10 years of Skoda vRS models

Since Skoda became part of the Volkswagen Group 20 years ago, the Czech firm has been focussed on building good quality cars that are value for money. In the early days the brand had to shake off its unwanted image for poor reliability – excitement and performance came way down the list of priorities.

But that all changed in 2001 with the launch of the Skoda Octavia vRS – a performance version powered by the 1.8 turbocharged engine from the Volkswagen Golf GTI complete with 180PS and a 0-62mph time of less than 8.0 seconds. The vRS model easily stood out from the standard Octavia with subtle extras such as chunkier bumpers, a rear tailgate spoiler, chrome exhausts and unique alloy wheels.

Two years later the Fabia vRS was launched and this was the model that truly propelled the vRS name. Powered by a diesel engine rather than the traditional petrol, the critics mocked it at first, but once they’d driven it, the Fabia vRS quickly became renowned as one of the best hot hatches around.

The vRS name is unique to the UK. The cars are badged RS in mainland Europe, but copyright issues meant that couldn’t happen here. Performance models as part of the Skoda family date back to the Popular Sport, launched in the 1930s. But in the modern era, the RS name – for ‘Racing Sport’ – dates back to the 130 RS from the mid-1970s.

Last year saw the launch of the second generation Fabia vRS with 180PS. It’s the fastest production Fabia ever built, topping out at 139mph. And while it’s still a hot hatch at heart, there’s also an estate variant for the first time, for customers who want practicality as well as performance.

And if proof were needed that vRS models have made their mark, a modified production Octavia vRS hatch, prepared by Skoda UK, recently smashed the previous record for a 2.0-litre forced induction production car when it registered an official record speed of 227.080mph at the 2011 Bonneville Speed Week (see video below). The previous record was 216 mph, set in August 1998.

 

 

So we’re celebrating 10 years of the vRS badge with this special feature. We’ve brought together the key vRS models over the years from the original Octavia vRS hatchback to the latest Fabia vRS with a 1.4 TSI engine and a seven-speed DSG gearbox as standard, plus everything in between.

vRS models in detail

Click on a model for more 

Skoda Octavia V RS 2001 2

Skoda Fabia V RS 2003

Skoda _octavia _vrs _estate 2005

Skoda _octavia _vrs __TDI 2006

Skoda _fabia _vrs __10_

Skoda _fabia _vrs _estate __8_

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