The Skoda Octavia RS245 is a titillating fastback with pace and space in equal measure.
The 242 Czech ponies are always eager to run wild, and are best deployed via the gearbox’s manual override function.
HIGH-PERFORMANCE cars typically come with high price tags.
In other words, the more ponies a car has, the more dollars you’ll have to pony up to own it.
Skoda, however, has bucked this trend with its Octavia RS245, which delivers serious bang for the buck.
And it will also go “Bang!” when you put the pedal to the metal.
For the uninitiated, the RS245 is the hot-blooded model of the Octavia range.
Beneath its bonnet is a turbocharged 2-litre four-cylinder that delivers 242hp and 370Nm of torque. With these outputs, the RS245 zips from rest to 100km/h in 6.6 seconds.
Meanwhile, the tamer Octavia Ambition and Ambition Plus models have turbocharged 1.4-litre engines that deliver 148hp and 250Nm, and a zero to 100kmh time of 8.2 seconds.
You can tell the RS245 apart from its siblings just by looking at it.
It has more aggressive-looking front and rear bumpers, larger 18-inch wheels and black wing mirror covers.
Compared to the normal Octavia models, the RS245 sits 15mm closer to the ground, thanks to its standard sports suspension.
Inside, front passengers get electrically adjustable sports seats.
All seats are trimmed with Alcantara and “RS” badges are liberally scattered throughout the cabin. The gauges have red accents and there is plenty of red contrast stitching, too.
I like the alloy pedals and D-shaped steering wheel that looks like it came from a racecar. Too bad the rim is a bit thin for my liking. I would have preferred something meatier.
There is no shortage of meatiness when it comes to the RS245’s performance, though.
Prior to setting off, I strongly suggest choosing the Sport setting by pressing the “RS Mode” button in front of the gearshift lever.
Ease the car onto a clear stretch of road and nail the throttle. The engine hesitates for a split-second and bam! You are catapulted towards the horizon.
The urgency at which the RS245’s drivetrain pulls and the snappiness at which it piles on the revs are downright addictive.
For even better results, you should utilise the 7-speed dual-clutch’s manual override function.
This is when you will really get the most out of this fastback – especially in terms of aural pleasure.
THE URGENCY AT WHICH THE RS245’S DRIVETRAIN PULLS AND THE SNAPPINESS AT WHICH IT PILES ON THE REVS ARE DOWNRIGHT ADDICTIVE.
Racy details include sports seats, a D-shaped steering wheel, plenty of red contrast stitching and alloy pedals.
If you’re merging onto an expressway, hold both second and third gears until the tacho needle whips past 4000rpm. You’ll hear the car emit a throaty, racecar-like growl that’ll put an impish grin on your face.
These reverberations also make the in-car unit vibrate audibly.
The “barks” accompanying the manual downshifts while you brake hard are music to a petrolhead’s ears, too. Just make sure the revs are high before you slam on the brakes.
Speaking of stopping power, the RS245’s brakes have plenty of bite and are easy to modulate.
But like the accelerator, the brake pedal is too mushy. Both could use more firmness and feedback.
That said, most drivers will be too busy enjoying the car’s handling to notice this.
With a lower ride height and firmer dampers, the RS245 is a lot nimbler than its regular siblings. Despite its sizeable rear end, the RS245 is in its element as you command it to slice through corners.
Body roll and understeer are well controlled. And thanks to the VAQ limited-slip differential, you can push a bit harder without worrying about losing grip from the front tyres.
Yet in spite of its agility, the RS245’s ride quality remains surprisingly pliant for everyday commutes. Performance aside, this fastback is also practical, with large storage points and a big boot (590 litres with the rear seats up, 1580 litres with them folded).
The Octavia RS245 is compelling because it is such a complete car at this price point.
If you want one, get yours before its price tag ends up matching its performance.
ART DIRECTION MICHAEL CHIAN