What is it?
The Skoda Superb 2.0 TSI Sportline might be the answer to a question nobody asked. Something along the lines of: “What would happen if we dropped an engine good enough for one of Volkswagen’s pokier Golf GTIs into one of the most notoriously comfy and unexciting, yet legendarily spacious, family cars in the world?”
You’d end up with a car much too incongruous to work, right? One likely to appeal to precisely no one with a clear idea of the wider choice contained within the current mid-sized saloon-slash-estate car market. Wouldn’t you? Well, perhaps not. This car certainly appeals to me – and for surprisingly rational reasons.
Sportline trim has just been added to the Superb showroom range, as it has to that of other models within the Czech firm’s catalogue, as part of a model-year refresh. Unlike some sporty derivative treatments, it sits in the mid-range of the Superb buying hierarchy; there are Sportline Plus and Laurin & Klement options above it, and another three trims below.
Plump for a Superb Sportline and you get just enough mechanical and cosmetic purpose to suit a car like this, and not a hint more. Nineteen-inch alloy wheels, understated sports bumpers and a light dusting of gloss back body trim mark out the exterior, along with badging discreet enough to be overlooked by the majority. On the inside you get Alcantara sports seats, a very mildy promising three-spoke steering wheel, polished pedals and some slightly generic but inoffensive-looking faux carbonfibre decorative trim.
Under the skin, you get lowered, stiffened sport suspension and a hint of additional brake-based torque vectoring over and above what a normal Superb is capable of. Sportline Plus cars get ‘progressive’ passive variable-ratio power steering as well; our test car didn’t have that, but did combine its sport suspension with optional adaptive damping at extra cost.
And that’s it. It’s the go-faster treatment done with a particularly light touch – and it’s surprisingly easy to like.