For better or worse, the 245 adopts the same quad-light design that was rolled out to the rest of the Octavia range.
Possibly the kindest thing you could say about it is that it’s more distinctive than its predecessor’s look and is probably kindest to look at when plastered to the somewhat meaner arrangement of grille and bumper that distinguishes the vRS models.
In the 245’s case, it is obliged further still by a standard black pack that includes the mirrors, exhaust tailpipes and the front grille. It is this modest collection of coloured ancillaries – along with 19in Xtreme gloss alloy wheels – that marks the range-topper out from its stablemates.
Underneath, the alterations are more significant. The EA888 2.0-litre engine’s upgraded 242bhp output is new to the Octavia although already made familiar by its earlier introduction to the Golf.
The 14bhp advantage over its vRS sibling is replayed in the GTI line-up as well, as is the slightly higher engine speeds at which it’s produced (5000-6700rpm compared with 4700-6200rpm for the 230). The 245 also develops 15lb ft of additional peak twist, albeit over a slightly shorter rev range (1600-4300rpm versus 1500-4600rpm).
The engine drives the front wheels exclusively – four-wheel drive remaining the prerogative of the Golf R and a single variant of the Seat Leon Cupra – and is supplied by default with a manual six-speed gearbox, although the latest seven-speed DSG dual-clutch automatic is a cost option (and exclusive to the 245 because the lowlier vRS has to make do with the older six-speed unit).
In between the wheels and the transmission is the 245’s other defining characteristic: the splendidly named ‘Vorderachsquersperre’ differential – or, less memorably, the VAQ system.
The electronically controlled arrangement, centred on a multi-plate clutch, is more a chopped-up Haldex system than a traditional limited-slip diff, but it serves the same purpose and can deploy 100 percent of available torque to one wheel, if necessary. This, too, migrates from the Performance edition of the Golf GTI.
Otherwise, mechanically speaking, the 245 has the same lowered passive suspension as the basic vRS (front MacPherson struts and a rear multi-link) albeit with a stability-enhancing 30mm of extra track width at the back.