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New Skoda Octavia vRS revealed - the more practical Golf GTI ups its game

The facelifted Skoda Octavia vRS arrives hot on the heels of the Mk8.5 Golf GTI, equipped with the same upgraded 261bhp engine

The Skoda Octavia vRS has been a firm evo favourite for years. Discreet, practical yet packing Golf GTI power and chassis hardware, it's a do-it-all performance car for sensible money – and now there's a new one. 

Arriving as part of a range-wide update to the Octavia, the new vRS gets subtle design changes, a revised interior and a power bump to 261bhp, matching the Mk8.5 Golf GTI

As before, the vRS upgrades include unique bumpers with gloss black trim replacing the base car’s silver elements, plus a full-width reflector strip and twin tailpipes at the rear. As part of the facelift, the new model gets refreshed LED Matrix headlights, LED tail lights and a new 19-inch alloy wheel design (18s are fitted as standard).

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Inside, the revised Octavia gets a host of tech improvements including a 15W wireless charging pad, fast-charging USB-C ports and a new keyless entry and lock system. The vRS gets an upgraded 13-inch infotainment display as standard, complete with touch sliders for volume and climate controls, and a 10-inch digital dash. If you’ve always wanted to talk to an AI bot while driving, you’re in luck – the Octavia’s onboard voice assistant now gets ChatGPT integration as standard. 

Separating the vRS from other Octavias are sports seats, black trim elements and a perforated leather steering wheel, as well as a series of performance upgrades under the skin. 

As before the vRS uses an EA888 2-litre turbocharged engine, but Skoda has tuned it to deliver 261bhp – an uplift of 20bhp – and 273lb ft of torque. That puts it right in line with the new Golf GTI, and like the Volkswagen, the Skoda is only available with a seven-speed DSG gearbox.

Power is sent to the front wheels via an electronic locking differential, and the vRS gets progressive-rate steering and a unique suspension setup with a 15mm ride height drop. A sports exhaust system is also included, with new engine software that brings an artificial flare of revs on start-up – not very Skoda-like.

Pricing for the new Octavia range is yet to be announced, but expect the vRS to cost somewhere in the region of £40,000.

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