The Skoda Imaginative and prescient RS, unveiled on the Paris motor present not too long ago, successfully previews three totally different facets of the agency’s future.
The hatchback showcases the look of the Czech firm’s forthcoming Ford Focus-rivalling Scala, which can substitute the Speedy in its line-up. It additionally options components that preview the look of future efficiency vRS fashions – regardless of there at the moment being no plans for a Scala vRS – and showcases Skoda’s new plug-in hybrid (PHEV) powertrain.
The PHEV unit within the Imaginative and prescient RS combines a 1.5-litre turbocharged petrol engine with an electrical motor to supply a complete output of 242bhp. Whereas the specs are more likely to change, the powertrain is anticipated to be just like that in Skoda’s first manufacturing PHEV mannequin, the facelifted Excellent due late subsequent 12 months.
Skoda has but to substantiate different fashions that may obtain plug-in hybrids, though ever-tightening CO2 emissions laws means it might shortly be adopted throughout a lot of its vary, notably the Scala and the following Octavia. Skoda has already instructed Autocar the following Octavia vRS might characteristic a hybrid powertrain.
Autocar had the possibility for a short drive within the Imaginative and prescient RS idea. Whereas the take a look at happened at sluggish speeds, it was an opportunity to get a style of the near-future of Skoda’s powertrains, with the agency aiming to supply 5 electrified fashions inside the subsequent two years.
How the Imaginative and prescient RS previews the Scala – and the way forward for vRS
The Imaginative and prescient RS showcases Skoda’s newest design language, and offers a touch at how the forthcoming Scala will look. Simply as considerably, it additionally comprises options that trace at the way forward for the vRS efficiency line, in response to exterior designer Dalibar Pantucek, who says: “the goal was to make a sports activities automobile in a contemporary approach.”
The idea is 4356mm lengthy – simply over 50mm longer than the Speedy – 1810mm huge and 1431mm excessive, with a wheelbase of 2650mm. It sits on 225/35 20-inch Michelin tyres.
Whereas a number of the design particulars of the Imaginative and prescient RS – such because the crystal badge and illuminating bars on the entrance grille – are unlikely to ever make manufacturing, quite a lot of components give a touch of the longer term design of vRS fashions, in response to Pantucek.
The automobile has a carbonfibre grille with outstanding 3D-style ‘ribs’ and an intricate ‘v’ sample that Pantucek says might develop into a “signature” for the vRS household. The intensive use of carbonfibre design components, together with the entrance and rear diffuser in addition to the grille, was made to cut back weight, reasonably than for model. “Every thing on this automobile is there for a cause,” says Pantucek.
A key factor of the automobile was on maximising effectivity with all of the components, together with air intakes on the entrance bodywork and wheel covers designed to cut back drag and rear spoiler, examined in a wind tunnel. Pantucek says that the wheel covers have a big impact on lowering drag, and Skoda is providing them as choices on forthcoming fashions – notably as a result of bettering aerodynamic effectivity reduces emissions and boosts gasoline financial system.
Whereas the facet of the automobile is closely sculpted, the Imaginative and prescient RS options customary wing mirrors reasonably than cameras, though these are styled to function miniature wings, just like these on the Skoda Fabia R5 rally automobile.
Inside, the idea incorporates a new dashboard design that includes carbon components with a “signature line” that incorporates a central dip the place a free-floating touchscreen is positioned. That display screen sits in entrance of a small shelf, which can be utilized as a relaxation whereas working the display screen.
In addition to the Imaginative and prescient RS’s hybrid powertrain, Skoda additionally says it has demonstrated ‘environmental consciousness’ through the use of Vegan supplies, together with polyester thread for the Alcantara-covered seats, in its manufacturing.
The hybrid tech of the Imaginative and prescient RS idea
The PHEV unit within the Imaginative and prescient RS incorporates a 148bhp, 1.5-litre turbo petrol engine and a 101bhp electrical motor, which mix to present 242bhp of whole output. On the idea, the system drives all 4 wheels by means of a DSG gearbox. Skoda cites a Zero-62mph time of seven.1secs, and 50-75mph in eight.9secs.
The electrical motor is fed by a 13kWh battery, which supplies a possible zero-emission vary of 43 miles on the NEDC cycle – and Skoda says it would lead to CO2 emissions of lower than 50g/km on the stricter WLTP take a look at.
The battery might be charged to capability in 2.5 hours at a charging station or crammed at residence by way of a slower home connection. The system can be designed to regenerate power as it’s used.
Driving the Skoda Imaginative and prescient RS idea
Whereas primarily based on the identical VW Group MQB A0 platform because the manufacturing Scala shall be, the Imaginative and prescient RS is a one-off idea automobile created for a motor present, and Skoda stays understandably protecting of it. Subsequently, our quick take a look at happened in a managed surroundings – and solely the electrical motor of the hybrid powertrain was referred to as into motion.
As such, whereas we will report that the steering was exact, the experience easy and the inside each spacious and comfy, the drive supplied little significant preview of the Scala’s dealing with dynamics.
What it did showcase was the quiet, easy, electric-only energy of the brand new hybrid powertrain. Acceleration was brisk, and the facility supply was easy and responsive, with the moment torque you’d count on from an electrical unit. It definitely felt easy and refined, in contrast to many present ideas which are designed to be checked out reasonably than really pushed.
Whereas the flexibility to supply easy, comparatively slow-speed zero-emission operating is just one space the place a PHEV powertrain shall be required to carry out, the rise of no-emission zones in city areas means it’s one which an ever-greater emphasis shall be positioned on. And our transient style suggests Skoda’s plug-in hybrid unit shall be well-placed for such utilization.
Skoda says there are at the moment no plans to supply a vRS or PHEV model of the Scala – not to mention a Scala vRS PHEV – however the Imaginative and prescient RS idea suggests it’s an thought worthy of consideration. It additionally exhibits that Skoda’s future is wanting robust in quite a lot of areas. The hybrid powertrain is easy and refined, as you’d count on given the entry to VW Group know-how, and the idea’s assured styling definitely bodes properly for Skoda’s new household hatch – and for future vRS fashions.
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