Skoda Octavia RS 245 | Blasting down an airstrip
The Octavia RS 245 is the most hardcore vRS model yet; the most expensive too. Its predecessor, the RS 230 enjoyed a cult following, and despite the hiked prices the new one too garnered strong response with all 200 cars sold out when it went on sale. However the pandemic that followed meant there are still a handful of cars up for grabs. And with that bit of perspective out of the way, let’s dive right into the more exciting bits.
The 2-litre TSI makes 14bhp and 20Nm more than the 230 while the 6-speed DSG is replaced with a 7-speed unit. There’s now a torque-sensing VAQ e-LSD on the front axle, superior to the relatively basic electronic locking differential that the RS 230 got. The 250kmph top speed is identical while the 0-100kmph sprint is quicker by a tenth, taking just 6.6 seconds. I’d have to be superhuman to notice the difference, but the driving experience was astonishingly immersive, and that’s what I intend to focus on.
On one side of the Aamby Valley airstrip, a slalom course is laid out for us while the other side has been kept clear for drag runs. I begin with the slalom, and with every passing cone, I see myself confidently pushing the Skoda Octavia RS 245 harder thanks to the phenomenal bite from the front axle. The computers are not only regulating wheel-slip but this VAQ system, short for front axle lock in German, also has the ability to vector torque, meaning the outside wheel gets more power as I accelerate out of curves, reducing understeer and providing better exit speeds. It works wonders but it’s best enjoyed when the throttle inputs are measured instead of going flat on the gas, unnecessarily wearing the tyres out.
Slalom done, I plant the throttle wide open and the scenery becomes a blur. 170, 190, 210, there’s no more runway! Two years ago, the Ed wrote that the Octavia RS is, “All the car you ever need”, and this holds true even today considering its unique blend of performance and daily usability. You get a massive boot, space for five, plenty of kit, ride quality that works well on regular roads, and a beast when you hit the twisties and bury the throttle through the floorboard. The only question is whether the Rs 10 lakh premium over the Octavia RS 230 is justifiable, especially when the rear-drive BMW 330i Sport is but Rs 6 lakh more.