The legendary initials RS mean nothing more than "Rally Sport" in connection with ŠKODA cars. The Mladá Boleslav-based carmaker shows how deep motorsport is rooted in its DNA. In addition to successful competition and circuit cars, these two letters are also proudly worn by a number of civilian cars that are very popular among customers.
The history of ŠKODA's sporting activities dates back to 1901, when the first machines from Mladá Boleslav took part in the Paris-Berlin race in the motorcycle and motor tricycle class. The first success on four wheels was scored by the Laurin & Klement FC just seven years later. ŠKODA gained further valuable experience with the POPULAR Sport and OCTAVIA Touring Sport race cars. The end of the 1960s even saw the appearance of the first ŠKODA F3 formula car in the European class, followed by several interesting prototypes for circuit and hillclimb racing.
However, the year 1974 represented a real turning point, when ŠKODA introduced a new generation of racing specials, the 180 RS and 200 RS. It is this innovative pairing that is considered to be the originator of the RS dynasty. The 200 RS's rear-mounted two-litre four-cylinder engine with OHC timing and 163 hp powered the rear wheels. Thanks to its lightweight, wide-spaced bodywork, the special could reach speeds of up to 250 km/h, which was admirable in its day.
Just one year later, the racing department introduced the iconic ŠKODA 130 RS. The multi-purpose competition car drew on the experience gained during the development of the 180 RS and 200 RS. The so-called "Porsche of the East" achieved a great result at the 1977 Rallye Monte Carlo, where the 130 RS took the first two places in the under 1300 cc class. It collected valuable laurels in the domestic competitions Rallye ŠKODA , Rallye Šumava and Barum Rallye. But the 130 RS's glory is far from over. During its six-year racing career, the 130 RS became one of the most successful cars not only in rallying but also in circuit racing. In 1981, the 130 RS outclassed all competition and won the European Touring Car Championship in brand ranking.
The RS designation only reappeared 19 long years later on the first generation of the modern OCTAVIA. It became the first RS road model and ushered in a new era of sports models from Mladá Boleslav. With a turbocharged 180 hp four-cylinder engine, a sporty chassis, aerodynamic bumpers and an improved interior with anatomical seats or a three-spoke steering wheel, it immediately attracted attention. As soon as it went on sale, it literally became a bestseller on the domestic market. This was soon followed by the more practical Combi version or the 100-unit limited edition WRC, celebrating 100 years of ŠKODA Motorsport and the success of the OCTAVIA WRC in world competitions. One of the greatest was the third place in the Kenyan Safari Rallye with a factory driver Armin Schwarz.
The success of the first OCTAVIA RS was followed by three more generations, with the current fourth available as a Liftback or Combi. Customers have a choice of pure petrol, diesel or hybrid powertrains, manual and dual-clutch DSG transmissions or all-wheel drive or front-wheel drive with electronically controlled VAQ clamp differential. This makes the OCTAVIA RS the perfect all-rounder for dynamic everyday travel. From its domestic success, it has also progressed abroad and has gained great popularity, especially in the UK and Germany. The OCTAVIA RS's more than 20-year tradition has been doubled by the more compact and agile FABIA RS; in the first generation, with a fuel-efficient TDI diesel engine, and in the second with a petrol engine and an atypical combination of turbocharger and supercharger.
Another milestone was broken by the RS designation with the KODIAQ. The family-oriented up to seven-seater SUV was introduced with a twin-turbocharged two-litre diesel engine and later a petrol variant arrived, combined with all-wheel drive and a DSG dual-clutch gearbox. The KODIAQ RS thus became the pinnacle of the model range, only to be "trumped" this year by the pure electric ENYAQ COUPE RS iV with its twin electric motors and a system output of 300 hp and 460 Nm of torque. The most powerful and spacious RS ever will go from 0 to 100 km/h in just 6.5 seconds and travel up to 545 km on a single charge. What's more, it's fun to drive thanks to its all-wheel drive and responsive electric motors.
The current trio of models with the RS logo will see two more additions this year. The first will be the ŠKODA FABIA RS Rally2 rally special in just a few days, and the second will be revealed during the autumn. Let them surprise you.