If we were to ask you to list some likely record holders for Germany’s fearsome Nürburgring Nordschleife circuit, we doubt any of you would mention a diesel-powered SUV. However, the Skoda Kodiaq vRS is the fastest seven-seat SUV ever to be timed around this circuit, zipping around in a respectable 9min 29.8sec.
Although we suspect a tidily driven Audi SQ7 would decimate this figure, outright performance isn't really what the Kodiaq vRS is about, despite its ’Ring bragging rights. No, this remains a sensible SUV that just so happens to be rather brisk.
How fast? Try 0-62mph in 7.0sec, courtesy of a twin-turbocharged 2.0-litre diesel engine with a potent 237bhp. If that sounds familiar, it’s already available is selected Volkswagen models such as the Tiguan and Tiguan Allspace.
Backing up the muscle is standard four-wheel drive and a stronger seven-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox. You also get adaptive dampers and variable-ratio steering thrown in for free to help tighten up the handling, and there are big, 20in wheels and more aggressive body styling to let everyone know you’ve chosen a vRS.
But while we already know just how classy and practical the Kodiaq is inside, the big question is whether the athletic makeover has broadened its appeal or compromised an already very good package. Keep reading for our full verdict and don’t forget, if you want to buy this or any other new car, check out our New Car Buying pages for huge savings.