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My first glance of the latest Skoda Superb was while walking with a colleague between halls at the Paris Motor Show; I have to admit that on this occasion I was attracted by the bright body colours and the sharp exterior lines.

A few days later, I was able to take the wheel of the Superb and in every way it is worthy of the name. Did you know there has been a Superb around, in some shape or form, for some eighty years? In its latest guise it offers class leading space, refinement and very high levels of comfort. If you have never driven this Skoda model, take my advice and take the wheel- I can promise you are in for a big surprise. The Sportline variant first appeared two years ago and it has proven to be a wise decision by the company. Two bodystyles are on offer, Estate and Hatchback, my test example was the latter, an eye catcher with its sporty design riding on nineteen inch Vega alloys. There is more to set this model apart from the rest of the range, sports design bumpers, sunset glass, wide use of black trim and the Hatchback gets a rear spoiler. The sports theme flows to the interior, a three spoke Super Sport multifunction steering wheel with silver stitching, quilted Alcantara sports seats, LED ambient lighting, carbon dashboard trim, aluminium pedals and black headlining. This Skoda screams “sporty” at you. Overall the level of standard equipment is so very impressive. Included are Bi-Xenon headlights, Amundsen sat nav with an eight inch screen, front and rear parking sensors, Drive Mode select, useful dual zone climate control and cruise control.

Equipped with a specially developed sports chassis the Superb Sportline rides 15mm lower than the standard model and XDS electronic diff lock assists the handling in no small way. Now to the heart of the matter and in the engine bay, a two litre TSI engine with a useful 280PS allied to a six speed DSG transmission, both in perfect harmony capable of delivering quite a punch, rest to 100kph (62mph) in 6.8 seconds and forward to a top limit of 245kph (155mph). Braking is assisted by an automatic braking function, becoming more and more popular as new models hit the market. Lane assist is also featured on this Skoda model. The delivery of performance is simply super sweet and combined with excellent road manners this Skoda is sheer joy to be in charge of.

I should add that Sportline Plus models offer even more with Columbus sat nav, a 9.2 inch touch screen, blind spot detection, progressive dynamic steering, an electrically operated boot and heated front seats. Of course we have to look at the practical matters and the Hatchback version offers 625 litres of luggage space, this can be extended with the rear seat backs folded, the end result 1,760 litres of capacity. Skoda has the habit of providing little touches that please and this time, an ingenious single handed cup holder that allows you to open a bottle with one hand and a magnetic torch that cam provide up to forty eight hours of light. I did learn that there is a Superb Sportline model that can out run the model I tried, the two litre TSI 272PS 4×4 which can sprint from rest to 100kph (62mph) in 5.5 seconds. While the market currently may be dominated by SUVs there is still a slot for a good sports hatchback and Skoda has a winner with their Superb Sportline.

Ian Lynas