New 2020 Skoda Octavia vRS iV spied undisguised

Our spy photographers have snapped an uncamouflaged version of the new plug-in hybrid Octavia vRS iV undergoing development

This is our first look at the new, plug-in hybrid-powered Skoda Octavia vRS iV. The Czech brand’s latest performance PHEV hatchback is due to make its debut at the 2020 Geneva Motor Show, before going on sale in the UK in autumn this year. Prices are expected to start from around £32,000.

Skoda recently released a suite of design sketches for the new Octavia vRS iV. This development mule looks almost identical to the renders, sharing the same rectangular exhaust tips, lower side skirts and ducktail spoiler. A similar front bumper also features, albeit with a pair of plastic guards to mask the sketched model’s air intakes.

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The new Skoda Octavia vRS iV plug-in hybrid will use the same turbocharged 1.4-litre four-cylinder petrol engine as the recently launched Golf GTE. No performance figures have been confirmed for the hot hybrid, but Auto Express understands that the new electrically-assisted model is being tuned to match the output of the petrol vRS model.

Senior company sources have told Auto Express that the PHEV-powered Octavia vRS iV will join Skoda’s existing range of petrol- and diesel-powered vRS models – giving it the Czech brand’s widest range of high-performance powertrains to date.

Skoda has always employed a loose definition of what constitutes a hot hatch. The previous generation Octavia vRS model was offered in a wide range of different forms – buyers could have either a hatchback or estate bodystyle, two- or four-wheel drive and even a diesel engine, which acted as a more efficient alternative to the flagship turbo petrol variant.

The petrol-powered Octavia vRS will use the turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol motor from the Volkswagen Group’s ubiquitous EA888 family. Skoda wants its next vRS to be the most powerful ever, so we can expect this engine to develop in excess of 245bhp – or more than the special vRS 245 model that was sold towards the end of the Mk3 Octavia’s life.

Assuming that the 1.4 TSI engine in the Skoda Octavia vRS iv produces the same 148bhp as it does in the Golf GTE, that would leave around 100bhp to be developed by the electric motor, which will be situated, as usual, between the car’s engine and gearbox.

The total system torque is expected to be around 400Nm – enough to get the car (which will have a dual-clutch automatic gearbox and no manual option) from 0-62mph in about seven seconds.

Perhaps a bigger challenge for the Skoda team will be keeping the Octavia vRS iV PHEV’s weight down and maintaining handling agility. The car will have a battery of at least 13kWh and this, coupled with the extra motor, will add more than 250kg to the kerbweight.

As such, expect the vRS iV to be slightly slower in a straight line than the petrol version. But equally, that battery will give it the ability to go for about 30 miles on electricity alone – potentially giving the Octavia vRS iV a key advantage over rivals like the Ford Focus ST. 

The Octavia vRS diesel will continue to use the existing EA288 motor with up to 197bhp. Skoda is said to have ruled out fitting the twin-turbocharged version of this engine, which is currently used in the Kodiaq vRS, where it makes 237bhp.

Do you think the new Skoda Octavia vRS iV plug-in hybrid will be a success? Let us know your thoughts below…

 

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