Skoda Superb Estate 280 2016 review

Family carrier turns up the heat with engine from the SEAT Leon Cupra hot hatchback

Overall Auto Express Rating

4.0 out of 5

The Superb excels at being a quiet, comfortable and utterly refined family car. While the 276bhp engine is great fun and absurdly fast, it is largely unnecessary in a car of this type – which is where the 148bhp 2.0-litre diesel comes into its own. It provides all of the performance you’ll need and is far cheaper to buy and run. Skoda is only likely to sell a handful of these range-topping estates, but those who take the plunge won’t be disappointed.

The Skoda Superb Estate already has a lot going for it - it's hugely spacious and practical, yet this latest-generation model adds a healthy dose of style. However, what's been missing until now is a 'hot' version, with more pedestrian petrol and diesel versions making up the bulk of the lineup. Now, though, Skoda has petrolheads covered, as it's added the 276bhp engine from the SEAT Leon Cupra to endow the tourer with some pace to match the space. 

The engine is a range-topping replacement for the old 256bhp 3.6-litre V6 that was offered in the old Superb, and in the process, makes this the fastest roadgoing Skoda on sale. Bury your right foot and the Superb will sprint from 0-62mph in a seriously impressive 5.8 seconds, reaching 155mph without breaking a sweat.

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Ensuring none of that grunt goes to waste is Skoda’s four-wheel-drive system, plus a slick-shifting, six-speed DSG gearbox. That combination guarantees drama-free getaways, as the Superb bites into the tarmac and spits you down the road at an alarming rate. Especially for something nearing five metres long and 1,600kg in weight.

That’s the thing with this hot Superb Estate – everything else about it remains as familiar and unassuming as the entry-level model, but it packs an almighty punch that feels so out of character for a big, dependable and practical family ferrier.

That’s not to say it’s not great fun – it would give some hot hatches a workout – but fuel economy of 39.8mpg and CO2 emissions of 164g/km aren’t really in keeping with this Superb’s intrinsic duties.

Nevertheless, this Skoda is certainly capable of handling the muscle, as you feel the power shifting between the front and rear axles as it tries to put all 276bhp to the road. Approach a corner, and it rolls about on softly sprung suspension, but never feels truly settled. Still, the four-wheel-drive system serves up plenty of reassuring grip. Adaptive dampers are available and should help to contain excess body movement – just don’t expect them to transform it into a trackday thriller.

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Ease off, and you’ll find the Superb where it feels most comfortable. It’s a very well resolved and capable motorway cruiser, with a supple ride and comfortable cabin which is well isolated from the elements.

The 276bhp 2.0-litre turbo is only available in top-spec SE L Executive and Laurin & Klement trims, which means it doesn’t come particularly cheap. Our test car featured leather, sat-nav and climate control as standard, and costs over £32,000; go for the L&K model and that figure rises to almost £36,000 for the Estate.

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