It’s a sign of the times, but the new Skoda Octavia RS iV gets PHEV tech to reduce emissions. It will be available as a five-door saloon and an estate, both capable of covering up to 60 kilometres on battery power alone.
The Skoda Octavia RS iV is a more potent alternative to the sensible saloon, and for the first time, it appears as a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV). Its styling sets it apart from the normal Octavia range, with gloss black elements such as the grille and front bumper apron, aeroflaps and a rear diffuser along with the window frames and spoiler (in the case of the saloon, the estate sticks with a body-coloured spoiler). The battery charging port is placed on the left side front wing, just behind the front wheel.
According to Skoda’s Head of Design, Oliver Stefani, “We have given the already dynamic shape of the new Octavia an even sportier appearance using familiar RS insignias. With its numerous black design details, such as the ŠKODA grille, front apron, rear diffuser and alloy wheels, the car is immediately recognisable as a member of our RS family.”
It rides as standard on 18-inch wheels that are exclusive the RS version, and behind these are red brake callipers. Optionally, buyers can specify larger 19-inch wheels. On the interior, the Octavia RS gets the usual upgrades we’re used to seeing. Sports seats get RS logos stitched on the backs. There’s plenty of Alcantara on the door cards and across the front of the dash, which is a nice touch.
The Mercedes-Maybach-like two-spoke steering wheel of the regular Skoda Octavia makes way for a more conventional sporty three-spoke wheel that is upholstered in perforated leather. The latest MIB infotainment system is present along with a digital instrument display. As the DSG unit now uses a shift-by-wire setup, the usual gear selector makes way for a much smaller rocker toggle.
Powering the new Octavia RS is a 150hp 1.4-litre TSI four-cylinder engine and an 85kW electric motor. Combined they produce a total system output of 245hp and 400Nm of torque. That power goes to the front wheels via a six-speed DSG automatic transmission.
The electric motor gets its power from a 13kWh lithium-ion battery that is located in the rear of the car, just beneath the rear seats. When fully charged it can provide the Octavia RS with enough power for 60 kilometres of zero-emission driving before the petrol engine chimes into action. As a result, Skoda expects the CO2 emissions to be just 30g/km in the WLTP cycle, which will make it reasonably tax-friendly in most European countries. There’s no word on exact charging times, though it is likely to have a similar setup to other PHEVs in the Volkswagen Group such as the Passat GTE.
Performance should be reasonably brisk, with Skoda stating that the car will cover the 0-100km/h sprint in 7.3 seconds and have a top speed of 225km/h. With the Sport mode engaged, it combines both the electric and combustion motor to deliver the car’s full potential. Skoda equips the car with a sports suspension setup that will be slightly lower and firmer along with progressive steering as standard.
Commenting at the car’s debut, Skoda Board Member for Technical Development, Christian Strube, said: “By introducing the Octavia RS iV, we are starting a new chapter in the success story of our RS portfolio. We are using plug-in-hybrid drive in a sporty top-of-the-range model for the first time. In the new Octavia RS iV, this both increases performance and reduces fuel consumption as well as CO2 emissions.”
If you’re not fully sold not the idea of the Skoda Octavia RS iV being a PHEV, there will be more news in the second half of 2020, when Skoda plans to add petrol and diesel versions to the Octavia RS lineup.