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New facelifted Skoda Octavia vRS the most powerful yet with 261bhp

Skoda’s everyday performance hero is more powerful than ever, but now only comes in the one powertrain option

The Skoda Octavia vRS has been given a substantial mid-life update, adding style, tech and powertrain upgrades to an already very impressive all-round package. Due to arrive in the summer of this year, the new vRS performance model will be available in both hatchback and estate forms, with local pricing due to be revealed in the next few months. 

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Key changes to the vRS start under the bonnet, where the 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine has been given a power boost from 242bhp to 261bhp, with peak torque now rated at 370Nm. However, where previously this was available with a six-speed manual, Skoda will only now offer the vRS with a seven-speed dual clutch transmission. 

In fact, a reduction in range complexity goes much further with Skoda also ditching the previous 242bhp iV plug-in hybrid and 200bhp diesel versions, including the latter model’s optional all-wheel drive system. Still, the petrol with the DSG gearbox always proved to be the most popular option in the UK and that’s the model that Skoda has paid the most attention to. 

In this case, the extra power is sent to the front wheels via Skoda’s ‘virtual’ limited slip differential that uses the brakes to stop the inside wheel from overspinning in tight corners. The brakes are uprated over standard Octavia models and Skoda has fiddled with both the engine management and the piped-in engine noises. 

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Precise UK specifications have yet to be set, but we expect the larger 19-inch wheel option to be standard as it was with the previous model, paired with a more aggressive set of bumpers that mark out this new facelifted version. The Matrix LED headlights have been reshaped, while the rear lights also feature new graphics. 

The Octavia’s high quality interior hasn’t changed too much, but the vRS will maintain its sportier styling elements such as the red stitching and body-hugging sports seats. The tech interfaces have been given an update with a larger 13-inch touchscreen display fitted as standard alongside new software that Skoda is promising will be more user-friendly and quick-reacting. 

As well as the new hardware, Skoda will also integrate a ChatGPT-based virtual assistant that will use AI to improve the voice control system’s accuracy and usability. This will be integrated at a later date. 

Precise UK prices and specifications for the vRS are still to be confirmed, but there will probably be a price increase over the existing turbo petrol model fitted with the seven-speed DSG that currently sits at £36,665 for the hatchback and £37,785 for the estate.

What do you think of the facelifted Skoda Octavia vRS? Let us know in the comments below...

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Senior staff writer

Senior staff writer at Auto Express, Jordan joined the team after six years at evo magazine where he specialised in news and reviews of cars at the high performance end of the car market. 

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