New Skoda Superb iV vs used BMW 530e: which is best?
A new and entirely sensible plug-in Skoda Superb, or a luxurious used BMW 5 Series for similar money? Which would you choose?...
New Skoda Superb iV vs used BMW 530e – driving
The speed-demon of the two cars is the 530e. Its extra 34bhp and 15lb ft of torque doesn’t sound significant enough to warrant a major performance difference, but the BMW is 1.6 seconds faster from 0-62 mph than the Skoda, and feels surprisingly lively for such a large, luxury car. That’s not to say that the Superb feels slow, but it simply isn’t as brawny as the BMW. Nor does its seven-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox feel as smooth as the auto box in the 530e, which shifts up and down through its eight gears without you really noticing.
But we shouldn’t be too quick to dismiss the Superb here, because it can actually go slightly farther on an electric charge than the 530e can. Okay, an extra six miles is hardly impressive, but when the overall range is so short anyway, being able to travel 21% further makes a big difference over the course of ownership.
Mind you, those extra six miles will not be as enjoyable as they would be in the 530e. In isolation, the Superb is a fairly cosseting and refined place to spend time in, but if you’re to compare it against a luxury car as finely-tuned as the BMW is, chinks can be found in the Skoda’s armour. First is the relative lack of body control over bumpy surfaces, where the Superb tends to float because of its soft spring and damper settings and then it tends to crash over potholes in a way that sends shudders into the interior, accompanied by a loud thud from the suspension.
Then there is the handling to discuss, and while the 530e isn’t the best of the 5 Series range due to the additional weight of the batteries, the predictable rear-wheel drive chassis of the BMW runs rings around the safe but ultimately uninvolving Skoda. In fact, the soft suspension of the Superb and the excess body motions that result can sometimes have you wrestling with the steering wheel to keep it heading in a straight line, and exposing another weakness of the superb; the steering. It doesn't provide a lot of feedback or any real idea of what the front wheels are doing, which isn’t ideal if you happen to be driving down an unknown section of twisty B road at night. The BMW has a far more accurate helm with nicely weighted steering that is easy to get along with and far more satisfying to use.
New Skoda Superb iV vs used BMW 530e – costs
Thanks to heavy initial depreciation, you can actually find a BMW 530e that’s barely a year-old for less than the target price of a new Skoda Superb iV. Despite costing nearly £47,000 when new, you can find a 530e SE today from a BMW main dealer with an average number of miles for around £26,000. A Superb iV SE Technology has a list price of £31,970, but you can save a bundle by using our What Car? Car Buying Service and pay as little as £27,289.
Both cars have a maximum recharge rate of 3.7kWh, but it is the Superb that will take the longest to fill up since it has the biggest battery pack; 13kWh compared with the 12kWh capacity of the 530e. This also means that the electric-only range of the 530e is less at 29 miles against the 35 miles of the Superb.
Fuel economy (on paper) is better for those choosing the Skoda because it has a combined figure of 168mpg, while the 530e ‘only’ does 128.4mpg. However, you’ll need to be regularly charging both to achieve anything like that, because if you don’t, expect to get worse economy than a regular petrol model due to the additional weight of all those batteries. In previous experience, we’ve only achieved mid-30s consumption from a depleted 530e.
Road tax will also be a bit of a shock to anyone buying a 530e since it will be clobbered by the additional fee levied on cars that cost more than £40,000 when new. This means you’ll be paying £455 per year just in road tax until the car is over six years old, whereas the Superb will be much more affordable at £135.
Reliability is expected to be better with the Superb according to the latest data from our What Car? Reliability Survey since Skoda, as a brand, finished in eighth place compared with BMW that came in 21st. You will have an unlimited mileage warranty with a BMW, but as it is a used example, you’ll need to pay for an extended warranty in order to have the same period of cover you’ll get with a brand-new Skoda.