What is it?
It’s a cars and truck with an actual manual gearbox. It states something about the current state of the marketplace that it’s practically a bit surprising to leap into a hot hatch and be welcomed by a stick gear modification, however Skoda still does it and the world is all the better for it.
It’s connected to the very same Octavia vRS hatch that we drove here (albeit in Estate kind), with 242bhp and 273lb feet from the very same 2.0-litre turbocharged fuel that VW uses in the Golf GTI. Not only that, the two cars also share the exact same modular platform, although in Skoda’s case the wheelbase has actually been pressed out by 67mm to 2686mm – the resultant bonus offer being a little bit of extra rear legroom.
The Octavia also shares the Golf’s adaptive dampers – Dynamic Chassis Control – costing ₤ 945 and important speccing if you’re ticking boxes. There are 5 settings in total, all controllable via a button in the centre console.
As you ‘d expect, the appearances have been breathed on for this hot variation however not a lot that you feel uncomfortable driving it. I especially liked the little Gurney flap at the rear; in the optional Quartz Grey metal (₤ 595) on our test vehicle, it was a subtle addition on the boot lid.
Inside is significant, with swathes of Microsuede throughout the dash and upper door cards. The steering wheel has dimpled leather, there’s plenty of red stitching and vRS badges decorate the seat, gear lever and guiding wheel. This all leaves you in no doubt that this is the stylish one, however it’s tastefully done. None of it feels token or out of location.
What’s it like? Happily, the Octavia vRS has the efficiency to back up those modified looks. 0-62mph is seen off in 6.8 seconds, helped by the VAQ ‘limited-slip’ differential that limitations wheelspin. Strictly speaking, it’s a digitally controlled clutch pack, however when it accomplishes mainly the exact same impact, we’ll let the technicalities go.
Fire the automobile up for the very first time and you’re greeted by a synthesised exhaust note, attempting a rorty warble to make sure you know you’re in the hot hatch. It’s not unpleasant, but it’s too fake for my liking. It does bring an edge to the Octavia but it starts to drone after a while, like an A-level physics instructor who’s trying to make electrons sound interesting. You can turn it off, though.