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First look: Skoda reveals Octavia RS

Fast four: Skoda’s new Octavia RS

Czech brand Skoda unveils 162kW Octavia RS sedan, wagon for families on the move


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11 Jun 2013

SKODA has pulled the wraps off a new version of its Octavia-based performance car that should make sister company Volkswagen’s red-hot Golf GTI look a bit cramped for space, and pace.

The cut-price Octavia RS – it is expected to undercut rivals such as Opel’s Insignia OPC sedan and the Subaru Liberty GT Premium sedan when it arrives here early next year – will make its debut in Britain at next month's Goodwood Festival of Speed, where it will join a host of other shiny new metal on the annual charge up the hill.

As before, the performance-focussed RS five-door hatchback or wagon will use a turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol engine borrowed from the Golf GTI hatchback. However, instead of producing the GTI’s169kW of power and 350Nm of torque, the Skoda-badged version produces only 162kW, but the same amount of pulling power.

Point both in a straight line, and the 0-100km/h sprint is only slightly slower for the Octavia RS compared with the Golf GTI, dropping 0.4 second to post a 6.8-second run.

That time marks the third-generation Octavia RS as the fastest production car ever coming out of the factory.

Top speed for the wider, longer RS is rated at 248km/h when mated to a six-speed manual gearbox.

If petrol is not your thing, Skoda will offer the Octavia RS with an optional 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo-diesel engine borrowed from the Golf GTD, the newest member of VW’s oil-burning performance stable.

The 135kW diesel engine produces the same 350nM of torque as the petrol version, has a top speed of 232km/h when mated to the six-speed manual gearbiox, and does the 0-100km/h sprint in 8.1 seconds.

A six-speed dual-clutch gearbox is an option for both models.

Despite all the improvements in performance, Skoda says the new engines are up to 19 per cent more fuel-efficient than the powerplants they replace.

All that poke to the front wheels is backed up with a sports suspension tune featuring a new multi-link rear axle, and a clever electronic differential that helps quell understeer, where the nose of the car tries to push wide while cornering.

As before, the Octavia RS has electrically assisted power steering, although this time around Skoda says it has remapped it to allow the driver to make smaller movements in steering to achieve the desired turning radius. That means less grip is needed for tight corners, it says.

Other drivers on the road who may have paid more bucks for their bang will pick the new RS by its honeycomb grille, a restyled front bumper and fog lights, red brake callipers, and bi-Xenon headlights with integrated LED daytime running lights.

RS versions also sit more than 10mm lower than their more pedestrian showroom counterparts.

Inside, the sports seats are redesigned, and the colour instrument panel carries a unique RS design.

The RS also takes a big step forward in safety. The airbag count steps up from six to nine, and the car even gets access to a self-braking function that can detect if the driver is too close to the car in front, and automatically jump on the brake pedal if it thinks a crash is about to happen.

European models even have what is called “road sign detection” that can alert the driver to traffic signals.

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