First official images of the Skoda Kodiaq GT revealed

Skoda has released official images of its upcoming China-only BMW X4 rival – the Skoda Kodiaq GT.

Skoda is readying a new coupe shaped variant of the Kodiaq SUV called Kodiaq GT and it’s been officially revealed for the first time in these sketches.

A pre-production version of the GT was previously spied showing the telltale lower roofline of the coupe SUV model but our understanding is that there are currently no plans to sell this sportier version of the Kodiaq in the UK.

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Back in 2016, when asked if European sales are still on the cards for the coupe-SUV, Skoda boss Bernhard Maier told Auto Express: “It is a very complex question”. He confirmed that “the markets are asking for it” but that the Czech Republic factory is “already running 24 hours a day and six days a week”. 

When asked if it was possible that the coupe SUV could be built in China and imported to Europe, Maier said: “That is not a simple solution. The big issues then are logistics, shipping costs and tariff/duty costs”.

More recently, Skoda sales and marketing boss Alain Favey confirmed to Auto Express that European production limitations are still the biggest sticking point. Favey explained that while he sees demand for the model in Europe, Skoda would need to build a new facility capable of increasing production by up to 300,000 cars a year. 

“It’ll be a group factory and we need to find somewhere with the cost base of the Czech Republic. We’ll make a decision on that at the end of this year”, he revealed. The coupe-SUV – in effect a slightly larger rival for the Range Rover Evoque and cars like the BMW X4 and Mercedes GLC Coupe – was teased to journalists back in 2015. For the Chinese market, it will be produced in one of Skoda’s four plants in the country alongside a cheaper large 4×4.

However, the Czech company has also been wrestling with the cultural implications of selling in Europe a vehicle focused on style instead of the brand’s usual values – space and practicality. 

Skoda’s board member with responsibility for research and development, Christian Strube, has previously acknowledged that the management want to sell the coupe-SUV to European customers. “We would like to have this car in Europe, yes,” he said. “The real problem is that we do not have the capacity to build everything that we would like to build.”

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He added: “There would be a really big potential for that car. It’s not a question of potential; I think there is a business case. It’s a question of capacity in our factories. We’re now selling so many cars that we’re discussing where we would be able to build this car.”

“The opportunity for Skoda here in Europe would be really high, because it’s so emotional, so attractive, that it would be the next step for us as a brand. Skoda has a tradition of being functional, but more and more it’s emotion and innovation. This car is pure emotion.” 

It is unlikely that Skoda would have the capacity required to make European versions of the car at its Chinese factories; the company already has local production lines for the Fabia, Octavia, Yeti, Rapid, Rapid Spaceback and Superb in the region, so even slotting in the Chinese Kodiaq, its coupe sister vehicle and the cheaper 4×4 is likely to require significant investment.

Skoda coupe-SUV: All we know so far

Inside, the new car will feel largely familiar to owners of current Skodas and other VW Group models, although we expect advances in technology to make it sharper and even more solidly built than any of the brand’s existing cars. A central touchscreen is likely to come as standard, along with various market-leading safety technologies and infotainment options.

Power will come from a range of existing VW Group petrol and diesel engines, while buyers will be offered a selection of manual and DSG automatic gearboxes. A GreenLine version is also set to be an option, promising CO2 emissions of less than 110g/km and 60mpg fuel economy. Plug-in hybrids could also join the range at a later date.

• Baby Skoda Yeti: full details

“We will be growing our SUV range in the future,” a Skoda spokesperson said. “All of our new models will offer class-leading space, value and quality. So long as these can be included, the sky is the limit.”

As a result, this new model is likely to better the BMW X4 for boot space, with more head and legroom and improved internal storage. The X4 features a 500-litre boot (50 litres down on the boxier X3), with a maximum of 1,400 litres if you fold the rear seats flat. As with the BMW, the Skoda will remain a strict five-seater, despite being based on the seven-seat flagship SUV.

The coupe-cum-SUV will be offered with a choice of front and four-wheel drive. The raised ride height will help with ground clearance, while underbody cladding will give it a degree of off-road ability. Like the BMW, though, this new model will be primarily designed for the road – with weighty steering and adjustable driving modes.

Joining the Kodiaq models and the Karoq will be a supermini sized crossover to rival the SEAT Arona, based on the Vision X concept revealed at the 2018 Geneva Motor Show. A China only SUV has also been revealed in the form of the Kamiq.

It’s hoped the four new cars will combine with the existing model range to help Skoda increase sales to a whopping 1.5 million globally by 2020 – which would be up nearly 50 per cent on its 2014 figure.

Do you like the look of this Skoda coupe-SUV? Let us know in the comments below…

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