As before, the new Superb is available with petrol and diesel engine options. The petrol engine is the VW Group’s 180hp, 1.8-litre direct-injection, turbocharged unit that also powers the Skoda Octavia and Audi A3 in India. This motor is tuned to make 320Nm of torque when mated to a six-speed manual gearbox, and 250Nm with a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic which is the other transmission on offer. In either form, the petrol Superb is an exciting car.
The 1.8 TSI motor is quick to rev, offers solid mid-range punch and does everything while making the right noises. It’s easy to get wheelspin on a hard launch and even when you floor the throttle in a lower gear, you’ll see the traction control lights flash wildly. There is a bit of lag when starting out but the engine’s power, even off-boost, ensures progress isn’t jerky at slow speeds.
The 1.8 TSI’s manual gearbox is a joy to use with a very precise shift action, but clutch travel is long. Power and torque are available in plenty through the gears and overtaking requires just a flex of the right foot. We did find the gearing quite tall though. Third gear stretches to 175kph at 6,800rpm and fourth goes well beyond 220kph. Flat-out performance is good with the petrol manual version posting a 0-100kph time of 8.42 seconds.
The petrol automatic does well for itself too with a time of 8.52 seconds from a standstill to the ton. Boost comes in a bit later here, at about 2,500rpm, but you’ll only feel the surge when you are aggressive with the throttle. In average driving, the automatic gearbox keeps the engine in the lower reaches of the rev band to maximise efficiency and progress is always smooth. Gearshifts are quick, be it in automatic mode or manual, via the gearshift or steering-mounted paddles. In manual mode, the engine runs deeper in the powerband, revving to 6,600rpm, and downshifting is quick with the paddles.
The 2.0-litre diesel engine version that comes mated to a six-speed dual-clutch transmission is exciting in its own right. The power figures should give a hint as to why. Where the last-gen Superb’s 2.0 diesel made 140hp and 320Nm, this one’s newer unit makes 177hp and 350Nm. And the performance jump is quite evident.
0-100kph takes 7.83 seconds compared to the old car’s 11.22 seconds and it’s quicker in kickdown acceleration too. Yes, there is a bit of lag initially but the diesel engine comes in its stride past 2,000rpm and revs quite readily to 4,900rpm. The gearbox works well, shifts are quick and you have the option to take manual control here too. The engine is quite refined as diesels go but there is a bit of clatter at idle and though not loud, it’s always audible.
L&K versions of the petrol automatic and diesel also come with drive modes that alter engine, gearbox and steering settings. You can choose between Eco, Normal and Sport settings and even customise the experience with Individual.