Skoda Superb 2.0 TFSI 4x4 2015 review
The Skoda Superb 4x4 is a full-blooded V6 petrol flagship that makes a great performance car
This hot, four-wheel-drive Superb could be the ultimate Q car. Seriously quick in a straight line, and with bags of grip, it’s a model that’s hard not to like but tricky to recommend. It’s a lot of money for a Skoda, and the Superb’s chassis simply does the extra power no justice – which is why we’d stick with a cheaper, cleaner, lower-powered model and spend the savings on options.
If the SEAT Leon Cupra doesn’t meet your practicality needs, then how about the same powertrain plumbed into the all-new Skoda Superb? We’ve driven some more sensible diesel and petrol versions of the Superb in recent weeks, but this 4x4 range-topper is for those who want something a little faster.
The old flagship model was powered by a thirsty 256bhp 3.6-litre V6, sending power to all four wheels. This time around it keeps the four-wheel-drive transmission but gets a 276bhp 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo instead. The improvement in economy and emissions, from 30.4mpg and 215g/km to 39.8mpg and 165g/km, is impressive, as is the fact that 0-62mph takes a mere 5.8 seconds – 0.6 seconds quicker than before.
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You don’t get the same sweet V6 note, but the muted growl from the exhaust when you press the throttle is exciting enough. Besides, this car does without vRS badges; it’s designed to look and feel like any other Superb in the range, keeping its performance credentials hidden. Available only with a six-speed DSG gearbox, the engine delivers a hefty punch, even in a car that’s nearly five metres long and weighs 1.6 tonnes. The transmission is perfectly complementary, too, letting you up your involvement by using the wheel-mounted paddles, or slot it into auto, sit back and enjoy the ride.
And here’s our issue with this car; the chassis set-up has been designed with comfort, not fast cornering, in mind. Three-stage adaptive dampers (standard on our top-spec L&K test model) have a dramatic effect on its behaviour, but the handling is a bit too soft in Comfort and Normal modes, and while body control is much better in Sport, the ride becomes a bit too brittle for scarred UK roads.
It means the Superb’s light steering and quiet cabin on the move come into their own when you’re taking things more gently – at which point the cleaner and far cheaper 1.6 TDI or 1.4 TSI would do much the same job.
Looking beyond the powertrain, it’s the Superb’s interior that’s the real star. The quality isn’t up to VW Passat standards, but it’s not far off, while the rear legroom is on a par with that of the Mercedes S-Class. Plus the huge boot, now accessed via a single-piece hatch, will swallow an incredible 1,760 litres of luggage.