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Skoda Superb Mk4 gains in-car tech, stronger PHEV model. Image by Skoda.

Skoda Superb Mk4 gains in-car tech, stronger PHEV model
Subtly evolved looks for all-new Skoda Superb hide massive, upmarket cabin.
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2024-03-18: First drive: Skoda Superb Estate

What's all this about?

You're looking at the fourth-generation Skoda Superb. Now, you're probably taking in the bodywork and thinking not much has changed. And, y'know, visually speaking... you might be right. But two things here: one, we loved the old Mk3 Superb and it was still a damned fine-looking thing at the end of its life, so only moderately massaging the appearance of the car is OK by us; and two, most of the big changes come under the skin or in the even roomier cabin.

Even roomier?! Wasn't the Mk3 Superb massive anyway?

It most certainly was, but a bit of extra space is always most welcome. So the bodywork of the Mk4 is longer and taller than it was previously. With Skoda once again offering Hatchback and Estate versions of the new Superb, the former is 4,912mm long and 1,481mm tall, representing gains of 43- and 12mm over the equivalent old model, while the wagon is 4,902mm (+40mm) and 1,482mm (+5mm). They're both 15mm narrower in the body, at 1,849mm, while the wheelbase is unchanged at 2,841mm, but essentially you get more passenger room - between 6-11mm of additional headroom, for instance, across all rows of seats in all Superb body types - and an even more cavernous boot. Expect 645 litres of capacity in the Hatchback with all seats in use, rising to 690 litres in the Estate - they're gains of 20 and 30 litres over their respective predecessors. The Superb wagon is an absolute monster with the rear row folded away, though; then you've got 1,920 litres of boot to cram stuff into.

Amazing! But the pay-off is a body that looks hardly any different from a Mk3 Superb?

Well, kind of, but it's not without its merits. A slightly smoother, sleeker overall design subliminally tells you what can be factually proven: the Mk4 Superb is more aerodynamic than the car it replaces. With a coefficient of drag figure of just 0.23, the Hatch is ten per cent more slippery when cutting through the air, while the Estate's 0.25Cd is a 15 per cent improvement on what went before. And as fully 845,000 of the 1.6 million Superbs sold across three generations, since Skoda revived the nameplate for the modern era in 2002 (it was previously used on a car made from 1934 to 1949), have been Mk3s, then you can understand why the Czech company was reluctant to make sweeping aesthetic changes. Of the huge number of Mk3s sold, more than 57,000 of them found homes right here in the UK, making it the third-biggest market for the car outside of Germany (153,222 units) and its homeland (61,479).

OK, are there any key differences to talk about, besides size and aerodynamics?

The fourth-gen Superb has the company's new corporate 'octagonal' grille, above which the Skoda emblem sits proudly on the leading edge of the bonnet. Certain models in the line-up will enjoy the latest version of the LED Matrix headlights, which have fancy selective main-beam-dipping capabilities and which are said to offer up to 40 per cent more illumination than even the brightest lamp units on the outgoing Mk3. There will also be six new body colours, including (intriguingly) Carmine Red, which we know best as a Porsche finish (although the Skoda version might not be the same shade of red - we'll wait and see), and alloy wheels will range from 17 to 19 inches in size.

What about the cabin?

A technological tour de force, as the Superb Mk4 now features the large 13-inch central touchscreen infotainment along with a ten-inch digital instrument cluster. The tech-savvy can augment that standard set-up with a head-up display, a first for any generation of Superb, while you might notice the absence of a gearshift on the central tunnel. This is because every fourth-gen Superb will be a DSG automatic, no great hardship as the car has never been one for the keenest of drivers, even with the 280hp TSI engine it had in the old range, so the selector is now on the steering column. Lots of sustainable materials are used within the Superb's passenger compartment but it remains a plush place to be, especially the grandiose Laurent & Klemin (L&K) model that will likely serve as the flagship of the UK specifications, once they're announced. You can get cognac leather in the L&K, dontcherknow? Anyway, beyond that, there are 28 'Simply Clever' Skoda features designed to make your life in the Superb even easier, including the much-vaunted Skoda Smart Dials at the bottom of the centre stack. These corral various in-car functions, including climate, into rotary selectors which blend the digital and the analogue together quite nicely.

Have you got any details for me on motive power?

Yes, absolutely. There will be six powertrains from launch, comprised of two petrols, two diesels, one mild-hybrid (MHEV) petrol and one plug-in hybrid (PHEV) variant known, in Skoda's preferred electric-related nomenclature, as the 'iV'. The 'new' one here is actually the MHEV, which teams a 1.5-litre, four-cylinder TSI Evo powerplant with a 48-volt belt-driven starter-generator and associated lithium-ion battery for some clever fuel-saving trickery. With 150hp, this represents entry-level for the Skoda Superb Mk4 powertrain line-up.

Skoda refers to the new Superb as its 'ICE flagship', but that doesn't mean the ecologically minded customer is ignored. The new PHEV iV model takes the same 1.5-litre TSI as the MHEV but adds a more potent electric motor to the mix, as well as a 25.7kWh battery pack. This significantly boosts the all-electric range of the Superb iV, as the Mk3 version did up to 39 miles on its e-motor alone - whereas the new one is supposedly capable of more than 62 miles to a charge. Speaking of which, the Superb PHEV is also now fitted with DC charging technology, which means on a 50kW connection you can take its battery from 10-80 per cent in just 25 minutes. Plug in at home on the 11kW AC maximum speed and it should be two-and-a-half hours for 0-100 per cent, for reference.

The Superb iV is the only model which doesn't use a seven-speed DSG, making do with a six-speed unit instead. And that brings us onto the other choices, which are the 204- and 265hp variants of the 2.0-litre, four-cylinder TSI petrol, and the 150- and 193hp variants of the similarly 2.0-litre, four-cylinder TDI turbodiesel. Pick the lower outputs of these two and their seven-speed DSGs drive the front wheels only, but the more potent TSI and TDI Superbs gain '4x4' badging on their bootlids as they're all-wheel drive. No word on performance or economy for any of these yet, so instead let us tell you that the Superb Mk4 will also have the new two-valve (one for compression, one for rebound) adaptive dampers dubbed DCC Plus as an option, these having recently been adopted by no less an automotive luminary than the Porsche Cayenne SUV, while you can also expect every advanced driver assist safety (ADAS) bit of technology under the sun to be either standard-fit or an option on the new Skoda.

Cool. Anything else to add?

UK prices and specs are not yet set in stone, but we'd expect to see them soon. We're also keen to know whether 265hp will be the output limit for the Superb Mk4, or whether there's something else in store for the big Skoda. The Mk3 was always crying out for a V6 engine (yes, we know there was a rare V6 model in the Mk2 family) and there are plenty of those knocking around the VW Group at the moment, especially when it comes to ones associated with PHEV electric assistance.

Besides this idle conjecture, though, let's leave the last words to Klaus Zellmer, chairman of the board of Skoda Auto, who said: "The Superb has been the standard-bearer of Skoda's ICE range for more than 20 years. In its fourth generation it will continue to be just that, offering an even more refined, sculptural design, outstanding spaciousness and cutting-edge technology. Further powertrain optimisations and improved aerodynamics make for even greater efficiency.

"We have reconstructed the plug-in hybrid powertrain from scratch, and it now offers an all-electric range of more than 100 kilometres. The completely new interior is even more ergonomic and features an exemplary amount of sustainable materials. Last but not least, we will continue to offer the Superb as a hatch and estate version, perfectly reflecting our customer focus."

Matt Robinson - 2 Nov 2023

2024 Skoda Superb. Image by Skoda.2024 Skoda Superb. Image by Skoda.2024 Skoda Superb. Image by Skoda.2024 Skoda Superb. Image by Skoda.2024 Skoda Superb. Image by Skoda.

2024 Skoda Superb. Image by Skoda.2024 Skoda Superb. Image by Skoda.2024 Skoda Superb. Image by Skoda.2024 Skoda Superb. Image by Skoda.2024 Skoda Superb. Image by Skoda.    - Skoda road tests
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