Skoda’s Superb is a fabulous car – comfortable, spacious and with a bit of poke, though still relatively ordinary in the grand scheme of things.
Not so one particular model.
I recently collected a rather flashy version of the Superb, bedecked in a paint job known as ‘Dragon Yellow’, with a 4×4 badge, a black lip spoiler affixed to the boot and a set of 19-inch black and grey alloys. This is the new 2017 Superb SportLine, a sportier version of Skoda’s increasingly popular compact executive car, though a higher trim level rather than a new model. Like its ordinary brothers, the SportLine offers a very comfortable experience; the sporty suspension still rides very well over the humps and bumps, while you never feel out of control no matter what the conditions, courtesy of the 4×4 system.
But there’s a beast lurking beneath. A 2.0L TSI (a diesel version is also available) might seem relatively standard, but it produces a not insignificant 280bhp and makes the most of each and every one. Change the driving mode to Sport and the Superb positively thunders from 0-100km/h in just 5.8 seconds seconds with a speed that’s almost shocking for a family car, topping out at 250km/h.
One of the downsides of this, as well as the 4×4 capabilities and automatic gearbox, is that you’ll pay for it at the pumps. Not the most efficient car, Skoda claims that 7.2L/100km (40mpg) is possible, though I averaged 8.1L/100km (34mpg) combined over the course of a week. Stick it into Sports mode and you’ll be heading beyond 10L/100km (28mpg) or more. On a full tank I managed roughly 700km, which isn’t bad for a car of its bulk.
Long gone are the days when buying a Skoda meant sacrificing interior quality. As you might imagine, it’s a hugely spacious car with a premium interior feel, accentuated by soft mood lighting that comes alive at night. Push the front seat back to its limit and you’ll have as much space between you and the dash as you might have in the entirety of other cars. There’s plenty of headroom in the back (the optional panoramic sunroof helps), while the boot is well capable of hauling around a couple of bulging golf bags.
It’s not quite bristling with technology, but there’s enough to keep you occupied. Alongside the usual heated front seats, adaptive cruise control, a rearview camera and front and rear parking sensors, its sporty nature sees the addition of a lap timer, as well as an information panel that gives information on pressure, G force, engine and oil temperature. My particular test model didn’t come with sat nav, though you’d expect that as standard given the price tag of €50,156 (including €4,079 worth of extras). You can pair your phone rather easily by downloading the Android Auto app and using the car’s Smartlink system to mirror your phone’s display on the media centre screen, though you’ll have to dig into your data allowance to use Google Maps. Still, it’s a better nav system than you’ll find in some modern cars.
Is it worth the price? Starting at €37,495 for the 2.0TDi with 150bhp, it’s just €500 more than the more ordinary Style version with the same block, adding a few toys such as the sportier styling, ambient lighting and sports seats. The more powerful version I test drove will set you back at least €49,850 though it’s very much worth it for the power alone. Overall, the SportLine is perfect if you’re a fan of the Octavia RS but prefer a more executive upgrade, though perhaps a slightly more subtle colour choice would be best. Fabulously quick, comfortable, spacious and quite a bit more stylish, there’s plenty of bang (and oomph) for your buck.
Skoda Superb 2.0L 4×4
Max speed: 250km/h
Annual tax: €280
Price: €37,495 (€50,156 as tested)