Performance & drive
What it’s like to drive, and how quiet it is
Engine, 0-60mph and gearbox
If you fancy a petrol engine, the entry-level 148bhp 1.5 TSI 150 is surprisingly punchy, with enough mid-range guts to cope with the Skoda Superb's size. If you work it hard, it'll hit 0-62mph in a respectable 9.1sec and, with costs factored in, it's our pick of the range. If you need more power, go for the livelier 187bhp 2.0 TSI 190, or the 276bhp 2.0 TSI 280, which hits 62mph from rest in just 5.2sec. That makes it a legitimate rival to the BMW M340i on pace, although its standard automatic gearbox isn't as responsive as BMW's. That applies to any Superb auto 'box, by the way.
The 148bhp 2.0 TDI 150 diesel might not feel rapid (0-62mph is a decent 9.1sec but that's a little slower than the Audi A4 35 TDI), but if you're likely to carry heavy loads or tow, it's got healthy low-down diesel grunt. You can make handsome progress without working it as hard as a petrol. You don't need to pay extra for the 197bhp 2.0 TDI 200 diesel unless you need extra welly.
Suspension and ride comfort
While the Superb doesn't join the Audi A4 among the best-riding cars in the class, it’s as supple as the VW Passat and softer than the 3 Series. If you want to put comfort first, stick to the smallest 17in alloy wheels that come with the lower trims. That said, the ride is hardly crude in Sportline Plus trim, with its big 19in alloy wheels and stiffer suspension settings.
The regular trims on their standard suspension soak up large speed bumps and expansion joints with ease and settle down nicely on a motorway cruise. The set-up is quite soft, so the Superb is prone to feeling floaty on undulating country roads (less so with the stiffer Sportline Plus trim) but it can still bash over nasty potholes, in the same way the Mazda 6 does.
The A4 also has some of the quietest engines around, especially its diesels. Again, the Superb’s engines aren't as good, but they're not raucous under acceleration and fade to a distant hum at motorway speeds. The plug-in 1.4 TSI iV has the ability to run solely on electric power, and in that mode it’s super-quiet, especially around town.
You’ll find the six-speed manual gearbox slick and the clutch action is positive, making the Superb easy to drive smoothly. The dual-clutch automatic gearbox (it’s either optional or standard depending on the engine you go for) can be jerky in stop-start traffic and when you're edging into a parking space. It’s smooth the rest of the time.