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New Skoda Scala vRS hot hatch could be a hybrid

Skoda is planning to give its Scala hatch the vRS treatment and the hot hatch may use hybrid tech to keep emissions down

Skoda is lining up its Scala family hatchback as the next model to get the vRS treatment, according to a senior official – and requirements on CO2 emissions could mean that it becomes the first hybrid performance vehicle from the company.

The Czech brand recently launched the Kodiaq vRS, its second hot model after the Octavia vRS. But the Scala – a conventional rival for the Ford Focus and Volkswagen Golf – would in theory be a more natural base for a ‘traditional’ hot hatch than the larger Octavia.

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Speaking at the Geneva Motor Show, Skoda’s board member with responsibility for sales and marketing, Alain Favey, admitted that such a vehicle is now being discussed. “Officially we have not decided anything, but, yes, we are considering a Scala vRS,"” Favey said. "As far as I am concerned, it would make sense for us to have one.

“The reality is that we have been extremely successful with the Octavia vRS. And early signs for the Kodiaq vRS are encouraging; it is hitting its targets and more. So even in a package which is not a conventional sports car, a sporty version makes a lot of sense.”

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Our exclusive image previews how a Scala vRS could look, and Favey added: “On a personal level, I would love to have [it]. But it needs to make sense in terms of profitability and it has to exist in the context of the CO2 targets we have to achieve for next year. There are a number of elements that you have to take into consideration – more than there used to be some years ago.”

That concern about the impact of a Scala vRS on Skoda’s average fleet CO2 emissions – a target the firm has to meet to avoid European Union fines – could force Skoda to take a radical approach to the powertrain. 

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The concept that previewed the Scala, the Skoda Vision RS, combined a 1.5-litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine with a 101bhp electric motor to deliver a total of more than 240bhp. A set-up like this in production form could give the Scala performance to match more traditional 2.0-litre cars, such as the Golf GTI, but with a lower impact on Skoda’s fleet CO2 emissions average.

Skoda’s board member for technical development, Christian Strube, has been pushing the VW Group hard for a hybrid system. He declined to confirm this, or say whether such a move would be designed to support a Scala vRS, but he conceded: “A performance version of the Scala is very interesting from an engineering perspective. It’s a type of car that I’m pushing for.”

Skoda CEO, Bernhard Maier, has also confirmed discussions over electrification in vRS models were taking place: "First of all, our vRS ideas have really been this year and last year, for the first time, largely expanded. Not just the Octavia but also a Kodiaq vRS variant is available as well.

"With a very motivating success; in several countries the vRS take rate on Kodiaq is north of 20 per cent already. This motivates us to think of other vehicles as well, but we know in this transformational stage, of combustion engines to electro-mobility, we have to think of a new idea of a vRS. That's why we showed Vision RS. We’re thinking and deliberating about it."

Would a Skoda Scala vRS be an attractive alternative to a Golf GTI? Let us know your thoughts in the comments...

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Editor-at-large

John started journalism reporting on motorsport – specifically rallying, which he had followed avidly since he was a boy. After a stint as editor of weekly motorsport bible Autosport, he moved across to testing road cars. He’s now been reviewing cars and writing news stories about them for almost 20 years.

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