It doesn’t seem like that long ago we were talking about the Octavia RS230, and now we have the improved 245 version.
Along with the facelifted look, this new Octavia range topper sits above the regular RS models, bringing a rise in output from 169 to 180kW and torque is up 20 units to 370Nm. There’s another gear in the twin-clutch ‘box for a total of seven, and it gets the firm’s best electronic diff lock system, XDS+.
There’s a $4100 premium over the other RS but the 245 gains adaptive dampers, Alcantara and leather trim with electric adjustment and memory, upgraded sounds and 19s. Adding those five items to a regular RS costs $10,300 so you’d be mad not to buy the RS245 if you’re tossing it up. It’s also available as a hatch, but the wagon is cooler, worthy of its $2000 premium.
This looks the part in black, menacing almost, but a menace to keep sparkling too. It’s about the only impractical aspect of this car, which is a stunning all-rounder. There are variable drive modes on offer but we happily lived with it glued in Sport mode. This firms the dampers, weights the steering and adds zest to the drivetrain which feels how the RS245 was intended to be enjoyed.
The progress isn’t even that lumpy in Sport mode though the DSG is a bit racy for city streets. However, a quick pull on the lever sorts it between Normal and Sports modes. Flicking between these two helps sort those moments when the ’box might otherwise take a moment to decide what it should do; when you want it to go, grab Sport, and when you’re not so rushed, revert back to Drive.
With the torque, slick auto and variable dampers, this makes for a quick and comfortable cruiser, averaging about 10L/100km overall for consumption. Even the stop/start system doesn’t annoy. Stretching its legs, it can be pretty quick too as it’s not long before the 370Nm starts pulling hard while this 2.0-litre revs out strongly to 6500rpm.
The XDS+ is a handy addition for the RS245. Plant your right foot just on the corner exit and the system divvies out the torque just so; no tyres smoking, no torque-induced wandering, just good power-on traction. It’s a different story in the wet, the fronts will start axle tramping under power but such are the limitations of a powerful front driver when the conditions aren’t optimal.
As it is around town, the RS245 is also a breeze to drive quickly, the fast steering (two turns between the locks) points it around nicely, with just enough sensation making it back up to the wheel. Through the curves the grip, balance and control are sorted and the suspenders do well to filter the bumps at speed.
And then there are all the practical bits to go with the performance; the quality construction, the replete infotainment system, heated seats, a powered tailgate, self parking even.
The sports seats look racy and are right comfortable, plus there’s all that Octavia space in the back, along with the ginormballs boot. As the RS245 has extra herbs and the XDS+ tech, there’s no contest for us between this and the VW GTI, the Skoda being massively better value while trumping it on practicality too.
Can’t really fault it at the price – highly recommended.