But we know that the Superb is remarkable, and especially in long-bodied form. This second iteration (there was no estate variant for the original Superb, introduced in 2001) gets strong but refined Volkswagen Group engines and even more cargo potential than the Mercedes E-Class Estate – a total behemoth and the reigning capacity champ at the luxury end of the market. The latest Superb also possesses a likeably understated exterior design of sharp yet unobtrusive creases, and inside you’ll find good perceived quality.
If this all seems overwhelmingly positive for what is only paragraph three of a fresh long-term test, my apologies, but I need to continue, because there is then the price. When our road testers gleefully fix their timing gear to the new RS6, there’s a good chance it will explode to 100mph and back before the entry-level Superb estate can even reach 60mph, but at almost £100,000, the Skoda’s big, bad, eight-cylindered cousin will cost four times as much.
And that has always been the magic of the Superb estate: considering what it can do, it’s exceptionally good value. Which is where this long-term test gets interesting. Our Superb has been ordered in range-topping L&K guise, which is an all-the-trimmings specification named after Václav Laurin and Václav Klement, the men who together founded Skoda (until 1925 known as Laurin & Klement) in the Kingdom of Bohemia (today the Czech Republic) back in 1895. Equipped with a 2.0-litre four-cylinder diesel, seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox and four-wheel drive, it costs £40,295, which pushes it into the clutches of BMW’s 520d estate, which starts at £41,460 in SE trim. The BMW is similarly sized, similarly powerful (184bhp plays 187bhp, in the Skoda’s favour) and is an exceptionally good everyday car.
What we are therefore going to find out is whether, in 2020, Skoda can compete directly with the Bavarians, which is something that possibly hasn’t happened since (and please don’t quote me on this) Václav Bobek’s 1100cc Skoda Supersport beat the bigger-engined Formula 2 BMW of Zdenek Sojka during the 1950 Czechoslovak Grand Prix at Brno. One imagines a few corks were popped from bottles of Bohemia Sekt that evening, and if our Superb can score a recommendation over the 520d SE, it’ll be a similar story, albeit one unfolding at Skoda’s UK public relations offices in Milton Keynes.
One thing in the Skoda’s favour is that it is positively overflowing with kit, much of it genuinely useful. Take, for example, the flashlight and 12V adaptor I’ve already found in the boot, and the umbrella compartments in the front doors.
The ‘key’ features list runs the length of an A4 page but, as far as we’re concerned, the most important elements are the adaptive cruise control, 10-speaker Canton sound system, 9.2in touchscreen display, matrix LED headlights and rear parking camera (useful because the car is longer than a VW Passat, although shorter than an Audi A6 et al). We’ll touch on items such as the ‘virtual pedal’, voice command and park assist, and their usefulness or otherwise, in future reports.