An extra cog, more power and a whole lot of fun. A quick spin in the Skoda Octavia RS245 at the Aamby Valley airstrip is a good reminder of why we’ve always been smitten by this performance saloon!
The Skoda Octavia RS has always held a special place for all of us at autoX – after all, it has been one of the top contenders in our ‘Best of 2017’ mega test. Skoda brought in the Octavia RS to India in September 2017 and the 200 units that were brought into India at the time were sold in no time. With such high demand for performance saloon, Skoda decided to bring in another batch – this time of the slightly more powerful RS245. The car was launched earlier this year at the Auto Expo 2020 and we have finally managed to get a closer look.
First, let's speak about the changes to the design. In comparison to the Octavia RS230, the 245 gets gloss black finish around the grille, on the ORVM casings and the boot spoiler. Along the sides, the alloy wheels are also new. They continue to be diamond cut but are now 18-inch in this 245 in comparison to the 17-inch on the old 230. The RS230 came fitted with 225/45 section Michelin Pilot Sport rubber whereas this one sits on 225/40 section Bridgestone Potenzas. We will have to drive it out on the streets to find out if it has made a substantial difference in the ride quality department.
Moving on to the inside, almost everything is unchanged from the RS230. The interior is all black, the seat upholstery is Alcantara with contrast red stitching, the carbon-fibre like finish continues on the centre console and the door pads as well. In the centre, you continue to get an 8-inch touchscreen unit, which now feels small knowing that more affordable cars like the Polo and the Rapid get similar sized infotainment. It does, however, feature Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The most noticeable change on the inside is the addition of the all-digital Virtual Cockpit. Like in all other Skoda-Volkswagen cars, the display continues to be crisp and it offers a ton of information and customisation options. The RS245 gets an additional vRS button that wasn’t on the 230. This button is essentially for the drive modes of the car and allows you customisation for the steering, front differential and the engine sound. Everything else about the cabin remains largely unchanged. The Octavia RS 245 too gets the sports seats. It is a really practical cabin with plenty of legroom at the back and a massive 590-litre boot.
Moving on to the mechanical changes. The Octavia RS 245 is powered by the same 2.0-litre turbo petrol engine under the hood. As the name rightly suggests, this one is good for 245PS of 241.3bhp. Torque rating has also gone up by 20Nm and now stands at 370Nm. Aside from the change in power and torque figures, there are a few other mechanical changes as well. While the previous RS was paired with a 6-speed DSG, this new one comes paired with a 7-speed DSG. The RS245 also gets an electronic limited-slip differential for the front wheels – something that should ensure enhanced traction and sharper turn-ins. Additionally, with larger discs at the front, stopping power is likely to be better as well.
While we have driven the Octavia RS 230 before, this 245 has quite a few changes, especially on the mechanical front. In the short drive that we had; we could only manage to test the launch control. Activating the launch control is more than just the press of a button. It requires you to slot the gear lever in S, switch the traction control off, press hard on the brakes and dig the right foot deep to be enabled. With launch control activated, I could rev the engine around the 4,000rpm mark (it is restricted to 2,000rpm without launch control) to get a good start off the line. There’s a wee bit of a hold-up after I have lifted off the brake, but once past that, the RS245 just scurries forward. The motor moves up the revs rather freely and there’s absolutely no dearth of power. I crossed the quarter-mile stretch with the speedo reflecting around 188-190km/h. I also got a quick spin of the specially curated autocross section. While understeer is second nature to most front-wheel-drive cars, the RS245’s electronic limited-slip differential does a neat job of keeping the understeer in check.
We got a really short spin of the car and it wasn’t enough to bring you a detailed review, but it has surely brought back fond memories of the outgoing RS and left us yearning for more.