Tuned: Skoda Octavia RS 230 Stage 3+
If there was one car responsible for growing the tuner culture in India, it has to be the Octavia RS. Sure there’s also the Gen 1 Honda City VTEC but the Octavia RS has grabbed headlines like nothing else over the years. 300bhp! 400bhp! Even 500bhp! The Octavia RS has been warmed over, boosted, massaged and cranked up by tuners all over the country, helped no doubt by bolt-on parts being available for not just the engine but also the chassis to handle the ramp-up in power. And so, when shortlisting cars for our new Tuner section, we had to start off with the fan favorite, the Octy RS.
Right out of the factory the RS is a quick car. The Gen 1 was the first turbo-petrol car in the country, a road-rocket by all accounts. And of course the current-gen Skoda Octavia RS 230 continues to count itself amongst the ‘extremely fast’ category with 227bhp and 350Nm of torque courtesy of the 2-litre TSI engine, mated to the rapid six-speed DSG gearbox. It might just be all the car you’ll ever need, no wonder then that it has gained such a cult following among enthusiasts here in India. In fact, they’re so sought after that you rarely find used examples and those that come on the market are agonizingly close to the brand new prices.
The price to performance ratio is one thing. Then the sheer availability of go-faster parts comes in. The EA888 G3 engine is one of the most widely modded engines on the planet, going from plaster-a-smile-on-your-face fast to I-need-a-barf-bag fast. Just a casual scroll through @staytunedindia’s Instagram feed will make your eyes pop with the number of Octavia RS’ that lean toward the loony end of the scale — exemplified by the white example we have here. “The stock car is powerful by any standards, more than sufficient for Indian roads,” says Rahul Kodidini of Harmonixx Tuning in Bengaluru. “One week after I bought the RS, I modified it to Stage 2 with 800-odd kilometers on the odometer,” he adds. Here’s what a Stage 2 upgrade involves. It starts with a bunch of APR goodies including a downpipe, intercooler, turbo-muffler delete, turbo inlet pipe, silicon hoses, carbonfiber intake and an oil catch can. This is in addition to an APR Stage 2 ECU tune accompanied by a re-mapped traction control unit.
The tyres were upsized to 225/45/17 Yokohama Advan Neova AD-08Rs, to cope with the extra horses. And how many, you ask? 369bhp and 606Nm of torque at the crank, tested on Arka Motorsports’ dyno in Coimbatore. But Rahul was just getting started.
After about 13,000 (very fast, we can safely assume) kilometers, Rahul decided it was time to up the ante. The stock turbo was swapped for the IHI IS38 turbo, the OEM part boosting the Volkswagen Golf R Mk7, along with NGK R7437-9 spark plugs and 034 Motorsports Dogbone mount insert. The factory mounts would be twisted and destroyed by the viciousness of the torque punched out by the tuned engine under hard acceleration and the Dogbone mount inserts stiffen it up to prevent carnage.
At this stage the car was producing 417bhp and 590Nm at the crank. And for those of you interested, it also managed to return 13kmpl on the drive from Coimbatore to Bangalore. The car was entered into Vroom 2018, a drag event held at Taneja runway in Bangalore, where it came first in the B7 category and second in Indian Open Stock Body, clocking a quarter mile time of 12.918 seconds.
About 30,000 kilometers later, Rahul was “bored” of the power. Out went the IS38 turbo and in came the Borg Warner EFR7163 kit from APR, along with a bunch of other modifications. This includes the APR Stage 3+ 98RON ECU tune and Stage 3+ TCU tune. APR Race downpipe, Racingline R600 intake and turbo inlet hose, APR high and low pressure fuel pumps, Volkswagen Golf R injectors, APR ignition coils, AEM 5 bar MAP (Manifold Absolute Pressure) sensor, Bosch 4 bar PUT sensor and an APR boost tap and Dogbone mount. Additionally Racingline Billet components have replaced the standard coolant expansion cap, oil and DSG filler housing, oil filter cap, oil dipstick and washer fluid cap. It also got a water-methanol injection kit, to reduce air inlet temperatures.
Power, as they say, is nothing without control. To improve handling, Racingline struts and lowering springs were added. The anchors were also upgraded with an APR 350mm big brake kit, and with the car “torque steering one and a half lanes each time, the turbo hit full boost,” the tyres were upgraded to 235/40 R18 Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tyres, wrapped around 18-inch Racingline Cup Edition rims. A Racingline subframe alignment kit was added, which tightens up the factory tolerances in subframe mounts, resulting in more accurate steering, better handling and braking. A Remus Valvetronic Resonated Catback exhaust system was also added to make it sound even better than it already did.
The result? 528bhp and 650Nm of torque at the crank, enabling an impressive 0 to 100kmph time of 4.54 seconds — limited by the traction of the front-wheel drive car. Even more impressive is the 100 to 200kmph time which takes just 7.6 seconds. Let that sink in. So, what’s the catch? Not much really. Rahul has now clocked over 38,000km on the car and apart from the 4 bar PUT sensor dying on the initial trial run, the car has been “extremely reliable so far”. Sure, the maintenance has to be done at shorter intervals — a regular service every 7500km, oil change every 7500km with Motul 8100 X-Cess engine oil, DSG fluids every 30,000km and spark plugs every 15,000km. But that’s about it. Rahul uses this missile as his daily driver, and of the 80 Octavia RS’ Harmonixx has tuned (yes, eighty!), including the grey one on the first page which is pushing 350 horses, none have faced reliability issues with the hardware or software that they have installed.
What I personally love about this build is how clean it looks. Eagle-eyed petrol heads will notice the lowered ride height, aftermarket rims and when it passes by, you won’t miss the burble from the Remus exhaust. But apart from that, this is a wonderful sleeper, a practical 4-door sedan with a massive boost that can chase Porsches!
This Skoda Octavia RS Stage 3+ build cost Rs 36 lakh and includes the following parts:
APR Stage 3+ Borg Warner EFR7163 Turbo Kit , APR Stage 3+ 98RON ECU Tune, APR Stage 3+ TCU Tune, APR Race Downpipe, Racingline R600 intake and turbo inlet Hose, APR intercooler and hoses, Racingline Oil Management System with oil catch can, APR high pressure fuel pump, APR low pressure fuel pump, Volkswagen Golf R-spec injectors, APR ignition coils, AEM 5 bar MAP sensor, Bosch 4 bar PUT sensor, APR boost tap, APR Pendulum mount, APR Dogbone mount, 034 Motorsports upper Dogbone mount, NGK R7437-9 spark plugs, Racingline Billet coolant expansion cap, Racingline Billet oil and DSG filter housing, Racingline Billet oil filter cap, Racingline Billet oil dipstick Racingline washer fluid cap, APR coolant hose, APR 350mm big brake kit, Remus Valvetronic Resonated Catback Exhaust, Racingline Cup Edition 18-inch rims, Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 235/40 R18 tyres, APR adjustable drop links, Racingline stud and nut kit, Racingline subframe alignment kit.