The new Skoda Superb takes indeed luxury sedan motoring to new levels in its class. It has it all: the style, the space, the performance, the impeccable finish and quality, the economy and many state-of-the-art electronic driving aids and infotainment features.
This big Skoda can justifiably be called a benchmark car, and it is indeed astonishing how much cleverness, excellent engineering and attention to detail has been put in this big(ger) sedan.
We drove it with the excellent 6 speed DSG box coupled to the latest version of the 150 HP 2 litre Diesel engine. It proved indeed to be a superlative experience...
Hans Knol ten Bensel
Space and Grace...
Car connoisseurs know all too well that these adjectives were originally used to describe the features of Jaguar saloons, and, as an owner myself of a Mk2 Jaguar, the marque enthusiasts may forgive me.
But they are also quite fitting to describe this new Superb. Stepping into the car, one indeed is engulfed in a vast, airy cabin, where one slides comfortably into the leather seats and takes the leather covered steering wheel into its hands.
Your eyes are attracted to the beautiful classic, big round clocks, sitting right in front of you. The dashboard has glossy piano black panels, the finish is impeccable. Of course, that is where the comparison ends with the cars adorned with the leaping feline. No wooden inlays to be seen, but this is a matter of taste anyway.
One can only appreciate the very classic layout of the knobs and levers for all its driving and infotainment functions, also found in the VW saloons. Skoda has wisely retained it, and the result is that you instantly feel at home, and the Superb can be fully enjoyed by its driver and passengers, right from the start.
Connecting your I Phone is a breeze, radio stations are found easily, and music streams into your ears in concert hall Digital Audio Broadcast or DAB quality.
Here already a word of praise is due for the truly excellent acoustic qualities of the roomy cabin and the ideal positioning and calibration of the speakers, culminating in a truly superb listening experience.
As connections with Bluetooth devices and USB ports are plentiful, easy listening to your favourite tracks is well and truly child's play...
Our test car was equipped with the so-called Pack Ambition GPS, which provides for DAB radio reception, phonebox and bluetooth links.
The Superb has indeed gracious and elegant looks, from any angle. We are quite fond of the angular styling of the Superb, its harmonious and well balanced proportions result in a timeless elegance, and give the car a decidedly upmarket aura.
Turn the key and the four cylinder 150 HP Diesel comes alive with just a very soft throb. No vibrations whatsoever. No typical "cold Diesel" clatter anymore. Put the lever in "D" and the smooth power flow sets in. The 6 speed DSG box is honed to perfection and delivers super smooth progress.
The engine and drivetrain are ideally mounted in the chassis and no vibrations whatsoever reach you in the cabin, even when cruising at very low revs with the engine under power.
Relentless further development aimed at increasing refinement and driveability certainly shows... Even with the engine cold it does not shudder or run uneven when performing numerous small parking manoeuvres, flicking the box in short intervals from drive into reverse. Engine and drivetrain remain smooth and stable, literally "right from the start."
One feels the mechanical perfection from the very first metres behind the wheel of this Superb, and this smoothness continues when picking up speed. There is ample power, with the engine developing a healthy 340 Nm of torque between 1750 and 3000 rpm. Figures tell the story: accelerating in fifth gear, from 60 to 100 kmh costs merely 10,3 seconds. In the same gear, acceleration from 80 to 120 kmh takes 10,6 seconds. You guessed it, also in the higher speed regions the Superb will continue to show impressive pulling power. Thanks to the excellent aerodynamics, the top speed is a fast 218 kmh. The drag coefficient of the stylish body is merely 0,276...
Maximum power is 110 kW or 150 HP between 3500 and 4000 rpm.
We took the Superb for a short stint on the German “Autobahnen”, where it could show its magnificent high speed capabilities. Indeed, the Superb is a formidable Gran Turismo saloon. Wind and any mechanical noise is virtually absent, and the Adaptive Cruise Control works smoothly and progressively, being very well up to its task and contributing to a very relaxed driving style, ideal for long distance high speed travel.
Of course, this Superb is efficient and frugal. When one drives with some anticipation and makes frequent use of the ACC, figures well below 5 litres are easily achieved. The manufacturer quotes 4,5 litres as average consumption, a very realistic figure. CO2 emissions are a mere 118 g/km.
State of the art chassis
The VW concern, using its Modular Engineering and Development approach when it comes to chassis design for the car model range(s) across the whole group, truly reaches for the sky here. One notices this every inch of the way in this Superb.
Low and high speed comfort are simply top level, with the suspension swallowing the potholes masterfully on uneven city pavé and worn out roads, whilst staying rock steady with very little body roll in fast curves. Of course, as we said, high speed stability is excellent.
The electro mechanic power steering is precise and sensitive, and the surefootedness of the chassis results in much driving pleasure when driving the Superb with verve over winding roads.
Where the Superb really sets benchmarks is when it comes to space. The rear legroom is massive, as is the size of the luggage compartment, very accessible through a literally enormous fifth door, with is in our tested Ambition version was of course electrically operated. The boot space is ideally boxy, and measures not less than 625 litres with backrests of both rear seats up. When you fold them down, a cavernous 1760 litres is at your disposal.
Our test car came with the Ambition Comfort Pack, which provided for electronic seat adjustment, individually heated front seats, tinted rear window(s), and last but not least heated front window and window spray nozzles.
Parking distance control fore and aft was also provided.
We also appreciated very much on the Autobahn night driving the Bi-Xenon headlamps with Adaptative Front Light system, which made fast driving in the dark quite effortless and far less tiring.
This spacious four door sedan sets standards for many competitors in its class. It is smooth, mechanically very refined, has excellent styling and finish, and is last but not least fast and frugal. On top of that it offers class leading roominess, has excellent comfort and delivers quite some driving pleasure.
All this makes the Superb a delight to use day after day, and we are certain that you will be (also) very impressed one you sit behind the wheel of this superb car. After driving it, you will be even more convinced, as we were too!
Hans Knol ten Bensel