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Geneva show: Saucy Fabias scorch Swiss show

Faster Fabia: Skoda's go-fast maestros have breathed extra life into the Czech brand's diminutive Fabia.

Facelifted Fabia hits Geneva in hot vRS hatch and wagon guises

2 Mar 2010

VOLKSWAGEN’S Czech brand Skoda has given its European light-car contender a midlife makeover as well as a performance boost in the form of the vRS.

The surprise at Skoda’s Geneva motor show stand was the inclusion of a go-faster version of the Fabia wagon (Estate in Skoda speak), giving the range a unique proposition in the European supermini segment.

Australia is still on the maybe list for this generation Fabia, but it might still arrive in RS-only outfit (Skoda Oz-speak for vRS) within the next few months as a light-car flagship to take on the in-house Volkswagen Polo GTI and Suzuki Swift Sport as well as the Alfa Romeo MiTo and Mini Cooper.

The wagon bodystyle isn’t the only new item to be found in the Fabia vRS, as a quick look at the engine’s outputs reveals.

Driving the front wheels is the most powerful iteration of the Volkswagen Group’s 1.4-litre Twincharge four-cylinder petrol engine featuring a supercharger and turbocharger yet seen, delivering around 135kW of power. Currently the most powerful version in the Golf and Jetta 118TSI produces 118kW (although the 2007 Golf V’s GT did pump out 125kW).

Also unexpectedly, the vRS wagon is almost 2km/h faster than the hatch vRS at just under 227km/h in Euro-spec form, although both speed to 100km/h from standstill in 7.3 seconds. Fuel consumption is rated at 6.4 litres per 100km.

29 center image The previous-generation old-shape Fabia vRS – sold in Europe from 2003 to 2007 – proved unusual in that it was not available with a petrol alternative to the 96kW/230Nm 1.9-litre four-cylinder Pumpe Duse TDI unit.

“The Fabia vRS offers high power and maximum fuel efficiency as well as excellent environmental parameters,” Skoda says.

Differentiating the vRS from more mundane versions of the just-facelifted Fabia are restyled front bumpers with integrated fog lights, unique 17-inch alloys, red brake callipers, tinted windows, a new rear bumper with a diffuser, dual exhaust outlets and roof spoiler.

Skoda is also extending VW’s XDS electronic differential into the faster Fabia for improved cornering. Also on the features list are a tyre pressure monitor and an uphill start-assist function.

Inside, there are vRS-specific sports seats, three-spoke leather-trimmed steering wheel with paddle shifts on models with the seven-speed DSG dual-clutch gearbox (in lieu of the standard six-speed manual), a special dashboard trim finish and stainless steel pedals.

Skoda Australia spokesman Karl Gehling says that the Fabia is under consideration – including the vRS variants.

“It is a very appealing small car which would fit nicely into our model range,” he said.

“However, we are still investigating its viability in Australia.”

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