The Skoda Octavia vRS is back, faster and yet more fuel-efficient than ever. Available in booted hatchback or estate 'Combi' bodystyles, the hot Octavia has sports suspension, an electronic locking differential and as before, a choice of petrol or diesel engines. They're more powerful this time round though...
How fast is the new Skoda Octavia vRS?
Opt for petrol and you'll reach 62mph in 6.8sec and a top speed of 154mph, thanks to a 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder making 217bhp. Are those figures looking a little familar? Yes, it is indeed the Golf GTI's drivetrain (in basic spec: there's no 10bhp+ Performance Pack version for the Skoda).
The slower but more frugal option is the diesel Octavia vRS (think of it as a Golf GTD cousin). It uses the VW Group's 2.0-litre TDI engine tuned to develop 182bhp and 280lb ft; it hits 62mph in 8.2sec and 144mph flat out. Those figures are all for Octavias supplied with the six-speed manual gearbox: a six-speed dual-clutch transmission with steering wheel paddleshifters will be a cost option.
Skoda claims both engines are up to 19% more fuel efficient than the outgoing fast Octavias. The old petrol and diesel vRSs scored respective economy readings of 38mpg and 48.7mpg.
What else is new for the 2013 Octavia vRS?
Aesthetic modifications come in the form of a new bodykit (sans large bootlid spoiler this time around) and a choice of 17, 18 or 19in alloy wheels. Bi-xenon lights with integrated LEDS are factory-fit, as are red-painted brake calipers. The car rides 12mm lower than a standard Octavia (13mm in the case of the estate), and has a retuned steering rack to require less steering angle on challenging roads.
Inside the cabin, vRS owners get sports front seats, a new three-spoke steering wheel, leather on the handbrake and gearknob, and stainless-steel pedals and sill kickplates. vRS badges are dotted throughout the interior, as well as standard-fit ambient lighting.
Will the Octavia vRS be cheaper than a Golf GTI?
Skoda' still being coy about official numbers (full prices will be announced at the car's world debut at the Goodwood Festival of Speed on 10 July 2013). It's expected the Octavia vRS in its most basic form will easily undercut the £27,260 Volkswagen asks for a five-door manual GTI. The 'Combi' estate vRS will be £800 more than the hatch, but offers 20l extra in the boot (610 litres plays 590).
>> The thinking family man's fast car, or is the Skoda Octavia vRS still saddled with too much badge baggage? Tell us your opinion by clicking 'Add your comment' below