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First drive: Skoda Superb Estate 2.0 TSI 280 4x4 DSG. Image by Skoda.

First drive: Skoda Superb Estate 2.0 TSI 280 4x4 DSG
A performance Skoda estate? Oh yes. But stick to the diesel models...

 



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Skoda Superb Estate 2.0 TSI 280 4x4 DSG

4 4 4 4 4

The new Skoda Superb Estate has an impressive model line-up and of the two fast petrol versions, this 280hp 4x4 is the fastest road-going Skoda yet built. In principle, we love the idea of a discreet family car packing one of the more powerful iterations of the excellent EA888 engine, but we also recognise that it's going to sell in minuscule numbers and it's not the most representative model in the Superb Estate range.

Test Car Specifications

Model tested: Skoda Superb Estate 2.0 TSI 280 4x4 DSG SE L Executive
Pricing: as tested 32,320; starts from 19,840
Engine: 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol
Transmission: all-wheel drive, six-speed DSG automatic
Body style: five-door estate
CO2 emissions: 168g/km (VED Band H, 295 year one, 205 annually thereafter)
Combined economy: 39.2mpg
Top speed: 155mph
0-62mph: 5.8 seconds
Power: 280hp at 5,600- to 6,500rpm
Torque: 350Nm at 1,700- to 5,600rpm

What's this?

The second-generation Skoda Superb Estate, a sharp-looking, super-capacious D-segment wagon built on the MQB underpinnings of the Volkswagen Group. In the UK, diesel models are going to account for in excess of 90 per cent of private and fleet sales of the Superb Estate, which might make Skoda's decision to offer four different petrol options seem like an odd one. And nowhere is this contrariness more obvious than at the top of the TSI tree, where not only does the Superb get the 220hp 2.0 from the Octavia vRS but it also benefits from the same specification unit you'd find in a SEAT Leon ST Cupra - the turbocharged four churning out 280hp and 350Nm, to be precise.

This engine comes only with four-wheel drive and a six-speed DSG transmission, and also only in the top two trim lines of SE L Executive and Laurin & Klement. But don't go looking for anything to mark it out as the ballistic, cut-price Audi S-model Avant it surely is - Skoda is playing the 4x4's abilities down to a level of discretion hitherto unseen in the automotive industry. No external styling changes are made over lesser models, while the interior is the same as well; no bad thing, of course, as we're huge fans of the Skoda's exterior and interior styling, but it's a bit surprising that there's not even a small roof spoiler, slightly bigger front airdam or sliver of jazzy cabin trim on offer. You'll need to clock the 'TSI' and '4x4' badges on the boot lid to spot one, as the only other all-paw Superb Estates are diesels.

How does it drive?

Well, it's certainly quick, if one of those refined motors that masks its pace as much as it possibly can. Shorn of a sporty exhaust system to make the EA888 engine really sing, the 4x4 has a muted growl to it when being extended. At 1,635kg, it's the joint heaviest Superb Estate in the range but keep a beady eye on the speedometer and you'll see that it's every bit as quick as the on-paper stats suggest, that excellent 2.0-litre engine having little difficulty hustling the Skoda's body along. It's a car that's going to take a lot of traffic light heroes by surprise, for certain.

It's also no less refined than the diesel model, the ride still being astonishingly supple and the Dynamic Chassis Control offering up strong body control at all times. But, like the 150hp TDI version, if you want ultimate driving thrills then the Superb Estate will never quite hit those heights. Even this rapid petrol model focuses on comfort over cornering speed, which makes the contrast between the lusty engine and coolly competent chassis more marked here than in the 'lesser' versions in the range.

So if you can afford to buy it in the first place, don't mind the sub-40mpg fuel economy and are comfortable with the increased VED/Benefit-in-Kind costs, the Superb Estate 280 will be as good a family car as the diesel. It's just that, as much as we admire Skoda for its restraint, perhaps one or two styling and dynamic upgrades might have eked another half-star out of us. We're not saying it needed a vRS badge, you understand, merely... a little extra to allow those in the know the chance to appreciate its fine capabilities. Skoda will counter by saying that sales of the 280 TSI will be extremely low in the UK, which we fully accept; if you do take the plunge and buy one of these stealth missiles, you certainly won't be disappointed.

Verdict

It might seem a bit harsh to knock a whole star off the otherwise wonderful Superb Estate simply because this is a micro-niche model, but it's a shame that the 280 4x4 doesn't benefit from even a few choice extras to mark out its prowess. It's an absolutely great car, a real sleeper performance wagon that hides its light under a bushel, but the relatively high purchase price, elevated running costs and slightly inert driving experience mean it's surprisingly not our favourite big Skoda. That honour falls to the all-round splendour of the 150hp diesel.

5 5 5 5 5 Exterior Design

4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5 Interior Ambience

5 5 5 5 5 Passenger Space

5 5 5 5 5 Luggage Space

5 5 5 5 5 Safety

5 5 5 5 5 Comfort

4 4 4 4 4 Driving Dynamics

4 4 4 4 4 Powertrain


Matt Robinson - 3 Jul 2015









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2015 Skoda Superb Estate. Image by Skoda.2015 Skoda Superb Estate. Image by Skoda.2015 Skoda Superb Estate. Image by Skoda.2015 Skoda Superb Estate. Image by Skoda.2015 Skoda Superb Estate. Image by Skoda.

2015 Skoda Superb Estate. Image by Skoda.2015 Skoda Superb Estate. Image by Skoda.2015 Skoda Superb Estate. Image by Skoda.2015 Skoda Superb Estate. Image by Skoda.2015 Skoda Superb Estate. Image by Skoda.



2015 Skoda Superb Estate. Image by Skoda.
 

2015 Skoda Superb Estate. Image by Skoda.
 

2015 Skoda Superb Estate. Image by Skoda.
 

2015 Skoda Superb Estate. Image by Skoda.
 

2015 Skoda Superb Estate. Image by Skoda.
 

2015 Skoda Superb Estate. Image by Skoda.
 






 

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