Skoda Superb 2.0 TSI

280ps 4x4 DSG

Sportline

Skoda Superb, front static
Skoda Superb, front static 2
Skoda Superb, front action
Skoda Superb, side action
Skoda Superb, rear action
Skoda Superb, boot
Skoda Superb, rear seats
Skoda Superb, dashboard
Skoda Superb, alloy wheel

WALK out of a railway station in Germany and you'll have to dodge lines of Mercedes-Benz taxis waiting to whisk travellers to their hotel or business meeting.

Does the sight of so many Mercs put people off buying one for themselves because they don't want to be linked with something as unglamorous as a taxi?

Of course not - it means hard headed taxi drivers reckon a Mercedes is both reliable (keeping their costs down) and attractive to a potential customer.

The same thinking has made Skoda's Superb a common sight on taxi ranks outside British railway stations. So it's a reliable mileage muncher and a comfy ride too, you'd deduce.

A mere week at the wheel of a Superb can't answer the reliability point, but they certainly wouldn't still be serving as workhorses if they were costing cabbies a fortune.

On the other hand, the comfort proposition is easily answered in a week's testing. In a moment, in fact, as you slip into a rear seat and discover stretch-out legroom that wouldn't disgrace a limousine.

Behind you (and another taxi essential) is a boot so vast it tops its class but can be made bigger still by opting for the estate version of the Superb, when you might consider moving in to save on the mortgage.

Powering the Superb are a range of petrol and diesel engines with outputs from 120 to 280 horsepower, with diesels likely to be pulling taxi fares to their destinations on grounds of long distance economy.

A whole lot rarer will be a Superb with the 280hp petrol engine on board, helping turn the car into a genuine speed machine - a top speed of 155mph and the sprint to 62mph in 5.6 seconds are enough to make lots of sporty cars look a bit limp.

Pop the suspension into firmer sport mode (£760 extra) and play the auto gearbox via the steering wheel paddles and this sportiest of Superbs covers ground at an eyebrow raising pace, with a 4x4 system ready to help on the slippy stuff.

You'll pay for your pleasure at the pumps, with 32.6mpg showing on the admirably clear trip readout after 500 miles of varied use. A first year road tax demand for £515 might sting a bit too.

A diesel Superb would very usefully improve on both those figures, as would the baby of the range with its £20,695 price tag and peppy 1.4 litre petrol engine. But it wouldn't feel nearly as fast.

Even standing still a Superb in Sportline trim looks ready to pounce, with big 19in alloy wheels, twin exhaust pipes and splashes of gloss black on spoiler, side strips, window surrounds and grill. Inside, the theme continues with headlining and alcantara mock suede trim in black.

FAST FACTS

Skoda Superb 2.0 TSI 280ps 4x4 DSG Sportline

Price: £35,255

Mechanical:276 bhp, 1,984cc, 4-cyl petrol engine driving all four wheels via 6-spd gearbox

Max Speed:155 mph

0-62mph: 5.6 secs

Combined MPG: 39.8

Insurance Group: 29

C02 emissions: 160 g/km

Bik rating:33%

Warranty: 3yrs/60,000 miles

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