Skoda’s vRS performance offshoot has produced some compelling and innovative cars over the years. The old Fabia and Octavia made a strong case for sporty diesels, for instance. Now oil-burners are out of vogue, Skoda is teasing a different kind of fast, eco-friendly future: meet the hybrid-powered Skoda Vision RS concept, debuting at the Paris Motor Show this week.
What is the Skoda Vision RS Concept?
The company says it “envisages sporty Skodas of the future” – and we certainly see potential for a hot Fabia or Rapid here. Big wheels and angular styling mark this concept out even before you clock the ‘RS’ badging and aero details. Up close, a flash of red at the rear, sporty carbon elements, a big splitter and a rear wing make it look purposeful. Jagged LED lights aren’t dissimilar from much of Skoda’s – very handsome – current range.
Inside, it’s typically very sporty and up-to-date. Bucket seats all-round are a fun feature, and the large screen and virtual dials are attractive. There’s Alcantara everywhere, plus quilted leather and ‘Skoda’ splayed out across the steering wheel, giving a very premium look. Vegan materials and recycled carbon fibre fortify the eco appeal.
Innovation under the skin
The Vision RS is also quite familiar in terms of styling, though. It’s certainly not the most extreme-looking machine in hothatchdom. So where’s the innovation? Under the skin, of course. It joins the 500hp Peugeot 308 concept from a couple of years ago in being a hybrid hot hatch.
Admittedly, it doesn’t pack the Peugeot’s heady punch, but a comparatively measly 245hp sure sounds a lot more realistic. Providing that power is a 150hp 1.5-litre petrol engine connected to a 75kw electric motor. It produces just 33g/km of CO2 and will go 46 miles on electricity alone.
None of this sounds beyond the realms of production possibility. It’s all stuff we’ve seen on other cars, just nothing with a performance pretence. This is a car that could be in showrooms within a year, minus some of the sillier concept garnish. Rear bucket seats, we’re looking at you…
Hybrid hot hatches on the horizon?
So, should we expect a hot hybrid Skoda? You could be forgiven for wondering why hybrid hot hatches haven’t come to market sooner. Electric power is proven as a viable provider of truly epic performance – see the plethora of Tesla ‘Ludicrous Mode’ videos.
Expense is likely one reason. What’s more, current hot hatches, while being fearsome performance machines, are relatively clean and efficient. A modern Golf GTI is as clean as your average hatchback from 15 years ago. No need for cleaner electric power just yet, then.
But we reckon this Skoda is evidence that hybrid hot hatches are well on their way and, truthfully, we’re as excited as we are concerned. Electric power can mean limitless torque vectoring. On the minus side, it also means lots of weight. If the Skoda packs an extra 200kg of paunch for the privilege of hybrid power, it’ll need more than 250hp to make waves.
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