ŠKODA SUPERB: 20 years of luxury

ŠKODA SUPERB: 20 years of luxury

Twenty years ago, ŠKODA expanded its range to include a mid-range car: an almost five-metre-long sedan with ample space for passengers and luggage and a host of safety features. It was named SUPERB.

1. 10. 2021 Models Superb

The new SUPERB was presented for the first time at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September 2001. The company’s stand at the prestigious IAA fair was an impressive retro spectacle, featuring a restored black SUPERB 3000 limousine from 1939, an exhibit of the ŠKODA Museum in Mladá Boleslav, that passed the baton to the modern SUPERB. The generous wheelbase of 2,803 mm and exterior dimensions of 4,803 x 1,765 x 1,469 mm promised more than enough space for the car’s occupants and their luggage. The following video takes you back to the start of production in October 2001.

Mobility guarantee

The first production ŠKODA SUPERB rolled out of the Kvasiny plant, which had been modernised at a cost of around 200 million euros, on 1 October 2001. By the end of the year, 581 units had been built, with the large sedans reaching their first customers in spring 2002. For the first time in its history, ŠKODA even began offering a lifetime mobility guarantee. For owners, this meant that if they had a problem on the road a service vehicle would be dispatched for free, including towing to an authorised workshop if necessary, as well as other services such as the provision of a replacement car.  

The new SUPERB honoured the modern concept of a self-supporting “unibody”. The front axle was powered by one of the three petrol and two diesel engines on offer. Specifically, these were the 2.0/115 hp (85 kW) and 1.8 Turbo/150 hp (110 kW) four-cylinder engines, while the 2.8 V6/193 hp (142 kW) six-cylinder engine was a prestigious option that pushed the SUPERB to speeds of up to 237 km/h. The turbocharged V8 as well as the aforementioned V6 unit utilised sophisticated timing technology with five valves per cylinder. 

An economical and safe giant

Despite its spaciousness and high practicality, the SUPERB also proved to be very economical, especially if the customer opted for the basic 1.9 TDI/130 hp (96 kW) turbodiesel with standardised fuel consumption of 5.7 litres per 100 km. The most powerful of the diesel units had six cylinders, a 2.5 TDI/155 hp (114 kW) engine paired with a six-speed direct-shift gearbox. Both six-cylinder engines also came with an optional five-position Tiptronic automatic transmission.     

The first modern generation of the ŠKODA SUPERB model (2001)

The ŠKODA SUPERB also added a number of safety features to the Czech brand’s range: the braking system received the standard ABS anti-lock braking system and the EDS electronic differential lock. The ASR anti-skid system came in handy, especially in the case of the turbo-diesels and their considerable torque. The six-cylinder engines came with the ESP electronic stabilisation system with brake assist as standard. 

The sedan body protected the five occupants not only with its rugged construction, but also with four standard airbags – specifically two front airbags, plus a pair of side airbags for the front seats. Airbags to protect the occupants’ heads in both rows of seats were already being offered at an affordable extra cost at the time. Bi-xenon headlights with washers were also available, while the more demanding passengers were pampered with electrically adjustable and heated front seats, Climatronic automatic air conditioning and a navigation system with a colour display. 

Regent? SUPERB!

The Czech carmaker used the name SUPERB for the very first time on 22 October 1934 in connection with the testing of the Š 640 prototype. The alternative under consideration was “Regent”. Production of the car with a 2.5 l/40.5 kW (55 hp) engine started in March 1935. Additional equipment included a car radio with six vacuum tubes and a rosewood box behind the front seats. Before the Second World War the ŠKODA SUPERB had established itself as a modern, elegant and well-built car offering great value for money. Almost yearly innovations brought even more powerful engines and a wider range of equipment. 

Seven successful years

As time went on, the SUPERB range naturally continued to increase in utility value in terms of model-based care. The 2005 model brought a significant increase in interior variability. The rear seat backrests were now divided in a 1/3:2/3 ratio, so that the sedan’s luggage compartment could be enlarged from 480 litres to 945 litres.

The limousine also had novelties such as an umbrella box in the back door.

Production of the first modern generation of the ŠKODA SUPERB at Kvasiny ended after seven years on 17 March 2008. A total of 136,068 units had rolled off the production lines. In addition to the Kvasiny plant, this model was also made in China, Ukraine and Kazakhstan. In total, almost one and a half million SUPERBs of all modern generations have seen the light of day since 2001.

Even more attractive successors: the SUPERB II & III

In March 2008 the second new generation of the SUPERB made its debut at the Palexpo on Lake Geneva. This time, it had a body with an innovative Twindoor, which combined the advantages of a sedan and a liftback. The SUPERB COMBI estate version followed roughly a year later. 618,490 second-generation SUPERBs were built between 2008 and 2015. They were popular with customers and the specialist media, with Top Gear, the respected and feared British TV show, naming it “Luxury Car of the Year” in 2009.

In February 2015, the third edition of the ŠKODA SUPERB picked up the baton, pleasing the eye with its unmistakable and tasteful design language. ŠKODA has once again raised the bar in terms of generous passenger and luggage space, and great care has been taken to protect the environment and to introduce innovative assistance systems. The SUPERB model was the first ŠKODA car to feature adaptive Dynamic Chassis Control (DCC), parking assist and tri-zone air conditioning. Later in 2015 ŠKODA launched the SUPERB COMBI estate version.