Hit that vRS button – Skoda Octavia RS 245 First Impressions

Skoda Octavia RS 245

The most powerful and focused Octavia to hit our roads – the RS 245, organized to unleash on an open airstrip. Additional bonus was a cone setup to showcase its handling prowess. That’s a delight for any given day; 245bhp, 370Nm of peak torque packed in a low-slung sedan that’s equally enticing to look it. So has Skoda appealed to the petrol heads as it did back in 2017 with the RS 230?

Skoda Octavia RS 245 - Topgear Magazine India

Before I commend the 245’s improvements over the outgoing version, let me paint a little picture that could be best categorised as unpleasant and irrelevant to many. The reason why the RS 230 was hugely popular with enthusiast was its excellent value for money proposition – Rs 24 lakhs for a kitted-out German saloon with a strong performance rated at 230hp. It wasn’t just the numbers though – it was the way it delivered them, handled and drove. For the money, it was destined to conquer the hearts of many.

Skoda Octavia RS 245 - Topgear Magazine India

Fast forward to 2020 and Skoda brings in the more powerful RS 245. As the name suggests, power is upped by 15hp, there’s an additional gear, a smarter LSD, and a price bump of Rs 11 lakhs! That is, even for the kind of buyers eyeing the RS 245, a hefty increment over its predecessor. So much so that it’s moved past being an excellent value-for-money performance car into the territory of the luxury German brands, thanks to the import customs duties.

Skoda Octavia RS 245 Speedometer - Topgear Magazine Online

It sure is pricier, but it’s quicker too. Limited time allocation meant a few quick runs, and the first thing to do was press that new vRS button that lets you customise the steering, ride and even engine sound. Having dialed things to the max, I lined up the RS 245 pointing at the arrow-straight runway. A bit of wheelspin did hamper my launch but it did push me back in the seat and immediately brought a wide grin across my face.

Skoda Octavia RS 245 Speedometer - Topgear Magazine Online

The turbocharged EA888 loves to be revved through each gear, allowing you to extract all that performance. The all-new seven-speed DSG is lightning quick, it chases the high-revving engine to the redline before upshifting to the next, all in perfect sync with the power that’s upped. So much so, that you’d seldom find yourself reaching for those paddle shifters.

Skoda Octavia RS 245 - Topgear Car Magazine

Skoda claims a 0-100kmph time of 6.6 seconds and I didn’t doubt those figures one bit. But I was more interested in trying the new LSD that’s capable of transferring 100 percent power to the front wheel with higher traction. With the straight bits over, it was time to point the car at the autocross – which was laid out to showcase the bigger brakes along with it’s improved, tighter handling.

Skoda Octavia RS 245 gearbox - Topgear Magazine  India

A quick drive around the cones to see the setup followed by a quick chase around the cones and the Octavia emerged like a puma on the other end, looking for more cones to hunt. It stuck through the course extremely well and that’s the highest achievement you can grant a FWD car.

Skoda Octavia RS 245 Review - Car Magazine India

It’s also sharper than the RS 230, which ultimately means it’s a better, more evolved vehicle. Yes, the BMW 330i makes for a more compelling buy given how close the RS 245 has inched towards its pricing, but the RS 245 refuses to leave the hearts of many enthusiasts. And believe me, in those few minutes of honing around the strip, I cherished every single improvement of the RS 245 despite its hefty price tag. It still remains an excellent daily-driven performance sedan that’s sure to make you smile. How good is it on our roads? That’s a story you’ll have to look forward to.