- ŠKODA celebrates 15th anniversary of the first vRS model in the UK
- Highly successful performance badge builds on SKODA’s sporting heritage
- Three generations of Octavia vRS – now with the biggest range ever
- Landmark cars including diesel-powered Fabia vRS – a sector first
- Octavia vRS set and still holds International Land Speed Record
ŠKODA’s rich sporting and performance history reaches a historic milestone in 2016 with the 15th anniversary of the vRS brand in the UK. Since the first Octavia vRS arrived in showrooms back in 2001, ŠKODA has continually developed the vRS range; adding more power, performance and excitement to cars wearing the famous three letter badge.
Octavia vRS Mk1 (2001-2006)
The Mk1 Octavia vRS was the first modern-era ŠKODA to enter the fiercely competitive performance car market. Perfectly showcasing the brand’s optimism, confidence and engineering skills, the Octavia was powered by a 180PS, 1.8-litre turbocharged petrol engine, the Mk1 Octavia vRS delivered numerous firsts for the brand. Not only was it the most powerful production ŠKODA ever produced, it was also the fastest (146mph Hatch) and most expensive with a UK price tag of £15,535.
The first-generation Octavia vRS proved an instant hit with car buyers and the world’s motoring media alike. While it broke a price barrier for the brand, its high equipment levels meant that no rival could match the Octavia vRS for sheer value and entertainment.
Fabia vRS Mk1 (2003-2007)
ŠKODA’s passion for ripping up the performance car rulebook took another leap forward in 2003 with the introduction of the Fabia vRS. Powered by a 130PS, 1.9-litre turbodiesel engine, the Fabia defied convention and proved that flexibility and a colossal torque output (310Nm) was more than a match for a peaky, high-revving petrol engine. It returned up to 53.3mpg and came loaded with standard equipment which made it one of the most competitive and engaging packages in the sector.
Fabia vRS Mk2 (2010-2013)
With both first-generation vRS models proving a huge hit with buyers, ŠKODA packed more power, excitement and value into their replacements. The Mk2 Fabia vRS offered more innovation in the form of a twin-charged 180PS, 1.4-litre TSI engine and paddle-shift DSG transmission.
Octavia vRS Mk2 (2005-2013)
For the first time, the Octavia vRS was developed as a small range of its own – confirming ŠKODA’s commitment to the badge. Built on an all-new platform it displayed a smoother, more refined appearance. Powered by a new 2.0-litre TSI engine linked to a six-speed manual transmission, it became the first production ŠKODA to offer an output of 200PS.
To showcase the remarkable performance potential of the Octavia vRS, and celebrate the tenth anniversary of the vRS badge in the UK, ŠKODA UK made headlines around the world in 2011 when it attempted to break a land speed record at the famous Bonneville Salt Flats in the USA.
Built from a standard petrol-powered Octavia vRS by a team of ŠKODA UK engineers, the Bonneville special smashed the previous record for a 2.0-litre forced induction production car. At 07:45 on Friday 19 August, it registered an official record speed of 227.080mph – a record that still stands today.
Octavia vRS Mk3 (2013-present)
2013 saw ŠKODA refocus its vRS line-up, opting to build a broader Octavia vRS line-up with greater options for buyers. As a result, the third-generation Octavia vRS has the largest range ever with three engine options, two body styles and the option of four-wheel-drive. Petrol versions are powered by a 2.0 TSI engine available with outputs of 220PS and 230PS, while diesel variants feature a 2.0 TDI with an output of 184PS. Paddle-shift DSG transmissions are available across the vRS range, while the diesel variant can be specified with ŠKODA’s advanced all-wheel system.
Building the brand’s sporting credentials
Although the vRS badge is celebrating its 15th year in the UK, ŠKODA’s sporting and performance car heritage dates back to the days before founders Vaclav Laurin and Vaclav Klement even started work on their first car.
Neither were convinced of the benefits of building sporting versions of their bicycles and motorbikes, and were even less thrilled by the idea of competition, a series of famous racing victories led to full order books and global recognition. The achievements of their products set L&K, and what would become ŠKODA, onto a course that would deliver some of the most engaging and successful road and competition cars of their era.
The brand’s first road-going performance car – the 1937 Popular Sport Monte Carlo – set a template for affordable but exquisitely engineered fun. Advanced prototypes such as the 1974 180RS and 200RS kept the spirit of performance and provided ŠKODA with countless race wins and championship titles in both circuit racing and rallying.
Today, ŠKODA’s love of performance is stronger than ever. In addition to the growing range of vRS models, the brand continues as a force to be reckoned with in motorsport. The Fabia S2000 was the most successful rally car in its class – taking more than 65 European and international rally wins – while the current Fabia R5 is proving equally dominant in world rallying’s WRC2 category.
1. 20% of all Octavias sold in the UK are vRS badged.
2. Almost 50,000 SKODA vRS models have been sold in the UK since the range was launched in 2001; 39% of which were Fabia models.
3. An Octavia vRS model set an international land speed record in 2011 – Bonneville; 227.080mph.
4. The v ahead of vRS is actually the acute accent used on the name ŠKODA.
5. A Fabia vRS model set seven UK speed records for its class in 2010 – Millbrook; time taken to cover 5km, 5 miles, 10km, 10 miles, 50km, 50 miles and 100km.