Rating : 7/10
The Superb comes powered by the same 1.8 litre petrol and 2.0 litre diesel as before. But now both the engines are upgraded and make much more power and torque than before.
Let’s start with the diesel first. Powering it is the 1968cc four-cylinder turbodiesel motor. It now makes a much healthier 174bhp (34bhp than before) and a higher 350Nm of torque. Thanks to the extra horses, the engine is more flexible and a wider powerband means overtaking is much easier. It’s more free-revving too, and does not feel out of breath at the top end of the rev band anymore.
Refinement is good, performance is ample and this, coupled with the car’s good low speed ride, makes it a fine urban machine. As ever, this engine’s biggest strength is its chunky mid-range and the 6-speed dual clutch auto gearbox does a good job of sensing when you need it the most. The ’box also works well to get you through the slight turbo lag, and it’s very happy to hop straight to sixth and sit there when you’re cruising on the highway. The only grouse is that the gearbox tends to get a bit confused while cruising, when you press on the throttle for the occasional overtake. This is when it jerks a bit and the kickdown is not as swift as we would have liked.
Thanks to the upgraded engine the new car posted much quicker times than the old one. In flat-out acceleration the new car does the dash to 100kph in 8.3sec, which is nearly three seconds faster than the old car. The gap just gets bigger as you go faster and 160kph in the new car comes up in 18.52seconds - that’s a massive 8 seconds faster than the old car. In the 20-80kph third-gear slog, the updated engine pips the old model by two seconds, while in the 40-100kph run in fourth gear, it’s quicker by more than two seconds.
But if you love driving then it has to be the 1.8-litre TSI motor you have to opt for. This updated EA888 motor now develops 17bhp more than before and like before, it just feels special and willing. Although the power figure of 177bhp is identical, surprisingly the automatic version is down by a massive 70Nm of torque. We suspect this as a safety precaution, as the DQ200 dual clutch auto has had reliability issues in the past.
Like before this motor feels silky smooth and refined right through its rev range and it emits a very addictive snarl when you really wring it out. At lower rpms there is some hesitation from the motor (more apparent in the manual transmission), but pass 2500rpm and you are pushed back in the comfortable seat as the Superb accelerates in a linear tidal wave. The 7-speed automatic gearbox though is a bit hesitant especially in D mode, as it rapidly upshifts in the interest of fuel efficiency and then gets confused when you change your throttle position. In manual mode though the Superb feels the best, it will downshift on demand, accompanied by a blip from the throttle.
Speaking of which, enthusiasts might rejoice for the fact that Skoda is still offering a manual version with this engine. The gearshifts are direct and the short throws make it a joy to use. Not so good is the clutch pedal which is on the heavier side and has a springy action..
That said, the manual version is slightly quicker than the automatic Superb. The manual gets to 100kph in 8.67sec, which is just 0.3 sec quicker than the auto. The slower times of the petrol auto is also due to the DSG gearbox’s protection mode, which doesn’t allow a proper launch off the line.
In the top L&K version you also get three preset driving modes, namely eco, normal and sport. In Eco mode the gearbox rapidly upshifts in pursuit of fuel efficiency and throttle responses are dull too. In the Normal mode the gearbox becomes more responsive but the automatic upshifts rapidly in this mode too. However, in sport mode the throttle responses are more instant and the gearbox holds lower gears to keep you in the power band for instant response. In addition to these you also get an Individual mode that allows the driver to set up preferences for steering weight, gearbox and engine.