Sport Line trim makes a strong case for itself here, adding desirable kit without hurting the Superb's plush ride and handling

What is it?

It’s a Skoda Superb with a mild bit of added dynamism. Well, the Superb Sport Line is primarily a regular Superb with a new trim level, bringing as it does things such as gloss black plastics, new bumpers, new seats and some carbonfibre-look trim inside, but it also includes a 15mm suspension drop, an electronic differential lock and 19in alloy wheels. 

You can specify the new Sport Line on the more powerful (148bhp and up) Superb hatchbacks and estates. It will cost you around £600 more than an SE L model but almost £2000 less than a range-topping Laurin & Klement derivative.

The Superb has a fairly expansive line-up, so even when you’re only talking about variants with more than 148bhp, there are 16 different models that can be ordered with Sport Line trim. We’ve tried the fastest, which couples a 276bhp 2.0-litre turbo petrol engine with four-wheel drive and a six-speed DSG dual-clutch automatic gearbox.

What's it like?

To look at? Subtle. The Superb is a large, near five-metre-long car, so it isn’t the kind of hatchback that necessarily responds well to pimping. There’s a gloss black spoiler that's not exactly prominent and a selection of seven bold (apart from some steely grey) colours to choose from, but it doesn’t carry the same aggression as, say, an S line Audi A6.

Inside there’s some Alcantara on the sports seats, plus that carbonfibre-look trim, but otherwise this is a Superb to the core. And that’s absolutely fine: the driving position is excellent, perceived quality is high, the dials are clear and the control weights and locations perfectly set.

If the 19in alloy wheels and ride height drop bring with them a corresponding loss in ride quality, we couldn’t feel it. The Superb is the kind of car, rare among moderns, that has ride quality to spare anyway. My suspicion is that the 19s, for lower profile rubber, weigh a bit less than some of the smaller wheel and tyre combinations, which has its own advantage when it comes to ride quality.

The full-fat 276bhp Sport Line isn’t the most agile among Superbs – not once you’ve mated it to a dual-clutch auto ’box and four-wheel drive, anyway. But it is capable and secure, always maintaining more grip and traction than even this variant’s power can overwhelm. Even pulling out of greasy junctions in a hurry gives no wheelspin, and this in a car that can reach 62mph from rest in 5.8sec. 

Body control and dynamics are decent. Our example came without the optional adaptive dampers we’ve tried on other Superbs, but I don’t think it was any the worse for it. No, there’s no mode to stiffen body control or slacken it off, but the standard damping set up is a fine, supple, honest, compromise. And given that the current-generation Ford Mondeo is not the ride and handling benchmark its predecessor was, the Superb doesn’t have that many rivals in its class anyway, unless you opt for something like a BMW 3 Series instead.

And nice to drive as a 3 Series is, you’ll hardly need us to point out the Skoda’s advantage over a car like that: that it’s absolutely cavernous inside. Tall adults can sit behind tall adults, no bother, and the boot’s massive, too.

Should I buy one?

The good thing about this Sport Line derivative is that it doesn’t undermine anything that the Skoda Superb already does well. It’s still a massive, comfortable and good-value big family hatchback that is extremely easy to recommend. Sticking some 19s and shiny trim on it isn’t going to negate those qualities, and neither does the ride height reduction or sports seats.

Because they’re such subtle additions, they don’t turn the Superb into some kind of keen-driving car that you absolutely must try, but it wouldd likely be the trim I’d choose.

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Skoda Superb 2.0 TSI 280 Sport Line

Location Hertfordshire; On sale Now; Price £33,295; Engine 4 cyls, 1984cc, turbo, petrol; Power 276bhp at 5600-6500rpm; Torque 258lb ft at 1700-5600rpm; Gearbox 6-spd dual-clutch automatic; Kerb weight 1560kg; 0-62mph 5.8sec; Top speed 155mph; Economy 39.2mpg (combined); CO2/tax band 164g/km, 32% Rivals Audi A6, Ford Mondeo 

Matt Prior

Matt Prior
Title: Editor-at-large

Matt is Autocar’s lead features writer and presenter, is the main face of Autocar’s YouTube channel, presents the My Week In Cars podcast and has written his weekly column, Tester’s Notes, since 2013.

Matt is an automotive engineer who has been writing and talking about cars since 1997. He joined Autocar in 2005 as deputy road test editor, prior to which he was road test editor and world rally editor for Channel 4’s automotive website, 4Car. 

Into all things engineering and automotive from any era, Matt is as comfortable regularly contributing to sibling titles Move Electric and Classic & Sports Car as he is writing for Autocar. He has a racing licence, and some malfunctioning classic cars and motorbikes. 

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jer 1 November 2016

Makes me think

When you have wheel options should they tell you the gross weight of both tyre and wheel? I wonder if they weigh similar or there is a big variance in weight of wheel and tyre size and brand and wheel design?
Gerhard 29 October 2016

There is something immensely

There is something immensely appealing about a ludicrously-fast Škoda, surprising Audi drivers with an untypical turn of speed. It also makes the car oddly desirable, although I would go for a less sporty trim for maximum Q-car effect. Several Police forces will be looking very closely at these, you can be certain...
Watch out!
abkq 28 October 2016

Superb value. This is all the

Superb value. This is all the car most people are likely to need. Pay 50% more for a premium brand and you are unlikely to get 50% improvement. Its ride comfort adds greatly to its appeal.

The thing that worries me is the wide band that divides the front grille. It is shown black here and is not obvious. But the photo of the facelifted Octavia shows a chrome band and it looks cheap and nasty. Please, Skoda, keep it simple and elegant. That's your strength.

Deputy 28 October 2016


@abkq - that grille 'band' contains the sensor for adaptive cruise and assist. So it's not a bad effort at hiding it compared to the Golf square box, Mercedes plastic star, Audi side sensors that other cars have for the same system.
abkq 28 October 2016

Deputy wrote:

Deputy wrote:

@abkq - that grille 'band' contains the sensor for adaptive cruise and assist. So it's not a bad effort at hiding it compared to the Golf square box, Mercedes plastic star, Audi side sensors that other cars have for the same system.

Yes, I agree the Mercedes blanked-out Star and the black plastic strips on the traditional S class grille look like nasty after-market additions.
In the case of Skoda I hope the next generation will integrate the new tech into the design.