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Skoda Superb SE L Executive 2.0 TSI 280PS 4x4 DSG

Click to view picture galleryIt’s not true, that clichéd saying
  about any publicity being good
  publicity. Some of the most powerful
  people in the world go to great
  lengths to avoid publicity,
prefering
  to drive a car than can blend into
  the crowd...”


BUT DISCREET DOESN'T have to mean dreary take one of Skoda's quickest Q-cars, the 280PS Superb 4x4 DSG, a car that blends the desired degree of discretion with the ability to outpace any pursuing paparazzi, and which has subtlety in spades.

Crucially, it's also got the power necessary to evade the prying press as well as all-wheel drive so there'll be no slip-ups with fast getaways. It also comes with a smooth-shifting, twin-clutch automatic transmission so its publicity-shy driver can get the power down with no show and just go.

When one has no
option but to blow-off
uninvited hangers-on,
flooring the accelerator
will see it leap off
the line and slingshot
past the 62mph marker
in just 5.8 seconds.
Most pursuers will have
given up long before
the Superb reaches its
155mph top speed...”
Beneath its sharply-creased bonnet lurks a high-performance turbocharged 2.0-litre engine that kicks out 276bhp solidly backed up by a wide band of torque (258lb ft between 1,700 and 5,600rpm) that's laid down through a permanent four-wheel drive system via a quick-shifting dual clutch autobox.

The Superb is defined by what it is not; so no attention-seeking brazen exhausts, no showy alloys, no pumped-up wheelarches, and absolutely no bling. In truth, the only real hint as to what lies beneath are the trapezoid-shaped tailpipes, one at each back corner. But despite having the ability to blend in, the Superb's metal 'suit' is actually as well cut as something tailored in Savile Row.

And on those tiresome occasions when one has no option but to blow-off uninvited hangers-on, well then, the driver can let simply slip the leash — make no mistake, this Superb is downright quick; flooring the accelerator will see it leap off the line and slingshot past the 62mph marker in a catch-me-if-you-can 5.8 seconds. Most pursuers won't and will have given up long before the Superb reaches its 155mph top speed.

Left to its own devices the autobox keeps things smooth, the 276bhp engine quiet and perfectly content to pootle around in a totally sedate manner, especially if the driving mode is slotted into its Normal setting, taking the frustration out of progressing though even the most syrupy stop-start traffic.

But asked to perform, the Superb's not at all shy about voicing its war-cry — as the rev-happy four-pot goes to work and the needle spins round the rev-counter, you'll be sure to hear its hardcore growl.

Worked enthusiastically, the strong bottom-end 'grunt' is good-to-go from around a low 1,500rpm — and it doesn't slack off at it bulls into the midrange. Neither do higher revs curb its press-on eagerness to romp to the redline.

Even when you know it can hit the benchmark 62mph in under six seconds, it's still something of a surprise every time you stamp your right foot and physically feel just how quickly the Superb lunges forward. The real buzz is not just the sheer ease with which it stampedes away, but that it does so in all weathers and on all roads — and all without any boy-racer-ish tyre-scrabbling, fish-tailing or fluffed gearchanges.

Just a resolute push in the back with the nose going exactly where you point it. In fact it's quite likely that publicity-shy owners won't wait for the excuse of seeing the paparazzi in the frameless autodimming rearview mirror before putting the pedal to the metal.

The real buzz is not just
the sheer ease with
which it stampedes
away, but that it does so
in all weathers and on all
roads — and all without
any boy-racer-ish tyre-
scrabbling, fishtailing or
fluffed gearchanges.
Just a resolute push in
the back with the nose
going exactly where you
point it...”
For maximum driving pleasure tap the Drive Mode switch and select Sport; doing so instantaneously speeds up the DSG's shift action, sharpens accelerator sensitivity, and weights-up the power steering — alternatively you can pick-and-mix dynamic characteristics from the Individual menu to create a fully personalised setting.

The fourth pre-configured setting is Eco but even that doesn't seriously dampen the driving pleasure. So whatever the road or traffic conditions, there's always a perfect match available.

More good news — this large go-faster hatchback does the twisty stuff as competently as it runs arrow true on the straight bits.

The best part is coming out — four-wheel grip and a decently direct helm ensures clean, predictable breakouts from tight bends. In a nutshell, it's fully at ease with its point-and-squirt power, and can be 'hustled' with the best of 'em. Being dynamically well-balanced hasn't hurt the ride one jot and when you've got it in its family-friendly mode this sporting hatch is a comfortable all-roads car and a superior, mile-eating motorway cruiser.

On today's cluttered roads, big effortlessly fast family cars such as the Superb make perfect dual-use machines — which is an integral part of their appeal. The Superb's cabin is extremely welcoming with fit and finish that wouldn't disgrace a Mercedes. And masses of space. Large, pleated and heated, leather chairs offer a well-judged mix of comfortable and sporty; holding you for press-on Sport-mode driving and keeping you relaxed you the rest of the time.

The cabin truly is spacious, both front and rear. Those sitting in the front chairs enjoy plenty of headroom with more and to spare for their shoulders and legs; the driver gets a well-angled left-foot rest and the footwells are big enough for those wearing outdoor boots. Even the headrests are nicely padded plus there's loads of room for elbows both on the central, height-adjustable armrest as well as the long outer ones on the doors. And should your front passenger need to stretch — really stretch — there's all the room they'll need without cramping the person seated behind them.

For the driver the good news continues with a great-to-grip, satin black leather-rimmed multifunction sports steering wheel and a power-adjustable seat with memory function and lumbar adjustment. Both front seats, incidentally, have three-stage heating.

Even if you don't like to be spotted, that doesn't mean you want to be off the grid. Importantly, the Superb makes it easy to stay connected whilst on the move with SmartLink with integrated WiFi via tethering and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto providing an interface between the infotainment system and your smartphone.

In spy movies someone
usually has to be
smuggled in or out of
somewhere in a car boot
— for that the Superb
would be their first
choice because at 625
litres it
s huge.
No dirty hands opening
it either as the bootlid
is powered — just use
the key fob or dash
panel button...”
Also standard is Bluetooth, a SIM and two SD card slots, a DVD drive, and USB and Aux ports. Wireless phone charging is a useful option and lets you turn your Superb into a mobile WiFi hotspot as well as connect multiple devices to the Internet.

For more everyday stuff you get idiot-proof menus along with a driver info display between the crystal clear dials that keeps you informed about fuel range, navigation (supplementary graphic prompts), and road speed (a sharp white-on-black digital readout). The parking brake is electric with an auto hold function to make it even easier in traffic.

Paddle-shifters on the wheel's horizontal spokes make driver intervention a doddle if you like to pick and choose your gear-change points. Another big 'plus' is voice control for operating the navigation, media, and phone.

Organised people will appreciate the numerous storage solutions — lon, lined door bins (that each hold a 1.5-litre bottle), a big chilled box below the centre front armrest, decent-size glovebox (also cooled), handy drop-down 'coin' box in the fascia to the right of the steering wheel, overhead glasses storage compartment, and an out-of-sight storage locker built into the base of the front passenger seat.

Apart from the equipment already mentioned, there's also Drive Mode Selection, leather upholstery, dual-zone climate control, Sunset glass, electrically-adjustable heated and folding door mirrors with memory function, one-shot power windows, autodimming rearview mirror, DAB digital radio, rear parking sensors, rain-sensing wipers, Adaptive Cruise Control, power-operated boot and even a pair of brollies (each housed in their own dedicated compartments built into each front door), an ice scraper behind the fuel filler flap (not only essential in the winter months but eco-friendly too), and a set of smart 18-inch multi-blade alloys.

Driver 'assist' systems include a driver fatigue sensor (you may not think you need one but it could one day safe your life); Front Assist which, as you might guess, monitors the distance to the vehicle ahead and automatically slows down the car or warns if there's a potential collision risk and brakes for you if you don't respond in time; Multi-Collision Braking (if either front airbag is triggered due to an impact, the system automatically brakes for you to prevent any further uncontrolled movement to minimise secondary impacts).

There are also seven airbags (including one for the driver's knee), height-adjustable front seatbelts, cornering front fog lights, Bi-Xenon headlights with Adaptive Frontlight system and LED daytime running lights, headlight washers, and tyre pressure monitoring.

Other worthwhile items such as Blind Spot Detection, Rear Traffic Alert, Park Assist (an on-board 'parking jockey' for parallel or perpendicular hands-free parking), a rear-view parking camera, Lane Assist and Smart Light Assist are all optional.

In family role
the limo-like rear cabin
comes into its own
with impressive
amounts of legroom —
stretching out fully can
be taken for granted
plus there’s plenty of
space for size elevens
and the drop-down
padded centre armrest
makes it all very
cosseting for two six-
footers to travel
in the back...”
In family role the Superb's limo-proportioned rear cabin comes into its own with impressive amounts of legroom — stretching out fully can be taken for granted plus there's plenty of room for size elevens.

There's decent space, too, around knees, elbows, and shoulders, and leaning back there's air between the crown of your head and the roof. Long side windows, as well as a large gap between the front seats, ensure views out are good, and a drop-down padded centre armrest makes it all very sociable for two six-footers travelling together.

In spy movies someone usually has to be smuggled in or out of somewhere in a car boot — for that the Superb would be their first choice because at 625 litres it's huge. No dirty hands opening it either as the bootlid is powered — just use the key fob or dash panel button.

Access is made even better by the high- lifting bootlid (you can adjust the opening height to suit). Naturally the boot comes with all the necessary nets (one horizontal and two vertical), easily repositionable bag hooks, and tie-down eyelets to keep your luggage in place. Oh, and for good measure there's even some big, lidded side bins.

But the biggest surprise — remember this Superb is a five-door hatchback not an estate car — is not just the massive boot but the loadbay: once the 60:40-split back seats are folded down it's a monstrous 1,760 litres.

More appreciated touches include a removable LED flashlight that's holstered in the boot (it recharges automatically whenever the engine is running) and rear seatbelts that stay out of the way during folding operations, along with fast powered opening and closing. Finally, if you need to ringfence all the Superb's inner space for people, you can still carry 100kg on the roof and tow a braked 2,200kg behind you.

Stealthily sporting, the five-door Superb in 276bhp 4x4 guise has a captivating charisma that's a magnet to those with family responsibilities who haven't forgotten the thrill of the chase. Added to that, its practicality, space, and all-weather get-up-and-go alongside hassle-free everyday usability makes it a decidedly 'good karma' car. ~ MotorBar
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Skoda Superb SE L Executive 2.0 TSI 280PS 4x4 DSG | £32,170
Maximum speed: 155mph | 0-62mph: 5.8 seconds | Test Average: 35.3mpg
Power: 276bhp | Torque: 258lb ft | CO2: 160g/km

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