CZECH MANUFACTURER Skoda has released its Superb large-car entry into the Australian market today, a car that that will sit above the Octavia as the company's local flagship model.
Priced from $42,990 (before on-roads), the Superb blends luxury and practicality into a longer and lower package than the VW Passat.
And, unlike the Passat, the Superb has one significant ace up its sleeve - its innovative TwinDoor hatch system, which gives the Superb the outright practicality of a hatchback as well as the greater convenience of a conventional boot.
Essentially a door within a door, the TwinDoor's lower metal section is capable of opening independently of the upper glass section, allowing smaller items to be thrown in without having to lift the entire hatch. Need to transport some bulky flat-pack furniture? Press a button and the rear glass swings up and away, just like a regular hatchback.
With the rear seats up, boot space is a respectable 565 litres. Fold them down, and load volume increases to 1670 litres.
When all closed up, the Superb's rump looks no different to that of any other sedan, and the TwinDoor mechanism doesn't appear to add anything in the way of complex shutlines or hinge bulges.
Three powertrains are available from launch: a 118kW turbocharged 1.8 litre TSI petrol, 125kW 2.0 TDI turbodiesel and a 191kW 3.6 litre V6. The latter also comes with a Haldex all-wheel-drive system that's closely related to that fitted to the Passat R36, while the 1.8 TSI and 2.0 TDI are front-wheel drive only.
All engines come equipped with VW-sourced twin-clutch DSG gearboxes, with the 1.8 TSI receiving the latest seven-speed unit and the 2.0 TDI and 3.6 FSI getting six ratios each.
The 3.6 V6 is the performer of the bunch, launching from zero to 100km/h in a quick 6.5 seconds. The 1.8 FSI and 2.0 TDI aren't exactly slow, hitting triple digit speeds in 8.5 and 8.8 seconds respectively, but their true talent lies in fuel consumption.
The 1.8 drinks 8.8 litres of petrol per 100km, while the diesel sips just 6.9l/100km.
As for how it drives, keep an eye out for TMR's first drive report on the Superb. Our man Tim O'Brien is currently on the road putting each Superb variant through its paces, so stay tuned for his review - it should be just around the corner.