Giving someone a noble or superlative moniker can be problematic, especially if it turns out completely inappropriate. For instance naming your offspring President or King, isn’t ideal if they end up having trouble USING a ruler or calling them Einstein when they can barely tie a shoelace, I’ve even seen a guy on TV called Moses who’d have trouble parting his hair; let alone the sea. Objects given the similar grandiose nameplate can often share the same ill-fated outcome, so that’s why I was keen to get behind the wheel of the Skoda Superb (aside from the obvious reasons of course).
I was actually given the keys to the Sportline version, in Corrida red, it’s very attention getting but in a good way. From the definition channels on the bonnet to the chiseled shoulder paths that run along its profile, the lines on the Superb are sharper than my wit. The Sportline sits around 10mm lower than its sibling, a combination of suspension and the 19” Vega anthracite alloys with skinny walled rubber. Shiny gloss black coats the front grille, door mirrors, and roof rails, while a body colour matched spoiler overhangs the rear. Discreet Sportline badges add a hint of bling to the brightwork and twin chrome pipes and a black rear diffuser completes the rear end – or does it…
You see the Superb sedan has a little trick up its sleeve that took me a bit by surprise. When I lifted the ‘boot’ I found it to be a hatch – it’s a Sedan/Hatch or a Sedatch? The gaping hole that appears is 625 Litres and seems to go deep into the car’s cabin, it’s quite a genius idea and a brilliant use of space. This leads me to some other solutions Skoda have developed. Pop open a rear compartment and there are a couple of multi-angled plastic keepers (I evidently have no idea what to call them). They have a velcro bottom that attaches to the sedatches carpet keeping goods (that would normally roam freely around the rear), fixed in place. For the unpredictability of our NZ weather, It has an ice scraper inside the fuel flap and umbrellas in special door compartments – and that’s just for summer!
The sporty interior consists of Alcantara leather bucket style seats (racy but forgiving), piano blacks and soft touch rubbers give off a crisp, uncluttered vibe and the 9” touch screen clearly displays the COLUMBUS navigation and CANTON sounds. Ambient lighting has been integrated into the doors and dashboard and a few carbon Sportline logos have been added for good measure.
For me; the seat belt housing is a little close to the console, it’s fiddly in the ‘make it click’ department (yes I could do with losing a few pounds but still) and the flat-bottomed sports steering wheel angle doesn’t come down far enough for my taste (it’s fine for normal driving but I prefer lower when it come to a more spirited drive) and a spirited drive the Superb Sportline is.
Because; under the bonnet is a 2l turbo engine that been tuned to produce 206kW of power and 350Nm of torque that joins you at 1,700rpm. These figures are expressly delivered to the 4×4 system via a 6 speed DSG auto gearbox and the result is a reported 0-100kph time of 5.8 seconds and a top speed of around 230kph – not bad huh?
I have to admit to spending most of my time behind the wheel showing the sedatch the twisting turning roads that surround the area that I live and the Superb seemed to like it. From a handling point of view the XDS differential lock system worked its jiggery-pokery on the traction and inside wheel braking allowing me to push a little and carry plenty of controllable speed in and out of corners – as I said earlier, it makes for an enthusiastic ride.
Delve into the touchscreen menu and you come across the performance monitor, these digital display gauges give you an insight to things like oil and water temperature and (more importantly/more fun) g-force. It’s hard to keep an eye on and drive but it’s still a nice feature to have.
The Sportline isn’t all about speed and performance (although that is a strong argument to get one), it handles the day to day stuff well too. Plenty of the modern safety and aids that have almost become expected, but the fact that the cruise control was adaptive was a pleasant surprise, the dynamic chassis was push button controlled (Normal, Sport, Eco or Individual) and it even parks itself with Park assist. From a spec viewpoint it’s comparable to some highly respected Euro’s and yet the Superb is very A4dable.
I started this review off with a word of warning about monikers and being majestic, splendid, awe-inspiring or Superb is quite a tall order to fulfill, But with its clever use of space, sharp design, and impressive speed and handling, I can tell you right now that the Skoda Superb Sportline is a minimum of pretty darn good. (BTW, I don’t think Sedatch will catch on!)
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