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Steering, suspension and comfort

Given the relative modesty of the changes made to the chassis, surprisingly little of the 245’s extra performance must be used for a difference to be felt.

Undeniably, in our test car’s case, this has much to do with the fitment of the optional adaptive dampers – an £850 tick not indulged on the regular vRS wagon we group tested recently.

Adaptive dampers control squat well, and without disturbing the body too much, through compressions

Their inclusion, alongside the range-topper’s lower-profile tyres, has a transformative effect.

Even in Comfort mode – one of four familiar drive settings – the car feels not only lower to the ground but also in possession of a much more rigorous attitude to body control, seeming squat and purposeful where the standard chassis gambolled innocuously.

Even better, despite feeling as though it has shed 20 percent of its spring travel, the ride comfort is significantly enhanced, the 245 evincing much the same sophisticated, firmly pliant and quiet response that makes the Golf R such a real-world wunderkind.

Much like that car, in fact, the suspension’s softest mode is so convincing that it makes the Normal setting seem a little busy for UK roads – a familiar consequence of the dampers suddenly being asked to take their rebound duties more seriously.

Not unpredictably, this halfway house quickly becomes redundant, and you spend 95 percent of your time in Comfort, perfectly content to savour the 245’s capacity for fast, obliging progress.

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Encouragingly, though, there is added value in indulging the Sport mode occasionally. True enough, the dampers become even more fierce – but only by so much as to reach your heightened expectations for extra tenacity when cornering.

This the car does admirably well, with an additional boon found in the sharper steering map, where the insubstantial default mode is replaced by something denser and thickly satisfying.Scalpel sharp or rudder sensitive this car is plainly not, but its heavy-set accuracy is the ideal playmate for the stocky and relentlessly stubborn front end that ultimately sets the 245’s handling apart from that of the regular vRS.

While the incorporation of the electro-mechanical diff into the 245’s front axle is obviously about negating the standard vRS’s tendency to understeer at the limit, it is the superior body control being meted out by the DCC system’s Sport mode that initially takes centre stage on the hill route.

The quicker model feels not just moderately capable and amenable to pushing on but also earnestly inclined towards a more aggressive driving style.

Typically, it is this augmented sense of composure that has you hustling the 245 through corners quicker, rather than faith in a multi-plate clutch, which handles the torque in a deftly impalpable way.

Through multiple hairpins, the 245 is certainly faster, tidier, grippier and more tactile than any Octavia to date. It is no more adjustable at the rear, but there’s a tacky, belligerent satisfaction to be had from driving this particular vRS very hard.