Skoda’s famous RS family started in the 1970s, with the 170 RS being the first model to wear the Rally Sport moniker. Here in the UK, we have vRS, or Victory Rally Sport, due to right infringements with other brands.
As European EV deadlines loom, it was inevitable that at some point we were going to receive our first, fully electric vRS model from the Czech manufacturer. I was fortunate enough to be invited to the International press launch in Italy to experience it.
It’s called Enyaq Coupe iV vRS and it seems a bit of a mouthful. The SUV variant of the Enyaq EV his already on the market, but now we’ve got the SUV Coupe version. Skoda’s first SUV coupe too, with a sloping rear roofline. It appears that they have taken a leaf out of another manufacturers design book, planting a huge front grille on the front of the new Enyaq Coupe. Instead of tall though, Skoda have opted for a wide grille, which actually suits the front of the car well.
Gallery: Skoda Enyak Coupe iV vRS first drive review
Obviously, with it being electric, there is no practical use for the front grille, as there’s no engine behind it to keep cool. Skoda have instead opted for a crystal effect grille, which lights up alongside the matrix headlights. When matched with the aggressive lines in the bonnet, contrasting black accents and optional 21 inch wheels, the new member to the vRS family looks rather menacing. Especially when finished in the Mamba Green paintwork. If you’re going to buy a vRS model, you may as well opt for a lairy paint colour to match, right?
The Mamba Green colour is exclusive to the vRS model, but is a different shade of green to the other Mamba Green colours from the VW Group. The green is continued inside, where the suede vRS sport seats and perforated leather steering wheel are contrasted with green stitching, alongside a green vRS badge in each headrest.
The infotainment system revolves around a central, 13 inch touchscreen. This is the largest to be fitted to any Skoda model. There are a few buttons to control the driving modes and climate control, but everything else goes through this touch screen. The driver gets a much smaller 5.3 inch digital cockpit that shows the speed and driving assistance systems.
With the introduction of the new Enyaq Coupe, Skoda have added their ME3 software update, which also comes free to all customers who already have an Enyaq model delivered or on order. This increases charging speeds to 135 kW and improves the function of searching for charging points, allowing the user to filter by types of charger, and even by charger manufacturer, handy if you’re used to using the same brand for charging.
Also included in this new software update is the new Park Assist and Trained Park Assist features. Not only will the Enyaq Coupe park for you, but it will also remember your parking space if you park there regularly. For example, if you use the same space every day at work or at home, the Enyaq can be programmed to remember this, and park itself in the same space when you arrive each day. Furthermore, it’s Park Assist feature will also scan the environment to find a suitable parking space before reversing into it.
A review of an EV vehicle wouldn’t be complete without an overview of the battery capacity and range. The Enyaq Coupe will be available as both a Sportline and vRS models, ranging from a 58 kWh battery to a 82 kWh in the vRS. Remaining with the top model, the vRS gets 295 bhp, with 460 Nm of torque produced from motors placed on both the front and rear axle. As you can imagine, the SUV puts this torque down instantly, and accelerates to 62 mph from a standstill in 6.5 seconds. Not too bad for a 2.7 tonne machine! Top speed is 111 mph.
Skoda claim the Enyaq Coupe has a range of more than 335 miles in the WLTP cycle. Charging with a 135 kW charger takes 36 minutes to get from 10% to 80%, but using a home charger would take considerably more. Crucially, a charge to enable you to drive 60 miles takes just 6 minutes.
The designers have done a wonderful job of making the Enyaq Coupe feel deceptive. Sitting behind the wheel is easy to forget that you’re driving a nearly 2 metre wide SUV. The panoramic roof that comes as standard on all models ensures that there is no claustrophobia from the rear passengers, and the glass even been designed to deflect the heat from the sun in the Summer.
The SUV has all the hallmarks of your standard combustion engined vehicle. An ‘engine’ start button and even flappy paddles, which control the level of regenerative braking as opposed to the gear changes. An idea that I really liked, combining the look and feel of a car with a combustion engine, whilst also giving it a few quirks from an EV.
A switch in the central console controls drive and reverse, which of course includes the braking mode that regenerates energy when not accelerating. The Enyaq Coupe’s head up display includes augmented reality, which shows a number of arrows in front of the driver’s eyes when approaching a turning. An interesting idea, which made it easier for navigating around the Tuscany countryside.
I must admit that it was ironic that during first visit to Italy, which is known as God’s race track, I was driving a car without an engine. The feeling I received when driving the EV was actually a very different one that took me by surprise. Instead of loud engine noise, jerky gear changes and tyre squeal, I was pleasantly gliding through the countryside. Although there was still some tyre squeal to be had!
The Enyaq Coupe has several driving modes, Eco, Comfort, Normal, Sport, Traction for wet weather, and Individual. Eco activates the regenerative braking mode to conserve as much charge as possible, whilst Sport mode stiffens up the suspension and increases the throttle response.
On the subject of suspension, I found the ride of the Enyaq Coupe very stiff. Any sharp turns or aggressive moves would remind you that you were driving a nearly 3 tonne SUV, and with the 21 inch wheels it understeered quite easily. Trying to drive the EV like you would drive another vRS model was very difficult, and something that encumbers any ‘sporty’ EV model. The batteries effect the weight and centre of gravity of the vehicle, providing a very different driving experience, something which will need to adapt to.
I was pleased to learn that Skoda didn’t inject any sound emulators when in Sport mode, like with other manufacturers of EVs. This just isn’t needed and I don’t’ understand why manufacturers do this. If you’re buying an EV, why would you want the sound of an engine put through the speakers on the inside of the car?
I found the vRS seats comfortable, and the rear window positioned perfectly as to not to reduce any rear vision or increase blind spots as you’d expect with an SUV Coupe. When in reverse, there’s also the reversing camera that’s shown on the infotainment screen to assist with parking. That’s if you’re not using the parking assist function!
One little niggle I had was the dashboard design. The central console was wide enough that I couldn’t get my right knee underneath it when accelerating. A few seat adjustments solved this problem, but I found it frustrating to have to adjust my seating position just so I could avoid the awkward dashboard shape with my knees.
The best thing about the Enyaq Coupe iV vRS were it’s looks. Skoda have really outdone themselves with this, from the green and contrasting black colours, to the coupe design and 21 inch wheels that fill the wheel arches. They’ve even managed to pull off the large grille in my opinion. The interior was spacious, emphasised even more by that panoramic roof, and big enough to fit adults comfortably in the back, along with their luggage in the boot. The Mamba Green colour was a bit like marmite amongst the journalists that were there to test the car, but if you’re buying a vRS sporty model, I’d want it to stand out, and that’s exactly what that colour did for me.
It’s really interesting to see how far technology in new cars has come. The Enyaq Coupe is no exception, with the augmented reality on the head up display to ensure I never missed a turn, and the assisted lane changes on motorways and dual carriageways. Tesla have long been the EV leaders when it comes to technology, but now there are cars with similar technology on the road, that are much better looking, such as this.
I thoroughly enjoyed my time with the Enyaq Coupe iV vRS and can confirm it looks as good in the flesh as it does in the pictures. I’m not entirely sure you could drive it like one of the other vRS models, due it’s size and weight, but it’s definitely a welcome member to the vRS family, and tremendous result from Skoda, with their first electric vRS model. If this what Skoda have to offer, then I’m excited about the future. They’ve even committed to 3 more EVs by 2030, sitting below the Enyaq in the range.
I believe that the Enyaq Coupe is arguably the best looking EV on the market today and one that should be considered if you’re looking at buying an electric vehicle. With the price of fuel rapidly increasing, more and more customers will be looking at the EV market as a solution (although energy prices are also soaring!). Skoda have brought this stylish SUV to the market at a good time and we will no doubt be seeing many of these on UK roads.
Skoda Enyaq Coupe iV vRS