What is that?
It is a car with a real manual gearbox. That says something about the current state of the market that it’s almost a little surprising to jump in a hot hatch and be greeted with a gear change, but Skoda still does it and the world is only a better place. .
It’s attached to the same Octavia vRS hatch we’ve driven here (albeit in Estate form), with 242 hp and 273 lb-ft of the same 2.0-liter turbocharged gasoline that VW uses in the Golf GTI. Additionally, the two cars also share the same modular platform, although in Skoda’s case the wheelbase has been pushed back from 67mm to 2,686mm – the resulting bonus being a bit of extra legroom at the back.
The Octavia also shares the adaptive dampers of the Golf – Dynamic Chassis Control – which costs £ 945 and essential specs if you tick the boxes. There are five settings in total, all controllable via a button in the center console.
As you might expect, the look was infused into this hot version, but not to the point that you felt embarrassed to drive it. I especially liked the little Gurney flap on the back; in the optional Quartz Gray Metallic (£ 595) on our test car, it was a subtle addition to the trunk lid.
The interior is dramatic, with sections of microsuede on the dashboard and top door maps. The steering wheel is in honeycomb leather, numerous red stitching and vRS badges adorn the seat, gear lever and steering wheel. All of this leaves you in no doubt that it is sport, but it is tastefully done. None of this seems symbolic or out of place.
What does it look like?
Fortunately, the Octavia vRS has the performance it needs to save those modified looks. 0-62 mph is seen in 6.8 seconds, aided by the VAQ “ limited slip ” differential which limits wheel slip. Strictly speaking, it’s an electronically controlled clutch pack, but when it gets much of the same effect we’ll let the technical details go.
Fire up the car for the first time and you’re greeted with a synth exhaust note, trying a rorty chirp to make sure you know you’re in the hot hatch. It’s not bad, but it’s too wrong for my taste. This gives the Octavia an advantage, but it starts to buzz after a while, like an A-level physics teacher trying to make electrons exciting. However, you can turn it off.
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This notice was published: 2021-05-02 23:01:24