What are you driving?
A rather eye-catching version of the much-loved Skoda Superb D-segment 'saloon'. Before we get to what's under the bonnet, you should know that this is our first taste of the new Sportline specification, which can be had with the 2.0-litre TDI and TSI engines for a modest premium over the Style versions, yet still considerably cheaper to buy than the luxurious L&K models. On the outside, Sportline cars feature 18-inch 'Zenith' alloy wheels, black detailing (door mirrors, window frames and side door strips), a black boot lip spoiler, matching diffuser-like rear bumper and restyled exhaust outlets, plus Sportline badging. The interior is upgraded too, with fab sports seats upholstered in a mix of black leather and Alcantara, alloy pedals, tinted glass, ambient lighting and a black roof lining.
Buyers can have all that from €37,495 on a Superb powered by the perfectly acceptable 2.0-litre TDI diesel engine with 150hp. But Skoda Ireland reckoned it'd get more attention for the introduction of the Sportline press demonstrator if it paired it with the most expensive powertrain it currently offers and then sprayed it in retina-searing 'Dragan Skin Yellow' metallic paint. So, under the bonnet here is a 2.0-litre TSI turbocharged petrol engine, producing 280hp and 350Nm of torque. It's bolted to a six-speed DSG transmission and power is fed to all four wheels. This is a Skoda Superb, but not as we know it.
Name its best bits
The Sportline add-ons serve to underscore just how handsome the base Skoda Superb is. Few cars in the segment could carry off that daring paint colour, but the Superb does. In fairness, we're fans of the big Skoda's lines even when it isn't painted in quite such a dramatic fashion. Naturally, none of this affects the Superb's class-leading space. It's huge inside, with generous lounging room in the back and a boot that is larger than those of most estate cars.
In terms of the drivetrain, it undoubtedly gives the Superb a performance shot in the arm and the four-wheel-drive system means that extra go can be deployed with ease all year around.
Anything that bugs you?
It loathes me to say it, but this isn't the best Skoda Superb you can buy. The engine specification leads you to believe that it'll be sporty to drive; and while it is very rapid, there have been no suspension changes, so it's no more agile or tied-down than any other version of the Superb. Once you realise that, and you weren't hoping for a track-ready Superb (seriously?), it does a fine job of covering long distances quickly, even if the low profile tyres transmit a lot of road noise through to the cabin on rougher surfaces.
Speaking of noise, we do think that Skoda has missed a trick here. Why not fit it with a sound symposer? The four-cylinder TSI engine isn't the most aurally stimulating in the world and it could really do with enhancement. Such a sound system could also negate the aforementioned road noise...
And why have you given it this rating?
Despite its flaws, there's no arguing with the positive attributes of this Sportline Superb. It looks gorgeous; the interior is huge, well-made and beautifully appointed; it's fast and surefooted thanks to the four-wheel-drive system; and, well, it's not a diesel. However, putting my sensible hat back on, a quick scan of the Skoda Superb price list reveals that you could have a 190hp version of the 2.0-litre TDI diesel engine (with 400Nm of torque), the DSG gearbox, 4x4 and Sportline specification for about €2,000 less than this car. It would be nearly as fast in the real world and far cheaper to run. Saving you money to go for this paintwork...
I want to know more
We have test drives of plenty of versions of the Skoda Superb (see below) so no point going back over old ground in this one. If there is anything specific you'd like to know about the Superb TSI 280 4x4 that we've not covered, feel free to send us a question via the Ask Us Anything page.