Before the Octavia vRS lands in India in the third quarter of 2017, here is what makes this sports-saloon special.
Skoda has officially revealed its plans to bring the hot Octavia vRS (to be called Octavia RS) in India. At first, it doesn't make much sense for the company to bring a performance saloon to a country that’s obsessed with diesels. However, Skoda is not bringing the vRS in India to set sales charts on fire - the sports saloon is coming here with the intention of building up the Skoda brand, to show India what the company is capable of on a global scale.
To refresh your memory, this isn’t the first Octavia vRS to land in India. The first gen Octavia vRS was sold here and the Laura (second gen Octavia globally) also had a vRS badged version. But although the third-gen Octavia has been on sale in India for a while now, it is only this year that we are finally going to get its vRS version here.
The standard Octavia is a clean, inoffensive looking saloon that is designed to appeal to a wide audience. The vRS version, however, is designed to appeal to the enthusiast - and so it gets a nip and tuck over the standard version.
The most relevant change on the outside is the different front bumper - it features an angry new chin, flanked by large air dams, which also house the LED fog lamps. This alone is enough to announce the vRS’s sporty intentions. Adding to this there are 18-inch alloys, new dual exhaust pipes and a bigger rear spoiler. Therefore, there are enough visual enhancements to differ the Octavia vRS from the standard car.
On the inside, you get a sporty all-black colour theme, with a flat bottom steering wheel. Also standard are bucket seats - to hold you in place when you steer this sporty Skoda hard.
More power than you’ll ever need
While ideally, there is nothing called ‘too much power’, but realistically - especially by Indian standards, a 200bhp+ executive saloon does mean madness. In Europe, the Octavia vRS gets both petrol and diesel engine options, but the chances of the diesel coming in India are slim.
So, the 2.0 TSi turbo-petrol engine which produces 230 horses and 350Nm of torque is very likely to arrive on our shores. This will make the Octavia vRS dispatch a standing start to 100km/h in around 6.5 seconds, and reach a top speed of 250km/h. A 6-speed manual or a 6-speed DSG auto will transmit the power to the car’s front wheels - whether Skoda will bring the manual here isn't known yet.
Its a disguised Golf GTi
No motoring junkie is unaware of the VW Golf GTi - the hatchback that pioneered the hot-hatch trend in Europe. While the market for a big hatchback like Golf doesn’t exist in India, if you did not know, the Skoda Octavia is basically a saloon derivative of the VW Golf. And so, even the performance versions of the two cars share a lot more beneath their skins than you can image.
Apart from the aforementioned engines, the Octavia vRS borrows its shorter sports springs and beefed up anti roll bars from the Golf GTi. This suspension tuning makes the vRS run 15mm lower than the standard car, and will surely aid the car’s cornering prowess - so that it stays true to its sporty character.
And as you’d expect, the Octavia vRS is a niche product - therefore, it makes no business sense for Skoda to assemble the vRS locally like the standard Octavia.
The car will be brought in India via the CBU route, and expect Skoda to demand anywhere between Rs. 30 lakh - 35 lakh for the Octavia vRS. That's not cheap by any means - similar cash can get you an Audi A3, or a Mercedes CLA - both of which offer better brand image. Or, perhaps, one can even go for Toyota Fortuner or Ford Endeavour, and save loads of cash on after sales and maintenance.
But hey, the Octavia vRS is not trying to steal away the potential audience from these vehicles anyways. Its aimed solely at the enthusiast who has been looking for a petrol powered, high-performance sports-saloon south of Rs. 40 lakh. Such species maybe rare in India - but it exists afterall, and it looks like Skoda has its priorities sorted.