- First official picture released
- Styling and specification enhancements announced

Škoda Auto has released the first official pictures of the revised Škoda Octavia hatchback and estate, as well as revealing technical, specification and styling enhancements.

At first glance the most striking external change is the incorporation of the chrome "family" grille and clear optic headlights, both already familiar from the Fabia, and new front and rear bumpers and front spoiler. Improvements in comfort, safety and ambience have been made to the interior, the most notable being increased legroom for rear seat passengers, and a three-point centre rear seatbelt and headrest. The hatchback also gains a rear wash/wipe.

Škoda Auto was not just content with revising the Octavia's looks, but has also increased the engine line up by developing a new performance model, the Octavia RS hatchback. Powered by the 1.8 Turbo charged petrol engine, the RS produces 180 bhp with a top speed of 143 mph. The lowered suspension, stainless steel exhaust, 16" alloy wheels, front and rear spoilers and racing-style seats make this the most exciting road-going car ever produced by Škoda.

Technical development of the Octavia has also continued. All petrol models now comply with the tough EU4 emissions standard, which comes into force in 2005, and all diesel engines comply with EU3. The introduction of an automatic fuel supply cut off considerably reduces the chances of fire in the event of a crash. A host of other systems which improve driving safety such as EBS (electronic brake force distribution), ASR (anti-spin regulations) and ESP (electronic stability programme), are also available.

Aesthetically, the Octavia has been improved by a new palette of exterior colours and matching interior upholstery shades and fabrics. Finally, to mark the Octavia's contemporary new look, specification designations have been changed to Classic, Ambiente and Elegance.

The Octavia first took Europe by storm when it was launched in 1996, making an immediate impact by being shortlisted for 1997 European Car of the Year. It was not until June 1998 that the UK could savour the delights of the Octavia, the manifestation of Škoda's development as a global automotive manufacturer. The revised Octavia makes its public debut at the Paris Motor Show (30 September-15 October 2000), with the UK premier at the British International Motor Show in Birmingham (18 - 29 October), when UK pricing and specification will be announced.