FOCUS RS. Corsa VXR. Leon Cupra. Civic Type R. Golf GTI. Even the Mégane RenaultSport. There are plenty of hot hatches for the boy racer to choose from. Skoda’s sporty new number isn’t one of them. The Octavia vRS 245 is for dad racers.
This grown-up high-performance model is more potent than a Golf GTI and faster than some Porsches. But with a big body and hatchback boot, it’s just as happy taking a family of five on holiday as it is embarrassing flash sports cars in a traffic light grand prix.
Skoda says the Octavia vRS, which is to be unveiled at the Geneva motor show in March, is the most powerful car it has built.
At its heart is a 2-litre four-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine that can put out 242bhp. A standard Golf GTI is good for just 217bhp. The vRS also boasts a healthy amount of pulling power: 273 lb ft of torque from just 1600rpm.
Skoda says the hatchback version of the Octavia vRS 245 can accelerate from standstill to 62mph in 6.6 seconds; the estate version is barely any slower, taking 6.7 seconds. Top speed is 155mph.
Considerable thought has gone into how the Octavia can best put its grunt to use. The car sits 14mm lower on its sports suspension, and the rear wheels are 38mm further apart; the electronic stability control has a Sport setting; and the front-wheel-drive power delivery system contains an electronic limited-slip differential as standard.
One way for dad and mum racers to impress passengers is the Performance Sound Generator. This isn’t children making racing car noises from the back seat; it is an artificially enhanced engine growl for the enjoyment of everyone in the cabin.
As with other models in Skoda’s range, the Octavia vRS will have the option of Dynamic Chassis Control (DCC), which allows the driver to adjust the characteristics of the steering, accelerator and suspension dampers.
The Octavia vRS 245 will have a choice of six-speed manual or seven-speed DSG automatic transmission. Prices have yet to be confirmed, but they are expected to start at about £26,000.