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Skoda Kodiaq vRS - more details ahead of Paris debut

evo staff
18 Sep 2018

Drip-feed continues ahead of the performance SUV's Paris motor show unveiling

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Further details on Skoda's first performance SUV have been revealed as the car's debut at this year's Paris motor show draws ever closer.

The Skoda Kodiaq vRS will be the first time the vRS badge has appeared on a model other than the brand's Fabia supermini and Octavia hatchback - and by way of proof, one of Skoda's latest images depicts said badge on the grille of the new car, with a red "v" element used for the first time.

Not the most thrilling of teaser images perhaps, and the others don't exactly get the blood racing any quicker, with one showing off the car's black accents surrounding the windows and on the roof rails and door mirrors (black means sporty, y'see), and another highlighting (almost literally) the full-width reflector element in the rear bumper (much like the Octavia vRS) and a pair of tailpipe elements.

Perhaps the most interesting new image is that of the "Xtreme" alloy wheel design, very similar to that available on the Octavia, measuring 20 inches in diameter. Behind these lurk sizeable 17in brake discs and red calipers. The brakes have already proven themselves following Skoda's Nürburgring lap record, its 9min 29.84sec time at the hands of Sabine Schmitz making the Kodiaq vRS the fastest seven-seater SUV to lap the Nordschleife.

In an interview with Schmitz about the record attempt, she describes the car as ‘Absolutely stock’. And goes on to say ‘we didn’t change anything, because I think, when we do a lap record, it should be the car like you can buy it.’

The Kodiaq vRS will be powered by a 236bhp bi-turbo 2-litre four-cylinder diesel engine, connected to a dual clutch transmission and all-wheel drive. Although the combination of a vRS badge and a diesel engine is nothing new (the first-gen Fabia vRS was among the first true diesel hot hatchbacks), we can’t help but be a little disappointed that a high-output petrol would have been a more entertaining choice, although we acknowledge it will be an easier car to justify for buyers in diesel form.

With a similar drivetrain, Volkswagen's Tiguan is capable of a 0-62mph time of just 6.5sec and can go on to a top speed of 142mph, so we’d expect the vRS to be as fast, if not a little quicker.

To live up to the vRS brand’s sporty reputation, the Kodiaq is likely to have firmer springs, thicker anti-roll bars and vRS-specific driver modes, as well as the adaptive dampers, to deliver sharper handling. It’ll be a similar set-up to the forthcoming Cupra Ateca, another performance SUV from within the VW group.

As well as the new videos, our spy photographers have captured images of the Kodiaq vRS undergoing testing in the mountains. With only a little bit of black tape covering the front lower intakes, we can see most of the changes the vRS has over the standard Kodiaq.

As well as the details revealed in the teaser images so far, including LED headlights and a digital gauge cluster, the black lower body trim also looks deeper, reducing the car’s ground clearance, and the taped-up lower grille looks taller, presumably to allow for better cooling to the more powerful engine.

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The Kodiaq wouldn’t have been the Skoda model we’d have chosen to get the vRS treatment – a Citigo borrowing the Up GTI drivetrain or a Fabia using the Polo GTI engine would have come first (even the smaller Karoq SUV would have seemed a more appropriate platform) – but we’re glad it’s not just restricted to the Octavia anymore.

In 2004, when production of the Fabia vRS ended, there was a fear Skoda would abandon its performance division altogether. Hopefully the Kodiaq vRS indicates a shift in attitude and the vRS badge will find its way onto many more Skodas.

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