The Czech carmaker with a rich history in motorsport currently offers five RS models: the Octavia vRS, Octavia vRS iV, Kodiaq vRS, Enyaq Coupé vRS iV and, most recently, the Enyaq vRS iV. “The vRS models are the link between our brand’s motorsport achievements and our customers who want to drive a Škoda car with a sporty DNA,” says Daniel Petr, Škoda’s in-house sports car design specialist.
The “traditional” Octavia vRS illustrates the philosophy of the entire range. “Customers like that the vRS model differs from the regular versions of the model both in exterior and interior design. But all of that must be backed up by sports technology such as the car’s engine and chassis,” Daniel Petr explains. Design changes typically include revamped bumpers, different exhaust tips, spoilers, special wheel designs and a few other details. Inside, there are sports seats with distinctive lateral guidance, integrated head restraints and, of course, v§RS logos and other small additions.
At the same time, Daniel Petr points out that the design changes in the RS version are not simply for aesthetic reasons. “We modify the appearance in line with the sporting function of the car. We pay a lot of attention to engine and brake cooling, and aerodynamic fine-tuning is another focus,” explains the designer. The interior is all about the sporty atmosphere and safe and comfortable design (pedals, seats).
For many years, the backbone of the vRS model range has been the Octavia vRS, the brand’s best-selling model range has been available in this guise since the facelift of the first generation. In the current fourth generation, it has even been given a new type of powertrain. In addition to the petrol version with 180 kW (245 hp) and the diesel version with 147 kW (200 hp), there is also a plug-in hybrid version, the Octavia vRS iV, which delivers a total output of 180 kW (245 hp) thanks to the combination of a 1.4 TSI and an electric motor. The wide range of choices does not stop at the engine type, however: customers can have the Octavia vRS as a liftback or estate, with front-wheel or all-wheel drive, and with manual or DSG transmission.
Another vRS model is the successful Kodiaq SUV. This was originally given a 2.0 TDI unit delivering 176 kW (240 hp). But a modernisation brought the 2.0 TSI petrol engine already known from the Octavia vRS. Like the Octavia, the Kodiaq vRS boasts the top-of-the-range equipment that is an integral part of all vRS models.
After many decades, the vRS nameplate will also be competing in motorsport competitions. In fact, the rally car based on the fourth-generation Fabia is called the Škoda Fabia RS Rally2. The race car boasts a 1.6-litre engine with around 214 kW (289 hp) and is keen to build on the previous generation’s huge racing success.
You might be surprised to learn that the Fabia RS Rally2 is not the Czech carmaker’s most powerful RS car. That accolade goes to two electric cars: the Enyaq Coupé vRS iV and Enyaq vRS iV.
The cars have a system output of 220 kW (300 hp), making them the most powerful Škoda production cars of all time. All-wheel drive is standard on these models. Acceleration from 0 to 100 km/h takes just 6.5 seconds for both versions. Top speed is limited to 180 km/h, 20 km/h more than the conventional electric car versions. The cars also use the largest battery configuration with a capacity of 82 kWh.
The Enyaq vRS iV electric models thus represent a new chapter in Škoda’s sports car range. To symbolise this new era, it was the Enyaq Coupé vRS iV that was adorned with the new vRS logo, which the Enyaq vRS iV has also been given, with other vRS models to follow suit. But from a designer’s perspective, the electric sports Škoda actually involves less of a makeover. “There’s not as much technical and functional reworking needed, so the design changes are more cosmetic. This gives us a cleaner design solution, where we don’t have to deal with the incorporation of larger cooling vents, and of course details such as the exhaust tips are missing,” says Daniel Petr.
The electric era paves the way for further designs that will help define the future perception of Škoda’s RS sports models.
The current RS models hark back to Škoda’s rich history of sports cars. That began long before the RS name was even coined and includes legendary models such as the Škoda Popular Monte Carlo, Škoda 1101 Sport, Škoda 1100 OHC and others. The RS designation first appeared in 1974 on the Škoda 180 RS and Škoda 200 RS racing cars. The two letters stand for “Rally Sport”, a traditional discipline the Czech carmaker is a leading player in to this day. These two prototypes were followed in 1975 by the Škoda 130 RS, whose greatest achievement was the “double” in its category in the 1977 Monte Carlo Rally. In 1981, the Škoda 130 RS also won the overall European Touring Car Championship.