The Superb has been the choice of many who prefer being driven around and it has always been a great car at doing that. Combining space, comfort and luxury, the Superb offers an experience that could easily shame more expensive cars with a premium badge. Now, you wouldn’t be particularly looking for your chauffeur driven car to be sporty, but nevertheless, Skoda has gone ahead and done just that. Of course, there is still the Laurin & Klement trim that continues to offer the rich and premium experience that many would expect; but it’s this updated Sportline trim that adds a whole new level of flamboyance to this segment.
And what a way to do that! No really, it’s such a head-turner especially in this Race Blue color which perfectly highlights that contrasting black treatment on the boot-lid spoiler, logos and wing mirrors. This is seamlessly complemented by the anthracite wheels and the re-designed lights which have further whetted the looks of the Superb, giving it a striking and tantalizing poise. The interiors did look a little too dark especially in the gloomy weather that we tested the Superb in; however you’ll immediately notice the Sportline additions in here – black Alcantara upholstery, semi-bucket seats with integrated headrests, carbon décor and the beautifully crafted flat-bottom steering finished in leather. The Sportline also makes use of digital dials via a virtual cockpit and I really like how the welcome animation reads out ‘Skoda Sportline’, clearly differentiating this from the more expensive L&K trim.
The sheer length of the Superb has always been its highlights – the lengthy wheelbase not only opens up acres of space of the inside, it also enables the Superb to be pushed around bends rather quickly. The wide footprint directly translates to tidy lines around turns that often draw a veil over how humongous and heavy this thing is. Okay, it’s not a go-kart, but it’s definitely capable of an energetic cruise once shown a good pair of roads. Need a nap? Step into the rear and you’ll be welcomed into a cabin that sits nice and low, offering the space of a lounge.
You can really stretch yourself in the Superb and be completely cocooned in peace and comfort. It’s not very often that you have one six-footer sit behind another with so much room; it’s definitely limo-size in here. While the fit and finish is impeccable in every corner, the cabin does a splendid job of distancing you from the noise and chaos of the outer world. It’s not all merry in here though – the cabin should strictly be classified for four passengers only (courtesy the ginormous transmission tunnel) and there isn’t a USB port for the rear passengers.
Skoda could also have offered the Boss Button on the Sportline trim but I guess you’ll have to make use of the memory function to set the front seat all the way forward. Most importantly, I somehow couldn’t find a sufficiently convenient place to keep my phone – the cup holders wouldn’t hold it sturdy and there isn’t any dedicated tray or slot to chuck it in. Nevertheless, all that is made up for by the customisable ambient lighting and seating comfort, I’ll be honest even my couch at home isn’t as comfortable as this. Then there is the notchback design – it’s a sight to look at when the boot lid is all the way up. Not just the way it opens, but also the massive cargo space it reveals underneath. There aren’t many trunks that could comfortably swallow a human being in, but I reckon this one could be snugger than the middle rear seat. Only when it’s parked though. Yep, safety first.
The engine is an integral reason for the Superb to proudly wear the Sportline badge. With VW Group’s latest 2.0-litre turbocharged direct-injection TSI motor under the hood, the mill is now bigger and more powerful, delivering ten more ponies than the one it replaces. The engine is ultra-refined and it only makes its presence felt in the cabin past the 4,000rpm mark. You get two driving modes on offer – and while your chauffeur can leave it on Eco mode, I preferred the Sport mode which holds the revs for longer as the Superb darts forward with speed. It’s not ‘blows your mind away’ fast, but there’s enough grunt to thrust this car forward with some good pace.
If you’re really in the mood though, flick the stick to the left to engage the manual mode and this allows you to operate the ever-so-amazing seven-speed DSG gearbox via paddle shifters. It’s only when you push it this hard that the Superb tends to lose its composure, revealing how huge and heavy this is. However, the heavily damped suspension still has things on the sporty side of the spectrum and you’d love to drive this car on some really long stretch of roads tirelessly. I wish I could tell you just how good this is on an inter-state journey across India, but unfortunately, the lockdown limited our experience with the Superb.
That’s its biggest drawback from where I see it – you see this is a car which could get you in a disagreement with your chauffer every morning over the driver’s seat. Of course, you’ll be calling the shots but eventually you’ll realise you’ve been paying salaries to your chauffeur while he gets to be driven around or probably stay indoors. It’s a car that celebrates the occasion of driving and that’s what the Superb Sportline brings to the table – a vibrant new avatar that’s unique to cars of this segment, at least in India. It’s still the fantastic uber-luxurious ‘flagship killer’ it used to be, but now appeals to a wider set of audience. That could only mean a good thing, right?
Engine: 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbocharged petrol with direct injection
Transmission: Seven-speed dual-clutch automatic with paddle shifters
Fuel tank: 66 litres
Boot space: 625 litres
Tyres: 215/55 R17
Prices: Rs 29.99 lakh onwards (ex-showroom)