The Octavia was the model that single-handedly helped identify Skoda as a premium car maker when the brand entered India in 2002. The Octavia later was rebranded as the Laura, and then recently again the Octavia branding returned with the all new model that was launched earlier this year. Skoda in between launched a limited edition vRS model also known as the RS. But the vRS character on that one was only limited to body kitting and no technical changes came along with it. Skoda recently launched the real Octavia vRS, answering the prayers of many enthusiasts. The Skoda Octavia vRS 230, as it’s known globally for the power output the engine makes (230PS), is the first true blue performance car ever introduced for the Czech car maker for the Indian market. We drive this fast, fast, very fast car and get under its skin to get you this detailed road test review of what could be every petrolhead’s dream come true performance sedan. Read on as we take 230PS through its paces.
Food For Thought
The V in the vRS nomenclature stands for Victory, while the RS stands for Rally Sport. The Octavia RS, as it is generally known as, is available in an Estate and Sedan versions in the European markets, while here we get only the Sedan version. The Octavia RS with petrol engine and manual gearbox was once acclaimed to be the fastest production of Octavia ever. Skoda first introduced a vRS version of the Octavia in India in 2004, powered by a 1.8L turbocharged petrol engine. There were also vRS versions of the Laura later for India, but they were just body kitted ones with no technical changes as compared to the regular Lauras.
Skoda had recently updated the Octavia earlier this year and the Octavia vRS looks exactly the same as the regular one expect for some differences. The front shares the headlight, auxiliary headlight and the center Skoda family grill with the regular Octavia. The bumper on the RS is different as compared to the regular model, with this one being more flatter and sharper. The fog lamps on the RS are also larger and so is the air dam, which is more pronounced. The grill boldly displays the vRS logo on it. The bonnet lines, sides and the roof lines are basically the same. The difference being a meaner and different design 10 spoke Hawk Anthracite R17 alloys, mounted on 225/45 R17 low profile Hankook Ventrus S1 Evo tyres.
The roof comes with black masking on it, while sun roof is standard on the vRS. Due to the low profile tyres and a slightly lowered ground clearance (141mm) and the red brake calipers, the Octavia RS looks extremely sporty and low slung when seen from the sides. The rear retains the basic shape of the normal Octavia with LED tail lights and the major changes being that of a sharper, flatter rear bumper, nice beefy twin exhausts along with a red reflective strip that runs across the width of the car. The tail gate also gets a special spoiler which is in place to diffuse wind and enhance stability at high speeds.
The Skoda Octavia vRS comes in 4 exterior paint shade options, Candy White Uni, Race Blue Metal, Corrida Red Uni, and the one that we drove – the Steel Grey Uni. The White, Red and Blue are common colors while the Steel Grey is rather unique, also because this paint shade is also shared by the Lamborghini.
On the inside you get a very similar cabin layout like the regular Octavia with all black sporty interiors. The Octavia RS comes with race sports seats with Alcantara upholstery and hand stitched vRS embroidery on it along with bright red, hand stitched lining. Both the front seats get full electric adjust with the driver’s seat getting memory presets too. The steering is a flat bottom, three spoke one with premium leather wrapping on it along with bright red stitching.
The steering gets manual adjust for reach and height, and comes with paddle shifters and MFD buttons as standard. The instrument cluster is retained from the regular Octavia. Aluminium Sports pedals are also included on the package. The door pads get ambient lighting strips which can be set to 10 various color options as per the mood. The center dash gets the all color touch screen infotainment system with inbuilt Apple CarPlay and Android Auto capability, apart from the regular audio and radio settings.
The DSG gear shifter too gets bright red, hand stitched lines along with faux carbon fiber inserts around it on the center console. Faux carbon fiber inserts are also placed on the door pads to enhance the overall sportiness inside the cabin. The cabin on any Octavia is very premium and oozes high quality, and the one on the vRS is premium and a lot sporty too with these fine touches. The rear seats get a pair of adjustable head rests with vRS embroidery on them, and a foldable center armrest along with the much needed rear AC vents with two USB mobile charging ports, and you still have a massive 590-litre boot area that can be expanded to a gigantic 1,585 liters with the rear seats folded down.
This is not the normal Octavia and Skoda has put their best in this, the Octavia vRS comes powered by a 2.0 Litre engine. This is a 4-cylinder 1964cc TSI Turbocharged Petrol direct injection motor that hits out a mammoth 230PS between the 5500-6200 while pumping out a roaring 350Nm of torque at as low as 1500rpm. This motor is mated to a 6-speed DSG transmission. The Octavia vRS needs RON 95 grade fuel.
Start the engine and you instantly notice the unusual racey engine hum and can make out this is a super, rev-friendly engine. Shift to drive mode and the car jumps ahead instantly. But let’s get the facts correct here. To feel the real vRS you need to first shift to the S (Sport) mode and then this car comes into its own. In this mode the engine sets the power to the mid range, the RPM does not drop below 2000 and as a result, the 230PS of sheer brilliant untamed power is let loose to the front wheels. You also get to hear the exhaust blip at time that adds to the fun and excitement factor. The acceleration is super quick… 6.8 seconds to 100kmph as per Skoda and we won’t challenge that after seeing how quick this car is.
The engineers at Skoda have also thrown in the Launch Control feature on this one, just disengage the Traction Control while in the S mode, use one foot to press the throttle and other on the brakes, the instrument cluster will show the launch control mode activated sign, now let go of the brakes and vroom the vRS shows you what it is really built for. On regular starts too while in the S mode, you are surely going to get a wheel-spin or two, with onlookers turning towards you with awe.
You have limited-slip differential included on the package that lets the wheels spin or lock individually as the need may be, and also helps stabilize the car during tricky situations. The sporty engine noise does filter inside the cabin, but that’s the part of the script here. The suspension is tuned to race mode and is extra hard to go with the overall dynamics of the car. The braking is super reassuring with the all 4 upsized disc brake system. The steering also feels a bit heavier than the regular Octavia, but then that’s how race cars have them. Skoda claims a fuel economy of 14.45kmpl and on our driving in the D mode we got an overall mileage of around 12.5kmpl and in the S mode with some quick bursts and speeding, the economy dropped to around 7.5kmpl.
The Skoda Octavia was always regarded as a premium and elegant sedan with loaded safety standards. The vRS takes that further, this is a car that’s perfect for an enthusiast and also a serious racer, someone who wants outright performance, along with safety standards (10 Airbags standard) and premium feel intact and all this at a price tag that’s affordable to someone who can’t get the BMW 3-series or the Audi A4 or the C-Class. The Skoda Octavia retails at Rs. 25.49 Lakh and believe us, you get lots of fun at the steering at that price.
Review & Photography – Ritesh Madhok