Most international automotive brands in the market have a performance oriented sub-brand associated with them. Examples include ‘M’ for BMW, ‘AMG’ for Mercedes, ‘Nismo’ for Nissan.
Whereas the parent brand focuses on customers, the performance sub-brand focuses on enthusiasts among those customers.
The performance brand is responsible to convert the humdrum grape juice to exotic wine that will light up the party.
Skoda’s performance brand is called vRS or Victor Rally Sport – a tribute to their momentous rally lineage. The vRS marquee is not new to India as one would imagine. It was originally introduced on the Octavia vRS in 2004 – the fastest accelerating car in India at that point of time.
Much to our liking, the vRS moniker is placed on a car that is already a strong contender in its segment. Skoda was toying around with the idea of launching the Laura vRS since a very long time. The car was seen at the Auto Expo in Delhi with an Octavia badge.
The Octavia badge, as we know, as been pushed in to such dark oblivion that no one knows whether it is alive or done and dusted. So Skoda India decided to launch the Laura vRS in September, 2011 with price of 15.49 lakhs (ex showroom Delhi), approximately 2 lakh more than the top Laura petrol variant.
The plain Laura looks a bit outdated when compared to its rivals like Cruze and the even now aged Civic. However, a touch of exotic color like the ‘Racy Blue’ (seen here), a front lip spoiler, a rear spoiler and oh boy does the Laura vRS look ready to party.
Skoda India hasn’t bothered with a body kit on the Laura vRS. Two ways to look at it:
First – What? A sporty car with the same profile as the normal one? Not fair!
Second - Ah! Thank you. This means I don’t have to bother when tackling a speed breaker or ridiculously deep potholes.
Personally, I am of the second opinion. Unlike the sister VW Jetta, the Skoda vRS has 164 mm of ground clearance so good roads or otherwise, feel free to put your foot down.
The honeycomb grill adds further aggression to the front profile. The swept back head lamps with integrated xenons projectors and the broad grill amplifies the aggression. And the icing on the cake are the LED DRLs over the fog lamps.
Coming to the side profile, you will notice the new 16 inch Draconis wheels (sorry, no 17 inch here). These Draconis wheels kinda remind you of the Navarra wheels of the Jetta but they are slightly toned down. A key difference between Laura vRS and normal variants of the Laura is fatter tyres - 205/55 Goodyear eagles to be precise.
Coming to the rear profile, the big garish spoiler and the vRS badging are the key eye catchers. The split pipe exhaust on one side is present on the existing variants of Laura as well.
The Laura vRS also gets a sun-roof as standard in case your companion wants to feel the wind in her hair.
This sums up my first impressions of the Laura vRS for now. Do come back to read the interior review and driving impressions.