After introducing an RS-badged SUV a couple of years ago with the Kodiaq RS, it’s time for another first in Skoda’s “Rally Sport” lineup. The Octavia RS iV becomes the company’s first performance model to feature a plug-in hybrid powertrain as automakers are facing stricter regulations and need to lower emissions to avoid paying hefty fines.

As previously mentioned, the electrified Octavia combines a turbocharged 1.4-litre petrol engine with an electric motor to offer a total output of 242 bhp and 400 Newton-metres (295 pound-feet) of torque. It perfectly matches the hybrid punch offered by the mechanically related VW Golf GTE and the Cupra Leon PHEV, with a future Audi A3 Sportback variant likely to get the same setup.

Gallery: Skoda Octavia RS iV (2020)

The electrified punch enables a 0 to 62 mph (100 km/h) sprint in 7.3 seconds and a top speed of 140 mph (225 km/h) – numbers that don’t make the RS iV the fastest Octavia ever. The previous-generation RS 245 completed the sprint in 6.6 seconds and maxed out at 155 mph (250 km/h), but rest assured the new model will also be offered with a 2.0 TSI engine akin to the Golf GTI and Cupra Leon, along with a 2.0 TDI to mirror the Golf GTD. The conventionally powered variants are scheduled to arrive later this year.

Skoda says the Octavia RS iV will have enough battery juice for 37 miles (60 kilometres) of WLTP-certified electric range, which should be enough for your daily commute. A full recharge from a household socket will take six hours, but you’ll be able to reduce the time to three and a half hours by using a Wallbox.

As it’s the case with the Golf GTE and the electrified Cupra Leon, the new Octavia RS iV comes exclusively with front-wheel drive and a six-speed, dual-clutch automatic transmission. It uses the same 13-kWh lithium-ion battery pack, but the familiar hardware is wrapped up in a significantly larger package. That’s especially true when talking about the estate version, but the liftback is also a large car when compared to other segment rivals.

The styling upgrades over a regular Octavia include the typical horizontal fog lights (of the LED variety), 18-inch wheels (19-inch set available), and a more aggressive look for both bumpers. The liftback gets a subtle rear spoiler while the estate has a chunky roof-mounted spoiler to denote it’s not a run-of-the-mill Octavia. Dual exhaust tips further accentuate the car’s sporty character, although spy shots have revealed the right one is just for show as it isn’t connected to the actual exhaust system. Being the plug-in hybrid version, the front-left wing incorporates a cap to conceal the charging port.

Skoda made some subtle changes inside where there’s some faux carbon fibre trim on the dashboard along with a sporty steering wheel wrapped in perforated leather and adorned by the RS logo. Body-hugging seats with integrated headrests make the Octavia RS iV feel more exciting on the inside and separate it furthermore from the mainstream trim levels.

Customer deliveries of the new Skoda Octavia RS iV are scheduled to commence later this year, with the 2.0 TSI and 2.0 TDI models to follow shortly.