Skoda Superb driving report: Simply superb

Uli Sonntag
Skoda Superb driving report
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G and certainly there are landscapes that are less about nature and cultural history were spoiled as those between Florence, Siena, Arezzo and the Tyrrhenian Sea. Tuscany: rolling hills, rugged mountain ranges, cities that are thousands of years old scattered in between like pearls rolled by chance. Roads wind their way over mountains and through valleys, squeezing through towns in which the width of the streets was apparently determined by the gauge of ox carts.

So you can get worse to go on a first test drive with the new Skoda Superb. The car is waiting in front of the airport in Florence. Silver-gray with a light interior, it looks cool and elegant between the white compact class taxis. And big. The first impression is not wrong. Compared to its predecessor, the new one, based on the Volkswagen Group's modular transverse matrix (MQB), has grown in almost all spatial dimensions. The most important measure: the wheelbase, which has increased by 80 millimeters, because this increase benefits almost exclusively the rear passengers, a classic superb domain.

But first I take a seat in the front row. Thanks to KESSY, the optional keyless entry system (390 euros), the driver's door unlocks automatically and the key can remain in your pocket for the rest of the journey. Skoda means well to me, the car is an L&K, the top equipment, named after Laurin & Klement, the original core of Skoda Auto. It has the top engine, the 2.0 TSI with 280 PS and six-speed DSG as well as all-wheel drive.

Many new assistance systems

The adaptive DCC chassis is standard on the L & K (otherwise 910 euros), the driving profile selection is on Comfort, and off you go. The Superb surfs casually through the traffic and construction site hustle and bustle around the airport with the IATA code FLR and the name of America's eponym Vespucci. Then we, the Superb and I, turn south onto the expressway.

The operation is not a mystery. It follows the corporate philosophy already known from other MQB models with a touchscreen and a few buttons for special functions. So it's time to look around in the Superb, the navigation map is north, the course is set.

Grippy leather steering wheel, light, friendly atmosphere, good view to the front and to the sides, all display instruments well placed and clear.The driver is supported by a true full assembly of assistance systems like in no Skoda before, so that too is new to the new. The multi-collision brake, the preventive proactive occupant protection, the radar-based FrontAssist with city emergency braking function, the adaptive cruise control ACC, lane change and lane keeping assistants or the traffic sign recognition Travel Assist are just some of them. They watch discreetly in the background and only answer when there is something to report. The Travel Assist shows 130 km /h, we are on the highway.

It connects northern and southern Italy for over 754 kilometers, runs between Milan and Naples, and crosses the historic landscapes of Lombardy, Emilia, Tuscany, Umbria, Lazio and Campania. Incidentally, it was opened in 1964 by then President Antonio Segni, who was chauffeured across the motorway in the back of a Lancia Flaminia 335 Presidenziale. He probably wouldn't have felt uncomfortable in the back of the Superb, even if it didn't have a landaulet retractable roof for the rear seat passengers.

Now I'm still sitting in the front row, enjoying the discrete abundance of torque of the two-liter turbo direct injection engine (350 Nm constant between 1,700 and 5,600 revolutions) and the smooth, almost imperceptible gear changes of the double clutch transmission.

Premium driving experience with DCC

In no time the Skoda accelerated from the toll station to the left lane, with the adaptive one Cruise control keeps the pace and distance from the vehicle in front. It's more challenging than it reads on an Italian motorway in the mountains, the curves are tight, tunnels alternate with sweeping valley bridges.

The road slabs are separated by wide joints, but the chassis, still in comfort mode, softens the impacts of the concrete pavement to soft, dull chassis noises. That has a premium level. Especially since the seats are also of outstanding quality: Electrically adjustable (standard with L & K and Style, otherwise 1,130 euros), they offer a lot of support in the fast motorway bends without compromising on comfort. At the mild motorway speed, the engine cannot be heard, works in top gear and completes the premium driving experience.

The kilometers to the desired exit pass too quickly, turn signal on the right, a beep at the toll booth thanks to the Telepass payment device next to the inside mirror, the barrier goes up, direction Montevarchi. The narrow river that meanders between the motorway and the village is the Arno. 50 kilometers further north in downtown Florence, the bridge can be bridged much more picturesque from the Ponte Vecchio. Time for a short stopover with a view of the trunk and a short seat in the rear. Later I let myself be together withChauffeuring Skoda boss Winfried Vahland in the superb rear, now I sit in the back alone. The traffic rushes around us, the right rear door closes with a pop and locks out the outside world.

Trunk in combi format

Knee room almost to the horizon, 1.52 meters inside width and almost one meter of headroom, that is upper class format. The seats are well shaped, very comfortable for two rear seat passengers and still quite comfortable for three. If it gets too boring outside, they can keep themselves happy with movies or games on the tablet, which is clipped onto the headrest of the passenger seat with a simple and ingenious holder. You don't have to submit to any restrictions when it comes to luggage either, a volume of 625 liters is a proud measure, and no competitor in this segment has more to offer. In addition, the loading compartment is accessible via a huge tailgate, which blends in with the rear design as inconspicuously as it is elegant.

Close the flap, get back into the driver's seat, after all we want to drive. The Strada Provinciale 408 is aiming at the heart of the Chianti region with a winding twist, the DCC is clicked on Sport, DSG on manual. With little body roll and a barely noticeable tendency to understeer, the Superb sweeps up the hills to the west. So he can do that too. The damping is a bit bitter, no problem. Siena emerges very quickly behind the mountains, the GPS shows the way to the hotel. The wheels crunch on the gravel of the driveway as we say goodbye. Truly, it can be worse.

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