2023 Skoda Enyaq IV Coupe vRS | UK Review
It would probably be fair to say that the Skoda vRS flagships are more about slow-burn appeal than initial excitement. They’re fast cars to appreciate over time, as you live with them day to day, and learn to appreciate what they do well. A vRS isn’t typically a car to wow on a short drive, be that as a customer or a journalist. It needs miles under the wheels and two-dozen trips to the dump – as any owner of an Octavia vRS will attest.
Anyway, we didn’t have that long with the new Enyaq flagship, which may have worked to the detriment of nothing less than the fastest Skoda ever. But then this is the brave new world of the electric vRS, and arguably nothing should do shock and awe quite like a performance EV. Certainly, there’s going to be no blending into the background with this vRS. Even without the optional Phoenix Orange paint and 21-inch wheels (just over £1,000 for the pair, or Hyper Green is free for the brave), the sheer size of the Enyaq ensures an impact.
The proportions are actually quite nice – the tapered rear-end distancing the newcomer from the standard Enyaq – but it’s just on such a vast scale. It’s like viewing a coupe SUV at 125 per cent zoom all the time. Great for interior space and a big battery pack, less so for creating something tasteful or potentially exciting. (You can tell the model is huge because its huge wheels look decidedly modest.) Again, though, Skoda can claim this is all in sync with a ‘practical performance’ image, and it’s fair to say the vRS won’t be mistaken for any other Enyaq in the range, with colours and wheels unique to this trim level.
As a reminder, the vRS uses a dual-motor, all-wheel drive setup with an 82kWh (77kWh usable) battery for 299hp and 339lb ft; the next most powerful Enyaq is the 265hp, 313lb ft 80X Sportline, which we drove back in 2021. There’s a caveat to those outputs, though: buried in the brochure small print (on page 13). That the vRS only offers its maximum power for 30 seconds is to be expected, though it’s worth noting you’ll only get it with the battery between 23 and 50 degrees as well as with a charge greater than 88 per cent. But you’re told not to charge beyond 80 per cent to preserve the life of the cells. Which does rather build a case against the vRS before you’ve even got behind the wheel.
Presumably, this is similar for cars with the same powertrain, but it does rather explain why the vRS isn’t as rapid as might be expected (unless you’ve taken the time to read page 13) – with the initial EV zip tailing off faster than expected. Without any augmented sound, either, the performance seems decent enough for something so large – but as with the GTX VWs it’s a shame that flagship EVs couldn’t feel more like top-of-the-range specials with the way they went and the way they sounded. Particularly when they cost more than £50,000. Instead, the vRS just seems like a very modest step up from the 80X Sportline.
It almost seems unfair to bring up the Kia EV6 GT in this discussion, given it offers nearly twice the power. But when you consider that its starting price is only £7k higher than the vRS’s, it does highlight the appeal of a properly differentiated approach. And we’re not just talking about comic-book outputs either: flagship-specific features like the Drift Mode might seem silly on paper, but they help justify the premium – as does electronically controlled suspension, an eLSD and a top speed 45mph beyond any other variant.
That doesn’t mean that a bit more power and cool paint aren’t welcome, just that they are underwhelming in light of the billing. Even allowing for the long-term buttoned-down reputation of the badge, Skoda has done too little here to advance the vRS’s case over the thoroughly competent 80X. Because in all other facets the headline version drives in a directly comparable way.
Which is to say, fine. Like all the MEB-derived cars, it’s a tremendously simple car to operate and decently accurate for something so vast. It cruises comfortably in a general sense, although it doesn’t take too many low-speed thwacks for you to question the whole point of the lowered suspension – especially when there’s no obvious encouragement to drive the Enyaq more enthusiastically anyway. Not when you’ve got one eye on the range, at any rate. From a WLTP score of 321 miles expect 200-and-something in the real world, which is par for the course these days, but still an obvious limiting factor. Peak charging of 150kW doesn’t feel too clever either, not when cars on the Hyundai-Kia E-GMP architecture are able to accept 350kW.
Ultimately, it feels like we’ve been here before. As with the GTX models, the completeness of the base product and the subtlety of the overhaul makes the vRS a tough sell – particularly among enthusiasts, who generally (and correctly) expect something tangible for their pound of flesh. Instead, Skoda has built a spacious, refined and well-finished rival to the Mustang Mach-E, Tesla Model Y and Kia EV6 – but not a compelling or especially clever one. The most recommendable Enyaqs remain the cheaper ones, which seems vaguely appropriate for Skoda – and unfortunate for the future of vRS.
SPECIFICATION | 2023 SKODA ENYAQ IV COUPE VRS
Engine: Two permanent magnet synchronous motors, 77kWh (usable) battery
Transmission: Single-speed automatic, all-wheel drive
Power (hp): 299
Torque (lb ft): 339
Top speed: 111mph
MPG: 321 miles WLTP range, 3.7 miles/kWh claimed
Weight: 2,279kg (running order)
Price: £54,370 (price as standard; price as tested £55,380, comprised of Phoenix Orange paint for £390 and 21-inch Vision wheels for £620)
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