A high-performance vRS version of the Skoda Kodiaq has achieved a seven-seat SUV lap record at the fearsome Nürburgring Nordschleife test track in Germany – and you"ll be able to order a production version of the car later this year.
Scheduled to make its official debut at the 2018 Paris Motor Show in October, this quicker Kodiaq is the largest vehicle ever to receive Skoda’s respected vRS badge. The only vRS models in the brand"s current line-up are the Skoda Octavia vRS hatchback and estate, and Skoda"s plan to expand its sporty sub-brand means that other models, including the Kodiaq"s smaller Karoq sister, are likely to be given the same go-faster treatment,
• Read our full review of the Skoda Kodiaq SUV
Despite appearing at the Nürburgring in a camouflage colour scheme, it"s still easy to see the vRS-specific design changes made to the car Kodiaq. They include a high-gloss black grille, tinted headlight lenses and black roof rails, door mirrors and window surrounds. The front and rear bumpers have also been sharpened up. Expect unique alloy wheels, too, although probably not the natty orange items seen in the video.
Power comes from a 2.0-litre, twin-turbocharged BiTDi diesel engine, which won"t be offered on any Kodiaq aside from the vRS. It cranks out 236bhp, sent to all four wheels through a DSG automatic gearbox. Power is managed by a dynamic chassis control (DCC) system, with selectable driving modes.
Precise details of the car"s chassis have yet to be announced, but expect modified suspension to allow the Kodiaq vRS to attack corners more aggressively than its more sedate sisters. One thing"s for sure, the Kodiaq vRS will remain as versatile as the car it"s based on – Skoda has emphasised that the Nürburgring record broken is for "seven-seat SUVs", so the 503bhp, five-seat Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio retains its title as the fastest SUV around the circuit.
Skoda’s chosen driver for the attempt was Sabine Schmitz, the charismatic German racing driver and Top Gear presenter who’s the only woman to have won the Nürburgring 24 Hours endurance race. She also took the man responsible for much of the Kodiaq vRS’ development, František Drábek, along for the extreme lap, placing “his finely chiseled child in her hands, on her home turf”. And the record breaking time? Nine minutes, 29.84 seconds.
The top-spec diesel Skoda Kodiaq Sportline costs £36,565 with seven seats, so it’s unlikely the Kodiaq vRS will fall far below the £40,000 mark. If it is just below, potential buyers will need to think carefully before choosing options and potentially tipping over the threshold for the £310 road-tax surcharge during years two to six of ownership.
Set to be formally unveiled to the press and public at the 2018 Paris Motor Show in October, the Skoda Kodiaq vRS should reach UK showrooms at the start of the new year.