Powered-up RS models the brand's most potent yet
The new-look 2017 Skoda Octavia RS245 has been revealed, with the new model set to become the most powerful version of the Octavia to date when it's launched at next month's Geneva motor show.
Building upon the existing 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder model in the Octavia RS230, but now with an extra 15 metric horsepower, the RS245 grunts out 180kW of power and 370Nm of torque (between 1600-4300rpm).
As with the RS230, the the new powered-up Octavia flagship has the choice of six-speed manual or seven-speed dual-clutch automatic gearboxes in European markets. Locally, the RS230 was offered in manual form only.
The car features Performance Mode Select with a Performance Sound Generator that reacts to adjustments to the drivetrain and chassis (when fitted with the optional dynamic chassis control system).
The new model gains an electronically-regulated limited slip differential, which Skoda says helps it offer "the ultimate driving experience". It rides 14mm lower than the standard Octavia thanks to the sports chassis setup, while there are 19-inch wheels as standard and its rear track is 38mm wider than its predecessor.
As with the regular new RS models, the RS245 is differentiated from the regular Octavia range by a new grille, wide honeycomb air intakes, and gloss black trim surrounds. The LED headlights with adaptive beams are standard, while the fog-lights, tail-lights and numberplate lights are all LED too.
There is a rear spoiler on the liftback and a roof spoiler on the wagon, while the black-tipped exhaust outlets are said to offer a "husky sound".
Inside - although there have been no images shown yet - the RS245 is a blacked out affair, with the roof-lining and carpet in black. There are sports front seats emblazoned with the vRS logo (the v, apparently, is a design element only), while that logo is also on the door sills. There are aluminium pedals and paddle-shifters on the leather-trimmed steering wheel for auto models.
It's not confirmed whether Australia will see the addition of Skoda Connect, the online system that assists the driver with online information, entertainment and driver assistance functions, nor the new Wi-Fi hotspot. The new top-spec 9.2-inch touchscreen media system seems likely, with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity.
New safety gear is also expected, including - possibly - the brand's new Trailer Assist system that can steer and brake the car and trailer while reversing, not to mention Predictive Pedestrian Protection (which will use its forward-facing camera to monitor for imminent pedestrian collisions and brake the car if likely).
Autonomous emergency braking, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert and Manoeuvre Assist (brakes the vehicle as soon as a sensor detects an obstacle when moving forwards or backwards) all seem likely, as well as Crew Protect Assist, a new system that will close the windows and sunroof and tighten the occupants' seatbelts if an imminent accident is detected. Adaptive cruise control is fitted standard, too.
Other new goodies include a heated steering wheel, two USB ports in the back seat, and a smart key that you can program to set the car's air-conditioning, seats, audio volume and drive mode settings.
If both manual and DSG auto can be confirmed for the RS245, we're told we can expect to see it here sometime in the fourth quarter of this year.
Speaking with CarAdvice, Volkswagen Group Australia communications manager, Paul Pottinger, said the company is pushing hard to ensure we get both auto and manual options this time around.
"RS petrol variants comprise something approaching 50 percent of Octavia take up and obviously DSG are the great majority of those, we're determining the availability of the auto option for what would be the hottest production RS to date," Pottinger said.
The company did not struggle to move the manual-only RS230, however. Pottinger confirmed that just about all 70 units of the liftback and wagon have been snapped up.
While we wait on word for the RS245, the rest of the new-look Skoda Octavia range, including the standard RS models, are due to arrive here mid-year.
Listen to the CarAdvice team discuss the Skoda Octavia RS245 comparison below, and catch more like this at caradvice.com/podcast.