Skoda Enyaq iV Coupe vRS review

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Skoda's priciest model, the sleek Enyaq iV Coupe vRS, has its own brand of value. Jonathan Crouch drives it.

Ten Second Review

The Enyaq iV Coupe is the Skoda marque's smartest and most sophisticated car yet and this, the 299PS vRS AWD performance flagship model, offers this EV contender in its most desirable form. But a £55,000 Skoda? Really? Let's take a look.

Background

British buyers have always liked Skoda's vRS performance badge. The Czech maker even calls this 'a love affair'. Well that affection's going to be tested by this car, by far the priciest Skoda ever brought to sale, the Enyaq iV Coupe vRS. This car, also available with vRS trim in the more conventional boxier Enyaq iV body style, takes the fast EV mechanicals already used in top versions of Volkswagen Group mid-sized Crossover coupe electric vehicles like the Volkswagen ID.5 and the Audi Q4 Sportback e-tron. But delivers them here with more of a performance vibe. Does it work? Let's take a closer look.

Driving Experience

As you'd expect, this top Enyaq iV Coupe gets the largest available 77kWh battery available to Volkswagen Group mid-sized EV models of this sort - but that's no surprise because all Enyaq iV Coupe models also come fitted with it. Here though, that energy source is matched with an uprated version of the dual motor AWD powertrain that also features in slightly less powerful form in the Enyaq iV Coupe 80x. In this case though, instead of the 265PS output of that car, you get 299PS to play with and 460Nm of torque. As a result, the vRS takes only 6.3 seconds to sprint to 62mph, on the way to a limited top speed of 111mph. Driving range is 321 miles.

This SUV Coupe is superbly manoeuvrable for its size, jinking through traffic hold-ups and darting into spaces. As with other electric vehicles, this one's town travel is characterised by its need to constantly emit a strange 'e-sound', intended to warn pedestrians of its impending approach. You wonder though, why it's necessary for this feature to sound so other-worldly; other brands use film composers to create more pleasant melodies. Beyond the city limits, traction is impressive but there's a little more body roll through the turns than you'd get with the alternative Volkswagen and Audi versions of this VW Group design. The pay-off for that though, is a much better standard of ride, with suppleness over poor surfaces and speed humps that's un-bettered in this class and is far superior to most rivals.

Design and Build

This vRs variant sets itself apart with a body kit, 20-inch 'Taurus' alloy wheels and a full-length red reflector strip at the rear. As with the standard Enyaq iV Coupe, there's some real pavement presence here, thanks to the sharply raked roofline from the B-pillar backwards. In a shape that's 4mm longer and 6mm taller than its SUV sibling (also offered in vRS form). With short overhangs, big wheels, strong shoulders and a low roofline, this will look good down at the gym. Especially if you park where people can see the twinkling 'Crystal Face' grille with its built-in LEDs.

Where the ordinary Enyaq iV Coupe lets itself down a little is inside, where the cabin is pretty much identical to the ordinary Enyaq iV hatch. But not in the case of the vRS, which pushes itself up market with black perforated leather upholstery and a 'signature vRS Suite Design' theme. This combines special durable materials with soft colour accents and sporty elements. The upholstery features a combination of leather/microfibre fabric with lime stitching.

As in an ordinary Enyaq iV Coupe, the fascia's dominated by a central 13-inch infotainment touchscreen, which can also be worked by both voice and gesture control. There's also a further 5.3-inch instrument binnacle display. A further interior highlight is the wonderfully-named optional 'Jumbo Box', which adds 6.2 litres of storage underneath the centre console. In the rear, the swept-back roof doesn't compromise headroom too much - a couple of adults will still be comfortable. And boot space falls by only 15-litres over the ordinary Enyaq iV body shape - to 570-litres.

Market and Model

So, the priciest Skoda yet made. How much would you expect to pay. Just under £55,000 is the answer - around £1,700 more than vRS trim will set you back with the conventional Enyaq iV body shape. The vRS trim level gets you 'Crystal Face' package that adds 131 twinkling LEDs to the front grille - a standout feature. Plus you also get a black panoramic glass roof that flows seamlessly into the rear section; Skoda reckons it's the largest panoramic glass roof it has ever offered. The wheels are 20-inch 'Taurus' alloys, with bolder 21-inch 'Vision Anthracite' metallic alloy rims being optional.

The LED tail lights have a 'Coming/Leaving home' function. And as with the ordinary model, media features are taken care of by a 13-inch central infotainment screen and the 5.3-inch Digital Cockpit instrument binnacle display, which is supplemented by a head-up display with augmented reality.

As for safety, well you'd expect some sort of Forward Collision Warning autonomous braking system on a car of this kind these days; Skoda's is called 'Front Assist' and as usual with these sorts of set-ups, it scans the road ahead as you drive. If a potential collision hazard is detected, you'll be warned. If you don't respond - or aren't able to - the brakes will automatically be applied to decrease the severity of any resulting accident. It incorporates 'Swerve Support' that stops you from turning into a junction into the path of another car. Plus there's 'Dynamic Road Sign Display' (which pictures speed signs as you pass and displays them on the dash). Like every Enyaq iV, this one also gets a 'Lane Assist' lane-keeping system that warns you when you stray out of your lane and applies gentle steering assistance to ease you back into it.

Cost of Ownership

This Coupe's swept-back styling delivers a predictably better drag coefficient of 0.23Cd - and it also helps that this Coupe has a marginally lighter weight than the standard SUV version. The result is a 321 mile EV driving range for this vRS version. Battery replenishment with a fast charger from 10% to 80% takes 36 minutes. Back at home, an AC1-phase 7.2kW garage wallbox would replenish any Enyaq iV Coupe from zero to full in about thirteen hours. When you're charging at home in winter, it'll make sense to pre-heat the cabin before use via the provided 'MySkoda' app. The power will be drawn from the charging cable if it's connected and not from the battery. On the move, there's an 'Eco' mode which reduces the power of the climate control system and restricts top speed, enhancing range. It'll also help if you engage the provided 'B' drive setting for maximum brake recuperation performance.

An Enyaq iV Coupe driver will enjoy lower maintenance costs than would be needed for a combustion model - obviously no oil changes are required and regenerative braking means that the brake pads are designed to last the life of the car. There's a fixed servicing schedule, with a basic inspection after two years (unlimited mileage) and subsequent services every year or 18,750 miles. Skoda says that its aim is to make sure that the battery pack lasts as long as the car too and, sure enough, that battery pack is warrantied to have at least 70% of its usable capacity after eight years or 100,000 miles. There's the usual unremarkable three year / 60,000 mile Skoda warranty (only the third year has a mileage limitation). And there's 12 year body protection guarantee, a three year paint warranty and three years of Skoda assistance, which includes European breakdown cover.

Summary

If anyone was in any doubt that Skoda plans to move up-market, then this top Enyaq iV Coupe vRS model should prove the point. The asking price initially looks off-putting - until you go and compare it to what's required to own comparable versions of the Volkswagen ID.5 and Audi Q4 Sportback e-tron EVs that share almost identically-engineering to this Czech model under the skin.

This particular vRS doesn't quite have the sporty fizz that marked out Skoda vRS hot hatch models of yesteryear, but that's because it's a 2.2-tonne EV designed for a very different age. A very different kind of Skoda then. But one not without its own special brand of appeal.

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