Fleet News

Skoda Octavia 300bhp WRC

Skoda

Review

Now a couple of months ago these last two ambitions would have been similarly unachievable – rides in a World Rally Car don't come about all that often and my chances with Kylie are about as likely as Elvis opening a health food shop in Peterborough.

But thanks to Skoda I have achieved the first of these ambitions. Last week the company took me to Prague, drove me to a forest on the outskirts of the city, strapped me in their Octavia WRC next to works driver Kenneth Eriksson and let us loose on a six kilometre stage which winded its way through trees which were just inches from the road.

I'd love to tell you more about the ride, but it's all a bit of a blur. I remember the savage acceleration as we shot off from the start, I remember the Tommy Gun noise as the Octavia's anti-lag kit burnt up the unused fuel, I remember as we slewed sideways into the first corner and I remember glancing across to Kenneth as we headed down a straightish piece of road at 120mph. But the rest of my journey is a blur of violence.

Watch any in-car footage from a World Rally and it looks impressive but you just can't appreciate how brutal a World Rally Car is. The brakes are astonishing, the acceleration mind-blowing, the ride pile-inducing, the smells almost toxic and the speeds unimaginable. It gives you fresh respect not only for the drivers but also the co-drivers, who have to put up with this ride from hell for three solid days on each rally.

And although the Octavia WRC may slightly resemble a road-going car, underneath it's a different story – this is a car designed to be driven to the maximum in all conditions.

As Skoda's brand image continues to improve, the sight of an Octavia pounding through the World Rally Championship is a great moving billboard for the company.

Make: Skoda
Model: Octavia WRC
Engine (cc): 1,999
Max power (bhp/rpm): 300/5,500
Max torque (lb-ft/rpm): 442/3,250
Max speed (mph): depending on gearing 0-62mph (sec): c.3.0
Fuel consumption (mpg): N/A
CO2 emissions (g/km): N/A
Transmission: 6-sp sequential manual
On sale: Never
Price: Several hundred thousand pounds

CO2 emissions and fuel consumption data correct at time of writing. The latest figures are available in the Fleet News fuel cost calculator and the company car tax calculator.

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