From £19,1406
The Skoda Superb Estate 2.0 TSI 280 4x4 DSG combines searing straight line performance with everyday practicality, but does it make any financial sense?
2 August 2016

What is it?

The recipe for a successful Q-car is, on the face of it, rather straightforward. You take one understated family car, add a dollop of power, a handful of chassis upgrades and hey presto, you’ve got yourself a ‘sleeper’. However, over the last few years, manufacturers have managed to overcomplicate this formula.

Machines that were once purchased for their rapid performance and covert appearance - think the first-generation Audi RS6 or BMW M5 – are now designed for individuals who actively want to stand out. So where do you turn if you want a practical performance car that allows you to fly under the radar? Step forward the new Skoda Superb Estate 2.0 TSI 280 4x4 DSG.

From the outside, the 280 looks almost identical to any other Superb of the same trim. The 4x4 badge on the bootlid isn’t unique to this model, and the twin exhaust pipes are tucked away so as to not attract any unwanted attention. Yet despite the Skoda’s restrained looks, its performance is anything but. 

Under the bonnet is a 276bhp 2.0-litre turbo petrol engine mated to a permanent four-wheel drive system and a quick-shifting DSG automatic gearbox. It's effectively the same driveline that was found in the speedy Seat Leon Cupra 280, and allows Skoda's unassuming family estate to crack 0-62mph in just 5.8sec. 

Factor in that the 280 has the same class-leading ergonomics as the standard Superb and, on paper at least, it looks like Skoda could have found the ideal mix of practicality and performance. 

What's it like?

With plenty of low-down torque and a healthy mid-range, you rarely find yourself using the full potential of the powerful 2.0-litre engine in day-to-day driving. Instead, you simply waft along, enjoying the smooth and supple ride provided by the well-judged optional adaptive dampers.

However, flex your right foot and the Skoda accelerates at a pace that’s simply unbefitting of a car its size. In fact, the first time you experience the full acceleration of the 280, it’s hard not to be taken aback by the way it gains speed. You just don’t expect something with such an ordinary demeanor to pack such a serious punch. 


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Unfortunately, that straight-line pace doesn’t translate into a refined dynamic package. On demanding country roads, the Superb suffers from quite a serious amount of body roll and the artificially weighted steering gives little in the way of feedback. Flicking the car into Sport mode also has little impact on the stiffness of the suspension, with the 280 still lacking the finesse and body control of, say, a Ford Mondeo Estate.

Then again, the Skoda does make for an incredible all-weather machine. A rear-wheel drive BMW 330i M Sport Touring would genuinely struggle to keep up with a well-driven Superb on a greasy British B-road, and no matter how hard we tried, it was impossible to get the 280 to lose traction on our challenging test route.

Interior wise, the cabin is vast and well screwed together. It doesn’t feel wildly luxurious, but it’s hard to fault the practical layout and high-quality materials. The infotainment system, which includes an 8.0in touchscreen with sat-nav and a DAB radio, is also fast, responsive and easy to use.

Ergonomically, the 280 is also highly functional. The interior is wider across the second row of seats than either a Ford Mondeo or a Volkswagen Passat, and the Skoda's boot is simply vast.

Should I buy one?

Let’s face it, does anyone really need a Skoda Superb with nearly 280bhp? Probably not, but that doesn’t stop the 280 from being a deeply compelling package. 

You only have to spend five minutes behind the wheel to be taken in by its unique blend of hot hatch rivalling performance and everyday practicality. It’s a combination that you simply never tire of.

However, despite its charms, it’s hard to ignore that, on paper, the 280 makes little practical sense. It costs nearly as much as a BMW 330i M Sport Touring, will depreciate at a faster rate and emits more CO2. The cheaper 2.0 TDI 150 Superb also offers the same level of practicality and enough performance to keep most buyers happy.   

Ultimately, we’re happy that the 280 exists, but that enticing mixture of practicality and performance will only be experienced by the dedicated few. 

Neil Winn

Skoda Superb Estate 2.0 TSI 280 4x4 DSG

Location Surrey; On sale now; Price £33,995; 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%

Join the debate


2 August 2016
It was all going well until the price was mentioned, £34,000. Still does the BMW it was compared to have 4 wheel drive, leather(?), and an Auto box?

2 August 2016
They were never going to sell many, so its a shame they didnt leave the 3.6 6 pot from the old version, and why not make the auto box an option too. However its still an impressively quick Q car.

3 August 2016
artill wrote:

They were never going to sell many, so its a shame they didnt leave the 3.6 6 pot from the old version, and why not make the auto box an option too. However its still an impressively quick Q car.

You do like dinosaurs don't you?

2 August 2016
Unfair to compare this to base spec BMW. Add on the adaptive cruise control, 4x4, luxury options that are standard in the Skoda (and diesel only in 4x4 high power BMW) and you are at £10K more, and that's without the Skoda dealer discounts... A one year old Skoda 280 could be a great buy.

2 August 2016
The 330 comparison is even more unfair because this is bigger than a 5 series - compared to a similar spec 530i auto it's not as good for sue but probably £15k less

2 August 2016
I'd much rather have this than a repmobile BMW 3-Series. These are far better looking and just as well built as a Beemer. Owners are genuinely enthusiastic too. The fact it can travel faster than the 330i without making you look like a complete t1t because of the BMW 'arrogant twit' image the cars have nowadays also seals the deal for me.

2 August 2016
The Superb Sportline will get this engine, lowered suspension, stiffened suspension and a few other mods. Then it'll really lose the 3 series with its dangerous rwd standing in the bends!


2 August 2016
For the 2.0 256 PS 330I M Sport Auto .... Plus options. Rather smaller car.

2 August 2016
Just a pity that the new Superbs extra width means smaller UK roads would be out of bounds. So its A roads and M ways only, unless you can gate crash a closed rally stage.

2 August 2016
Well done Skoda for at least giving us the choice of a fast petrol estate. reminds me of the old Volvo V70R or Mondeo ST220 (go on Ford - the Americans are getting a 325hp Mondeo nee Fusion)
Now BMW I'd like an M3 estate please


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