The Skoda Kodiaq RS – the fastest seven-seat SUV to lap Germany’s Nürburgring – will be in Australian showrooms by the end of the year.
Pricing is yet to be announced, but the Kodiaq RS – powered by a twin-turbo 2.0-litre diesel (176kW/500Nm) and with a claimed 0 to 100kmh time of 7.0 seconds – is expected to cost in excess of $60,000.
In 2018, German race driver and Nürburgring 24-Hour winner, Sabine Schmitz, lapped the circuit in 9 minutes and 29.84 seconds, setting a new record for seven-seat SUVs in the process.
The Skoda Kodiaq RS was previously excluded from local showrooms because Australia was deemed a “hot and dusty” climate.
However, a review by Skoda and the Volkswagen Group recently reclassified Australia as being a “moderately hot country” and similar to certain European regions – which means other high performance models from Skoda, Volkswagen and Audi may follow.
For example, Australia currently gets a slightly detuned version of the Volkswagen Golf R due to our climate requirements. But subsequent models could get the same power outputs as examples sold in Europe, pending our fuel quality standards.
The Skoda Kodiaq RS was able to be fast-tracked following Volkswagen’s climate policy change because Australian diesel has been at the European benchmark of 10 parts per million of sulphur since 2009.
Our unleaded isn’t due to be upgraded to 10ppm until 2027, although figures recently published by the Australian Financial Review claim the Australian Institute of Petroleum said the average levels of sulphur in 2014-15 were “about 28-60ppm for unleaded and 16-28ppm for premium unleaded in Sydney and Melbourne, and that these levels were maintained in the past five years”.
The car industry, however, is reluctant to introduce advanced petrol engines – some of which have petrol particulate filters – until there can be a guarantee that every bowser pumps low-sulphur unleaded.
In the meantime, the Kodiaq RS will be used to fill out the top end of the Skoda range in Australia.
“Since its launch, we have been working tirelessly to bring the Kodiaq RS to our shores,” Škoda Australia director Michael Irmer said in a media statement.
“The project to bring the high-performance bi-turbo diesel-powered Kodiaq RS has seen collaboration between Australian and Czech technical teams sharing data and know-how. It is because of their shared passion for the Škoda brand, and this exciting car, that we can finally offer an RS-spec SUV.”
Standard features include 20-inch alloy wheels, red brake callipers, black mirror scalps and roof rails, RS badging, premium leather interior with RS logo stitched in the front seat headrests, and a high definition digital cockpit.
Prices will be announced closer to its showroom arrival in late 2019.