Škoda Superb 3.6 VR6 B6 | An Enthusiast's Luxury Sleeper?
To an average person’s surprise, the Superb name was originally introduced in 1934 with Škoda’s Superb full size luxury sedan and the name lasted until 1949. After VAG’s acquisition, they revived this name to be used for a completely new mid-size sedan. The production of the new Superb was started in 2001. The platform was shared with VW China’s Passat Lingyu. However, in this post I will be talking exclusively about the Škoda Superb B6 i.e. the 6th generation manufactured from 2008-2015.
[Note: This post will not include points covered in the previous post that was about the Volkswagen Passat B6. I recommend you check that post out first, so here is the link https://drivetribe.com/p/is-the-vw-passat-b6-good-as-a-cheap-UyoNrdP0THWzrydBwXX44Q?iid=TXvifR93Rbq1cULqFNwn5w
With more than a decade passed after its introduction and four years passed since the discontinuation of the B6, these cars are available for cheap prices in the used car market thanks to depreciation. This means we can now buy these high quality luxury sedans with performance varying from moderate to good depending upon the trims. Before I get any further, I want to get over with this following point: VAG cars are very expensive to maintain and you may have trouble arranging spare parts. If you can deal with it, you will have a nice time. With that point out of our way, I am going to explain all the trims available in the Indian used car market briefly:
[Note: Skip to point 11 and the next part if you wish to read about the VR6 exclusively.]
1. Elegance 1.8 TSI AT was the base model now available from prices ranging from ₹3.5 lakhs to ₹12 lakhs. However, in most cases, you can get them at around 5-6 lakhs. I would suggest settling for one with a price in the middle. It is powered from a DOHC turbocharged I4 1798 cc petrol engine producing 158 bhp and 250 Nm. Being the base variant, it may lack some important features so you should buy a higher trim. A stage 1 ECU remap may squeeze out power north of 210 bhp and torque north of 310 Nm. The transmission is a slick 6 speed DSG.
2. Elegance 2.0 TDI CR AT was the base diesel model. Available at prices between ₹4 lakhs and ₹14,00,000. The optimum prices would be in between ₹5.5-₹6 lakhs. Under the hood is a measly 1968 cc turbocharged direct injection engine producing 138 bhp and 320 Nm. A stage 1 remap would get it to a mediocre 185 bhp but a high 410 Nm! The transmission available here is a 6 speed DSG.
3. Elegance 1.8 TSI MT was the base petrol model with a 6 speed manual transmission. The engine is the same as mentioned in the base model. The prices for this variant may vary from ₹4 lakhs-10.5 lakhs. The optimum price would be around ₹6-8 lakhs.
4. 2.0 TDI PD was a trim technically same as the Elegance 2.0 TDI CR AT. The prices for this trim range from ₹4 lakhs to ₹13 lakhs. The best buy would be around ₹5-7 lakhs.
5. Ambition 1.9 TDI CR AT had the worst performance of all the trims. The engine produces only 105 bhp and 320 Nm, which can be tuned to 140 bhp and 320 Nm. The transmission available was a 6 speed DSG. The prices are ₹4 lakhs-₹14 lakhs.
6. Elegance 1.9 TDI CR had the same performance as the diesel Ambition 1.9 TDI CR AT but paired to a 6 speed manual transmission.
7. 1.8 Style TSI AT was technically the same as the Elegance 1.8 TSI AT but with more features. The prices are in between ₹3.25-12.5 lakhs.
8. Ambition TSI MT was technically the same as the Elegance 1.8 TSI MT but with more features. The prices are in between ₹3.5-₹9 lakhs.
9. 1.8 TSI AT was technically the same as the Elegance 1.8 TSI AT and 1.8 Style TSI AT but with more features of course. The prices are in between ₹5.5-10.5 lakhs.
10. 2.0 L&K TDI AT had a diesel engine underneath producing a better 174 bhp and 350 Nm, paired with the 6 speed DSG. With a stage 1 tune, it can produce power north of 205 bhp and 420 Nm. These
11. 3.6 FSI 4x4 is the go to Superb if you are like me! While all the other ones are front engine, front wheel drive, this is AWD! This is one of the finest AWD sedans you can get in India, and that too at an extremely affordable price of ₹2-11 lakhs! The engine is a 3597 cc V6 petrol producing a whopping 260 bhp and 350 Nm. Of course, with this engine, you do not get a delicious manual transmission but an equally awesome 6 speed DSG. The engine can be stage 1 tuned to at least 280 bhp and 370 Nm. Although the torque cannot match the figure of the 2.0 TDI but the power totally compensates for it. Besides, this car is a proper sleeper despite the chauffeur-driven limousine feel.
12. 1.8 TSI Style MT had the same engine as the Elegance 1.8 TSI MT, 1.8 Style TSI AT, 1.8 TSI AT but with a soulful 6 speed manual transmission. The prices remain in between ₹5.5-11 lakhs.
13. 2.5 TDI AT was another interesting diesel V6 option, although not as good as the 3.6 V6. It was powered by a 2494 cc diesel V6 engine producing 163 bhp and 357 Nm in stock and 205 bhp and 306 Nm on a stage 1 ECU remap. The price could be in the middle of ₹6.5-13 lakhs.
Reasons to buy one of these:
With all of that out of our way, I will now focus on the reasons to buy a Superb, especially a V6 model.
Price: As you just read, these cars are available in prices between ₹2 lakhs and ₹17 lakhs and that something in between that price could be reasonable for an appropriate car. As I mentioned before, being a VAG car, the after sales prices are bound to be higher than similar cars like Toyota Camry and Honda Accord. You may also need to deal with the unavailability of spare parts at service outlets. Even more problematic is the insufficient number of VW/Skoda/Audi service outlets and dealerships in India. A reason to buy Passat/Superb over Camry and Accord is that due to the saturation of depreciation, all four cars currently cost almost equal despite their different factory prices. However, I would suggest you to buy this car only if you have a service outlet in your city else you will be stuck in a condition like me where we are compelled to drive our Vento to Lucknow to get it serviced. A perk in Superb B6 over the Passat B6 is the plenty of options, especially the V6 ones. If you are able to find any of these cars at a good price, you could buy it over the Passat. In India, as you may know, it is very difficult to find cars with such performance at this price.
Performance and Fun Factor: I will put this unbiased- Superb is not the best car when it comes to the pleasure of driving. The electric steering of B6 does not have a better feel and feedback than the hydraulic steerings of the Japanese Camry and Accord. This car is oriented more over the comfort of driving than the pleasure of it. It may get better if you get it tuned by a professional but stock, it does not portray its potential. The heavy 1.5 ton body takes it toll on the body roll and it does not corner as good. The disc brakes on all four corners is a good addition but is common in Accord and Camry as well. Moving further to the transmission, the 6 speed manual is good to have fun but the DSG is just too good with the pedal shifters. The lower trims may not be the best highway cruisers but the V6 ones are just too good to let go. These sleepers can get your highway cruise as joyful as a much expensive new luxury sedan, if not more. However, this performance takes its toll on the mileage and you will surely get a bad mileage while cruising at high speed. All of these perks however, cannot deny the inability to corner good. I would suggest you to get an Octavia vRS if you at all wish to have a good handling car but for sheer performance, this European beauty is almost like no other.
Practicality: Practicality is the biggest highlight of this car. Superb is even superior to the Passat in terms of luxury. Of course, Honda Accord and Toyota Camry have their benefits including price and fun factor (that I described above); Passat and Superb have bountiful features at a similar price. You get many features in Passat and Superb that are foreign to the originally cheaper Camry and Accord. Some features are upmarket enough to compete with the entry-level cars of luxury brands like Mercedes-Benz, BMW and Audi. This takes the comfort on a whole new level. The rear legroom is just big enough to fit a mountain and similar is the case with the boot. Ease of driving is Superb’s another perk.
With the big amount of options available in this big sedan, you get to choose from front and all-wheel drive layout, manual and DSG transmissions and multiple engine options- both diesel and petrol. You can opt this car if you are looking for mediocre performance and exceptional luxury at a budget; this is the way to go. If you want sleeper performance at a budget, this is the way to go. Just keep in mind the big amounts you would need to maintain this car.
The only real alternative to this car is the Passat and I do not think it comes near the beauty and performance of this Czech masterpiece. The Japanese Camry and Accord cannot be compared as well as they fit in a much tighter budget. Mercedes-Benz C-Class, E-Class, BMW 3-Series, 5-Series, Audi A6 and Audi A4 also do not belong to this territory as their prices are although similar in used condition, their maintenance costs would be even expensive.
Highway Performance : 10
Cornering Performance : 5
Ride Quality: 9
Parts Quality and Reliability: 7
Modification Potential: 3
Value For Money Factor: 8
Best Score Yet: 7.88/10.00 (Toyota Fortuner 3.0 4x4 MK1)
What score will you give to the Škoda Superb 3.6 VR6 B6 as the cheapest Ultimate Sleeper?
I rate this sleeper an average 3/5 stars!