The new Octavia vRS is a performance plug-in hybrid

By topgear, 03 March 2020

The Skoda Octavia vRS has many fans, because it’s a solid, gimmick-free all-rounder that’s slightly less good at everything than a Golf, but cheaper for it. And if you don’t fancy the new, eighth-gen Golf GTI, you better - ahem - Czech out the new Mk4 vRS. Mainly because it’s even sportier and stealthier than before thanks to 245hp and electricity.

Yep, Skoda’s gone hybrid. The new go-faster Octavia is the first plug-in hybrid under the performance-orientated vRS banner. But, unlike some had predicted, the new Octavia vRS does not have the 181bhp 2.0-litre of old.

Rather, it’s got 1.4-litre TSI petrol engine with 150hp that teams up with an 85kW electric motor. When working in tandem, they have a combined power output of 245hp and offer a maximum torque of 400Nm. All this fruitiness is then fed through a slick 6spd DSG ‘box to the front wheels to deliver a 0-100km/h sprint in just 7.3secs and capability to go onto 225km/h flat-out.

Unsurprisingly, the move to electrical assistance is to improve the car’s emissions. And it has! Who’d have thunk it?! According to Skoda, the vRS’s CO2 emissions are approximately 30 g/km in the WLTP cycle; meaning it already complies with the new, stricter EU6d emissions standard.

Skoda hasn’t given us an official l/100km figure, but with that lithium-ion battery on board you can scoot around using nothing but electricity for 64km… during the WLTP cycle. So expect less than that in reality.

As you’d expect from the ‘sporty one’, there are plenty of athletic-looking accoutrements. Notably, there’s lots more black detailing. Check out those standard black 18-inch alloy wheels (19-inch wheels are optional), the black grille, the black aeroflaps, the black diffuser, the black rear apron and the black window surrounds.

What aren’t black are the brake callipers, they’re RS red. And, being a versatile thing, the vRS is available in multiple body styles; where the hatchback gets a black RS rear spoiler, the estate’s roof spoiler matches the car colour.

The sportiness (and black) makes its way into the cabin too. There are sports seats that can be upgraded to be even sportier courtesy of Alcantara and leather upholstery as well as seat-depth adjustment.

There are also plenty of RS logos: in the seats, on the armrests, on the steering wheel, in the carpets and on the side sills, just in case you momentarily forget you’re in the fast one.

Apparently, one in every five Octavias sold in Skoda’s core markets of Germany, the United Kingdom and Switzerland is a vRS model. So, the fact that this one has future-proofed itself thanks to hybridisation, means this’ll no doubt continue.

How will the ‘leccy assistance change the way it drives? Well, we’ll just have to wait and see. Same goes for the price. We don’t know how much it’ll be either, but you can bet your bottom dollar it’ll be cheaper than the new Golf GTI. Fancy one?

STORY Rowan Horncastle

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