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Skoda fires up the Fabia

Skoda is set to make an entrance into the world of affordable hot hatches with a vRS version of its popular Fabia supermini.

The news comes on the heels of the launch of a new entry level Fabia priced at £6995, available from February, and powered by the 1.2-litre (54bhp) six-valve engine, also found in the Seat Ibiza.

Insiders at the Czech carmaker say a Fabia vRS will be on forecourts in autumn, but stress prices are still being researched. A 'hot' Fabia will give retailers the chance to cash in on current demand for accessible pocket rockets and grow the Skoda franchise.

Although the project is yet to be signed off, the Fabia vRS is expected to get the 1.8-litre (180bhp) turbo charged engine from the Octavia vRS, making it the most powerful production Fabia.

With hip-hugging seats, louder exhaust, big alloy wheels, uprated suspension, body modifications, sharper throttle response and bigger brakes, the Fabia vRS will open new doors for the manufacturer.

But it's not clear if it will spawn a full family of sporting vRS Skodas.

If the plans are given the green light, the Volkswagen-owned Czech carmaker could beat sister Seat to the performance end of the small car market. While the Spanish firm is not ruling out producing a Cupra version of its Ibiza, nothing has been finalised yet.

Volkswagen has already promised to use the same 1.8-litre engine in a new range of potent GTIs starting with the Polo.

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