2017 Skoda Octavia vRS order books open

New styling and a small power hike for Skoda's range-topping Octavia, due in 2017. Updated with more images.

After pulling the covers off the rest of the updated Skoda Octavia range the Czech company has now revealed the model we're most interested in - the updated Octavia vRS.

Order books are open soon for the new vRS (and open now for the rest of the Octavia range), with prices starting from £25,130 for a petrol, manual hatchback - £3390 cheaper than the newly-revised Golf GTI in five-door form.

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While Skoda describes it as the most powerful Octavia vRS yet it is, with 227bhp, strictly equal on power to the run-out Octavia vRS 230 we drove earlier this year, but the output can now be enjoyed by all vRS customers rather than just a select few at the top of the range.

> Also read: Skoda Octavia vRS review - space, pace and value from Skoda's Golf GTI

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It still makes for a brisk car though, whether in hatchback or estate form. With front wheel drive and a manual gearbox it scrabbles to 62mph in 6.7sec and tops out at 155mph.

For the diesel model there's no power gain and so the 0-62mph sprint stays at 7.9sec, for the manual-equipped hatchback version.

Torque is meaty at 280lb ft from 1750rpm and perhaps put to best effect with the optional all-wheel drive version. The DSG-only all-wheel drive is a little quicker than the manual front-driver, hitting 62mph in 7.6sec. Estates are all a tenth of a second slower than their hatchback equivalents.

Both models are respectably frugal on paper too, the manual petrol hatch offering 43.4mpg and the manual diesel hatch 62.8mpg. In our hands, petrol and diesel vRS long-termers have managed around 33mpg and 43mpg respectively on average.

There have been a few changes under the skin, with 15mm lower sports suspension and a 30mm wider track. An XDS+ electronic limited-slip differential and Dynamic Chassis Control are standard, and there's a choice of either 18-inch (standard) or 19-inch (optional) alloy wheels.

The biggest changes have taken place on the surface though. The vRS, like the regular Octavia, gets bisected (full LED) headlamps that give the vRS its own unique face in the Skoda range, and the grille is wider than it used to be.

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At the rear there's a diffuser element in the bumper, and you'll still be able to identify the vRS from a mile off at night, as the bumper-width red reflector strip remains a feature. Inside there are new trim materials, plus the option of Alcantara inserts for the sports seats. The infotainment system has also been updated, the range-topping models getting a 9.2-inch capacitive touchscreen display, and a wi-fi hotspot.

The Octavia vRS starts at £25,130, which gets you the 2-litre petrol hatchback with a manual gearbox. The diesel costs just £30 more, while DSG adds £1390 to the price tag. The 4x4 model, which is diesel and DSG only, is £28,130 in hatchback form. Estate models are £1200 more than their hatchback equivalents.

vRS models open for order at the end of the first quarter. Regular Octavias are on sale now, starting from £17,055 for a 1-litre TSI hatch in "S" trim.

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