In the United States, the 2020 Volkswagen Jetta GLI exists for people who want VW GTI performance in a sedan bodystyle. But the Jetta is a North American car not offered in Europe, so what's a European sedan fan to do? They should look into the new Skoda Octavia RS iV.
The Skoda Octavia for many years actually shared the same platform as the Jetta, at least until the Jetta got a new North America-exclusive design. It wasn't quite a conventional sedan since it actually had a low hatchback, and still does. Though on a different platform nowadays, the Octavia presents an option to the Golf, since it's still a VW product and shares many of the engines. The Octavia RS iV, the latest in a long line of performance Octavias, shares the plug-in hybrid powertrain with the all-new VW GTE. That also makes it the first plug-in hybrid Skoda RS model. It combines a turbocharged 1.4-liter four-cylinder with an 85-kW motor to make the same 241 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque. Power goes to the front wheels through a six-speed dual-clutch automatic.
Skoda says it will get to 62 mph in 7.3 seconds. It has a top speed of 140 mph. But when sporty performance isn't the goal, the battery has a 13-kWh capacity that allows it to go 37 miles on a charge using the WLTP testing cycle.
Styling-wise, the Octavia RS gets subtle upgrades. Any and all chrome trim is painted black, the grilles are enlarged, a small rear lip spoiler is added, and it gets custom wheels. Inside, sportier seats are added with flashy upholstery and a smattering of RS logos. And if the sedan design doesn't suit your lifestyle, there is an Octavia RS iV wagon model.
The Octavia RS should go on sale later this year. Naturally, you won't be seeing it offered in the U.S., since Skoda has no presence, plus the body and powertrain would need to undergo certification.