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Brand New SKODA Octavia

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Steane Klose | Oct 29, 2008

Australians are embracing diesels and why wouldn’t they? Efficient and powerful, they make a compelling case for the new car buyer’s hard earned dollars. Škoda Australia has now added a new variant to its Octavia model line up – the high performance Octavia RS TDI, with a new 125kW 2.0-litre turbocharged common rail diesel engine.

The Octavia RS is the performance flagship of the Octavia range, and is available in both liftback and wagon models. The new 2.0 TDI engine is the most powerful diesel engine in the Škoda range and is available with a six-speed manual transmission or optional six-speed DSG transmission – making this the first time that VW’s DSG transmission has been offered in an Octavia RS.

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As with all diesels, the big number is the torque figure, and in the Octavia RS’s case, there is a handy 350Nm on tap between 1,750 and 2,500rpm. Even more impressive is this diesel's efficiency, with a fuel consumption figure of just 5.9 L/100kms on the combined cycle (manual liftback and wagon), CO2 output of 155 g/km. It’s not slow either, with the 2.0 TDI capable of taking the Octavia RS manual liftback from 0-100km/h in 8.4 seconds (manual wagon in 8.5 seconds).

Complementing the slugging power provided by the diesel, are a host of RS specific features, including 18” ‘Zenith’ alloy wheels, twin chrome exhaust, RS bumpers, rear boot spoiler (liftback), RS design sport seats, three-spoke leather steering wheel, red brake callipers, lowered suspension and ESP (Electronic Stability Program).

The Octavia RS range features a high level of standard safety equipment. A six airbag package, active safety front headrests, Electronic Stability Program (ESP), advanced Anti-lock Brake System (ABS), Anti-Slip Regulation (ASR) and Electronic Brake-pressure Distribution (EBD) are all present and accounted for.

Ocatvia RS Pricing

  • Octavia RS Liftback 2.0 TDI Manual - $39,490
  • Octavia RS Liftback 2.0 TDI DSG - $41,790
  • Octavia RS Liftback 2.0 FSI Manual - $37,490
  • Octavia RS Wagon 2.0 TDI Manual - $41,490
  • Octavia RS Wagon 2.0 TDI DSG - $43,790
  • Octavia RS Wagon 2.0 FSI Manual - $39,490

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Skoda Octavia RS Further Details

Engine and performance

The 2.0 TDI 125kW common rail direct injection engine offered in the Octavia RS is the most powerful diesel engine in the Škoda range. Thanks to a relatively low compression ratio and very precise injector control, the 2.0 TDI is quiet and refined. The introduction of a separate catalyst and piezo injectors mean it also has tighter control over the actions of the standard fit diesel particulate filter (DPF).

With 350Nm of torque available between 1,750 and 2,500rpm, this engine returns low fuel consumption of 5.9 litres/100kms on the combined cycle (manual liftback and wagon, according to ADR81/02) and outputs 155 g/km of Co2 (manual liftback and wagon, according to ADR81/02). In terms of performance the 2.0 TDI is capable of taking the Octavia RS manual liftback from 0 to 100km in 8.4 seconds (manual wagon in 8.5 seconds).

The dynamically engaging Octavia RS is the performance flagship of the Octavia model line-up. Available, like the rest of the Octavia range, in both wagon and liftback body styles, this is a satisfying and very European performance car you can live with every day. Practicality is certainly not sacrificed to performance – or vice-versa – when it comes to the Octavia RS.

The Octavia RS TDI engages the road via 18” alloy wheels shod with low-profile 225/40 R18 tyres. Feel and feedback are impressive, thanks to sports-tuned suspension - which is lower than the standard Octavia - and responsive rack and pinion steering with electro-mechanical assistance.

The Octavia RS is fitted as standard with a six speed fully synchronised manual transmission. The connection between the gearbox and the gear lever is via two gearshift cables, which give a precise gear change while reducing vibrations. The clutch is a dry, single-disc plate with hydraulic control.

DSG

Combining the benefits of both manual and automatic gearboxes, the optional DSG is best described as a ‘best of both worlds’ transmission. DSG has advantages over automated manual gearboxes too – it provides extremely quick gear changes resulting in virtually no loss of power when accelerating. It can be operated by the driver in the same way as an automatic Tiptronic transmission, yet fuel consumption is comparable to that of a traditional manual transmission. Unlike ordinary transmissions, DSG uses two input shafts, each with its own clutch. Gears 1, 3, 5 and reverse are on one shaft, while 2, 4 and 6 are on the other.

The way DSG works can be described by the following example: assume the vehicle is accelerating in third gear. The intelligent transmission control predicts the next gear that needs to be selected – this is based on information such as the change in engine speed, position of accelerator pedal etc. The DSG transmission pre-selects fourth gear, which it can do because fourth gear is controlled by the disconnected clutch. The transmission control unit waits for the most suitable moment to change gear, which it does by disconnecting the clutch for uneven gears and simultaneously connecting the clutch for even gears. This results in a gear-change that is perfectly smooth with no juddering. Additionally, because the change is so quick, the transmission of power from the engine to wheels is virtually uninterrupted.

The two clutches on the DSG transmission are multi-plate and “wet”. In other words they operate in an oil bath. Compared to a standard single-plate dry clutch, a multi-plate wet clutch has a higher thermal capacity, meaning it can handle more power. Like both input shafts, the clutches are co-axial (one shaft is hollow and the second passes through it).

The DSG transmission in the Octavia can be used by the driver in two modes – fully automatic or Tiptronic manual gear changing. The driver can also select between economy or sports mode. In sports mode the transmission changes gear at higher engine speeds, helping to maximize power output and therefore acceleration, whereas in economy mode the transmission changes at lower engine speeds, resulting in reduced fuel consumption.

Exterior Design

For those demanding a little more visual drama, the striking RS range certainly fits the bill. Thanks to its body coloured bumpers with integrated spoiler, sport exhaust pipes, red brake calipers and bold 18” ‘Zenith’ alloy wheels, the RS conveys a real air of sportiness.

The RS front end is dominated by a large air intake in the lower half of the bumper, while the projector halogen headlamps further enhance the whole look. Distinctive crease lines rising from the centre of the grille to the base of the windscreen create a trademark ‘V’ in the bonnet, further emphasising the sharpness of the design.

During the design of the Octavia RS a great deal of attention was paid to its profile. The transition between the body and the A-pillar is continuous and has the effect of making the car appear to be moulded from one piece of metal.

Another dominating feature of the Octavia’s side view is an elegant arch that stretches from the A pillar thought the roof to the C pillar. Thanks to its sloping lower half it makes the interior look even longer.

At the rear of the RS, a strip of ‘Cat’s Eyes’ reflectors have been incorporated in the bumper, in addition the lift back model is fitted with a distinctive spoiler that arches gracefully over the boot lid.

The shape of the rear lights and the way they are illuminated is another unique Octavia feature. When the lights are on, the ‘C’ shaped red area frames the white central part incorporating the direction indicator and the reversing light. Because their shape extends to the sides of the car the rear lights have a remarkably spatial effect. The unusually large illuminated area isn’t just a stylish piece of design; it’s also a valuable safety feature.

Interior Design

The Octavia RS, as with the entire Octavia range, features one of the biggest and most generously equipped cabins in its segment. Combining premium grade materials with an intelligent layout and a host of practical touches, the Octavia RS treats all its passengers to a first class driving experience.

One of the main advantages is its large luggage compartment. The liftback’s basic volume of 560 litres can be increased to 1,350 litres by folding down the rear seat backrests (580 and 1,620 litres respectively in the wagon).

Driving ergonomics are flawless thanks to a reach and rake adjustable steering column and height adjustable driver’s seat on all models, while everyday practicality is boosted by the wide range of cubbies and covered storage areas.

The Octavia RS enjoys all the same features as the standard Octavia, but adds a number of special features to mark it out from the rest of the range. Figure-hugging, height adjustable sports seats finished in silver and black rim, a three-spoke, leather wrapped sports steering wheel and aluminium effect trim on the instrument panel and doors. A black roof lining and a sporty leather covered gear knob are also included in the package, along with chrome plated inner door handles and an illuminated and air conditioned glove box.

Comfort and Convenience

The Octavia RS is packed with a generous quota of standard equipment. Those with a taste for the finer things in life will appreciate the dual-zone climate control air conditioning, six-disc CD player with eight speakers and MP3 auxiliary input socket, multi-function trip computer and remote central locking.

Additionally as standard, the Octavia RS is fitted with 18” ‘Zenith’ Alloy wheels, silver roof rails (wagon only), rear parking sensors, heated front seats, light assistant (coming/leaving home function), front armrest with cooled storage space and cargo net and hooks.

A wide range of optional equipment includes xenon lights, electric glass sunroof, front parking distance control and a satellite navigation system.

Chassis

Of course, every great suspension setup needs a strong and flex-free body as a base and as you would expect, the Octavia RS doesn’t disappoint. Both the lift back and wagon versions of the RS have reinforced rear body sections that have been braced to increase torsional strength. In addition, laser welding has been used to join the roof to the side of the car, further strengthening the Octavia’s bodyshell. Thanks to this, a significant improvement in torsional body rigidity has been achieved.

The suspension has been lowered by 12mm and features modified shock absorbers and springs that have sportier responses without compromising the Octavia’s ride quality. MacPherson struts underpin the front end while a multi-link design controls the behaviour of the rear wheels.

Safety

An essential element of any car involved in a crash is a carefully designed bodyshell with a rigid central passenger compartment and progressive crumple zones at the front and the rear.

The Octavia RS is comprehensively kitted out to protect its occupants across a broad range of real-world safety situations with an impressive array of active (crash avoidance) and passive (crash mitigation) safety features.

Six airbags, active safety front headrests the Electronic Stability Program (ESP), advanced Anti-lock Brake System (ABS) and Anti-Slip Regulation (ASR) and Electronic Brake-pressure Distribution (EBD) are all standard in the Octavia RS range.

Importantly, the Electronic Stability Program (ESP) is standard across the entire Škoda range, regardless of engine, transmission, body configuration or drive system.

ESP represents ‘best practice’ technology to counteract skids and slides, helping to prevent numerous subsequent traffic crashes. ESP has been independently assessed to offer significant safety benefits to the owners of cars fitted with the system, as well as other road users.

It helps prevent loss of control situations from arising by monitoring cornering performance continuously and intervening automatically to regain control when it senses grip being lost. It compares a complex number of variables in real time – such as yaw rate, lateral acceleration and steering angle, and is able to prevent sliding by reducing engine power if required and by braking individual wheels to control the car’s directional path when the available grip level is exceeded. Driver intervention is not required, as the system is entirely automatic.

An advanced Anti-lock Brake System (ABS) helps maintain driver control by preventing wheel lock-up if an emergency stop is required, while an Anti-Slip Regulation (ASR) monitors the driveline continuously for wheelspin and automatically reduces engine output to prevent wheelslip. Finally, the Electronic Brake-pressure Distribution (EBD) provides an electronic means of regulating the ratio of front to rear brake pressure. The system automatically varies the settings according to driving and load conditions to ensure each wheel brakes to the optimum extent.

Advanced structural engineering mitigates crash performance through controlled deformation, which limits loads on occupants while at the same time allowing a rigid survival space within the vehicle. Together with front, side and head airbags, and load-limiting seatbelt pre-tensioners, the Octavia is well equipped to protect its occupants from harm.

A sporting brand with serious heritage

The new Octavia RS continues a sporting tradition that dates back 100 years. Škoda has a rich motorsport history and has been successfully competing with its production cars since the mid-1930s. In fact, Škoda has been involved in motorsport longer than most manufacturers have been in existence.

The RS brand pulls together all the qualities that Škoda is known for, but adds an extra twist of excitement to the mix. Having first appeared in the mid-1970s on the famous Škoda 130 RS, the RS badge has since become synonymous with performance motoring. An instant winner on the race tracks and rally stages of Europe, it twice won its class on the famous Monte Carlo rally and scored an impressive string of victories in the prestigious European Touring Car Championship.

The badge was reintroduced in 2000 when the Škoda Octavia RS, with a 1.8 litre 20 valve turbo engine generating 180bhp, blasted onto the market. The car rapidly achieved cult status in the UK and remains a highly sought after performance model thanks to its unbeatable combination of space, pace and practicality.

Škoda built on the success of the Octavia and doubled the size of its RS range in 2003 with the arrival of the Fabia RS. Like the Octavia, the Fabia proved an instant hit thanks to its sharp performance, value for money and practicality. It was also the first diesel engine car to be genuinely considered a hot-hatch – an achievement that still marks it out as unique. Nothing in the class comes close to matching the Fabia’s sheer drivability.

Škoda’s commitment to the RS brand is considerable. Working on the old adage that racing improved the breed, Škoda has been involved in the World Rally Championship (WRC) since its inception and continues to be a driving force in the sport today. Indeed, the 2005 Fabia WRC car proved such an exciting package that British rally legend and former world champion Colin McRae was tempted out of retirement to drive one on the Rally of Great Britain and Rally Australia, where he came within a whisker of recording a podium finish.

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