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Paris show: Skoda puts local Kodiaq RS plans on hold

RS kicker: The Skoda Kodiaq RS is expected to be motivated by a 2.0-litre twin-turbocharged four-cylinder diesel engine that produces at least 176kW of power and 500Nm of torque.

Australia’s hot-weather climate hits pause on plans for incoming Skoda Kodiaq RS


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12 Jun 2018

SKODA has taken a step closer to revealing the long-awaited Kodiaq RS performance large SUV, releasing two mysterious teaser images on its official Facebook page, but its Australian prospects continue to be under evaluation.


The Kodiaq RS is expected to be motivated by a 2.0-litre twin-turbocharged four-cylinder diesel engine, which currently produces 176kW of power and 500Nm of torque in its most potent form under the bonnet of other European-market products from parent company Volkswagen Group.


However, speaking to GoAuto, Skoda Australia general manager of communications Paul Pottinger explained that plans to introduce the Kodiaq RS locally continue to be held up by ongoing climate issues.


“We are, as (Volkswagen) Group, working on the anomaly whereby Australia is considered a hot-weather climate, which would preclude Kodiaq RS at the moment,” he said.


“If that designation can be changed or altered in any way then that would (improve matters) … so that’s in abeyance at the moment.”


When questioned if Skoda Australia would consider importing a detuned Kodiaq RS, similar to the treatment applied to the Volkswagen Golf R, Mr Pottinger indicated the door is open for this option.


“(Yes), if such a thing is possible,” he said. “European car-makers are dealing with production rationalisation from the introduction of WLTP, so we have have a wish list, but we can’t say this will be so with any certainty at the moment.”


Despite not specifically referencing the Kodiaq RS, the captions accompanying the teaser images confirm that the model is currently being put through its paces at the infamous Nurburgring racing circuit.


This is consistent with spy shots taken last week by British automotive publication AutoCar, which outed a camouflaged Kodiaq RS wearing appropriate branding while doing laps of the track.


Specifically, the first image depicts the Kodiaq RS and its headlights and daytime running lights in a dimly-lit garage, while the second image shows a set of red V-spoke alloy wheels.


The only other RS model currently in the Skoda line-up is the Octavia mid-size car, which will be exclusively offered in flagship 180kW/370Nm RS245 petrol guise following its update due later this year.


As a result of the aforementioned incoming WLTP regulations, the 169kW/350Nm RS 169TSI petrol and 135kW/380Nm RS 135TDI diesel will be dropped from the Octavia range.


Given that the wagon body style currently accounts for 70 per cent of RS sales, it will carry on alongside its liftback counterpart, while the six-speed manual gearbox is set to be axed in favour of the six-speed DSG dual-clutch automatic transmission.


As previously reported, the mechanically related Golf GTI also faces a similar fate, with its three-door hatchback body style, manual gearbox and 169kW/350Nm 2.0-litre turbo-petrol four-cylinder to be axed in favour of a five-door, DSG, 180kW/370Nm offering.


The RS variants continue to account for about 50 per cent of overall Octavia sales (770 units year-to-date), or about 15.5 per cent of Skoda Australia’s total volume (2162 vehicles YTD), making the market ripe for a Kodiaq RS.


Sales of Kodiaq have been solid in its first full year in showrooms, with 550 examples sold to the end of May. This efforts places the Skoda 16th in the sub-$70,000 large-SUV segment, of which it has a 1.3 per cent share.


The Kodiaq RS is expected to make its international debut at the Paris motor show in October this year, with a full reveal likely to take place in the lead up to the event.

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