► We drive the new Skoda Superb 4x4 estate
► 2.0-litre petrol pushes out a plentiful 276bhp
► Fast and practical, but the brakes are lacking
Someone at Skoda has a sense of humour. If there’s a stealthier Q-ship currently on sale than the 2.0 TSI 280 4x4 Superb estate it escapes me.
Finished in rental car red with alloys like budget Halford’s hubcaps, everything about our test car screamed boggo diesel, its only nod to greatness the 4x4 badge on the boot, which I’d be tempted to prise off immediately.
Powertrain-wise, we’re dealing with a slightly out of condition Golf R in a fat suit – though considering the Mk3 Superb’s the size of a hearse, a 61kg penalty is nothing to be ashamed of, and even capped at 276bhp its BMI must be pretty sensational.
Point this unassuming low-rent limo with a luggage locker down a motorway slip road and it’ll hit 62mph in 5.8sec, before swiftly ripping the guts out of three figures if you aren’t fastidiously restrained. You don’t have time to see the expressions of amazement on surrounding motorists’ faces, but you can easily imagine them.
Another important face to imagine, however, is your own – upon arriving at every single corner at a lick far faster than you anticipated. For if there is one gaping flaw in Skoda’s comic coup it’s that no effort has really been made to redress the mighty motor’s additional strain on the chassis.
All-wheel drive and XDS+ bolster traction, but the brakes are just the standard bigger-engined Superb items and the conventional suspension tends to corkscrew into knots under pressure. Less edgy, more slapstick.
The specs: Skoda Superb 2.0 TSI 280 4x4 estate
Engine: 1984cc 16v turbo 4-cyl, 276bhp @ 5600-6500rpm, 258lb ft @ 1700-5600rpm
Transmission: six-speed DSG, all-wheel drive with XDS+
Performance: 5.8sec 0-62mph, 155mph, 39.2mpg, 164g/km CO2
On sale: Now
Verdict: Space, pace, and less pretentious than ready salted crisps themselves
Read more from the May 2016 issue of CAR magazine