compete with a few Golfs and Passats here and there. I liked it enough to test drive the diesel all-wheel drive vRS last year, not enough to buy it mind you, but that was more for a lack of space than a lack of want.
This year, they’re tempting me even further by adding not only more power, but an electro-mechanical differential and a seven-speed DSG auto ‘box, too. Not that I’d get the auto over the six-speed manual, but it’s a promising option nonetheless.
So how much power is more power? Well, through modification of the original 2.0-litre TSI four cylinder, the Octavia now makes 245PS and 370Nm – 15PS more than the previous – resulting in a 0-60 time of 6.6 or 6.7 seconds by the hatchback and estate respectively making it the fastest Octavia ever to be sold in the UK.
Skoda are also keen to improve the turn in on this new model with their new diff’. Originally developed for motorsport, it has the ability push 100% of the power to just one front wheel meaning it can adjust the power to each wheel as grip levels vary through a corner. A much needed improvement as the previous FWD model felt a little lazy at the front axle.
The exterior has been decorated with lashings of gloss black – pay careful attention to those striking 19-inch ‘Xtreme’ wheels. This hint of sportiness is reflected inside, too. The seats are covered in Alcantara and a lap timer comes as standard. Most of these cars will never make a track day, but they’re there to remind you that you’re sat in something a bit special.
Obviously Skoda listen to their customers. This is a very good thing.
If only they’d listen to what we want most and transplant the all-wheel drive system which was only available with the diesel engine into this. Come on, Skoda! Give the Golf GTI something to think about. Imagine the look on your product manager’s face.
Skoda Octavia deliveries will arrive in July with a price tag from £27,595.