Just a few months back, we got our hands on the facelifted Skoda Octavia. The 2017 iteration has been fitted with revised headlights and taillights along with some new features and updates. Even with the updates, the Octavia facelift retains the essence that the car has been associated with all these years. Sensible it might be, but in the standard Octavia it isn’t the most exciting car out there. For all those looking for that extra oomph, Skoda has now launched the 227bhp Octavia RS, or the Octavia vRS as it is often called. At the launch of the Skoda Octavia RS, we got the chance to take it for a quick spin. Of course, it wasn’t enough for a detailed review, but here are our first impressions.
When I saw the Octavia RS in flesh at the launch, I was amazed at how a few changes to the design can totally change a car’s appeal. Yes, the Octavia RS has the same silhouette as the standard model, but thanks to the larger air dams on the front bumper, sportier petal-spoke alloy wheels and the rear spoiler, it looks a lot aggressive. And then, of course, there are the twin-trapezoidal exhaust pipes. Skoda has also chosen a superb pallet of four colour options – Steel Grey, Corrida Red, Race Blue and Candy White.
A lot of performance cars hint their performance superiority very subtly, but that’s not the case with the interior of the Octavia RS. There are a lot of vRS badges that flaunt its performance DNA – on the steering wheel, the gear lever as well as on the seats. Wrapped in alcantara, the seats too are sportier with much better lateral support. The Octavia RS also gets contrast red stitching on the upholstery and the leather-wrapped flat-bottom steering wheel. Along with all of this, we wish it also came with red seat belts. The overall layout of the dashboard, however, remains the same as the facelifted Octavia launched a few months back. The large touchscreen in the centre is high-resolution and responds well to inputs.
Moving on to the heart of things. Internationally, the Skoda Octavia RS comes with a range of body styles and engine options, but India only gets the saloon with a 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol motor. Sending 227bhp to the front wheels, Skoda claims that the Octavia RS can do the 0-100 dash in just 6.8 seconds and record a top speed of 250km/h. The car surely feels quick and a lot of it can be credited to two things – the 350Nm of torque that comes as low as 1,250rpm and the 1,418kg weight which is just 42kg heavier than the 1.8-litre 177bhp Octavia. Slot it in M, dig your right foot deep and it easily manages to plaster a grin on your face with the sweet sound of the exhaust. And then, of course, the 6-speed DSG that it comes plonked with, is absolutely smooth and precise.
It feels sharp to turn in and the lateral movement is within control too, but the steering could have done with a bit more feedback. We drove the car at the Raymond Race Track and didn’t quite get bad roads to drive it on so we will reserve our judgement on ride quality until we get to drive it out in the city. That being said, with a full load on board, the ground clearance of the Octavia RS is just 103mm which means it is sure to get the driver nervous about scraping the underbelly.
As far as enthusiasts are concerned, the Skoda Octavia RS was possibly the most anticipated car this year. At Rs 24.62 lakh (ex-showroom) the Skoda Octavia RS is about Rs 3.7 lakh more expensive than the top-spec 1.8 TSI Octavia. For the additional cost, you get a sportier looking car, larger wheels, better dynamics and of course a punchier motor – things that an enthusiast won’t mind paying for. Moreover, a 590-litre boot and space enough to seat four comfortably mean your family will also be as happy as you are behind the wheel.