Exactly 85 years ago, on 22 October 1934, ŠKODA unveiled the model name SUPERB. The brand introduced the name to highlight the quality and comfort of its luxury saloons, which until then had simply been released with the designation Š 640. The first generation of the SUPERB ran off the production line until 1949. In 2001, the Czech car manufacturer revived the tradition, introducing the first modern generation of the ŠKODA SUPERB. In the body styles SUPERB and SUPERB COMBI, the series is now achieving success in its third generation.
Luxurious vehicles first rolled out of the Mladá Boleslav factory buildings of the car manufacturer Laurin & Klement more than 110 years ago. In 1907, the FF boasted the first inline eight-cylinder built in Central Europe. It was followed by other models with particularly smooth-running Knight six-cylinder sleeve valve engines and the prestigious ŠKODA 860, which featured an eight-cylinder engine and was manufactured from 1929 to 1933. The new-generation ŠKODA 640 then took over the sceptre. This model featured a particularly innovative central tube frame and independent suspension and was the first to bear the model name that still characterises ŠKODA’s top models today.
The name ‘SUPERB’ comes from English, which is ultimately derived from the Latin ‘superbus’, meaning ‘proud’ or ‘magnificent’. ŠKODA introduced the name SUPERB on 22 October 1934 to emphasise the exceptional character of the new Š 640. The first model of this 5.5-metre long, 1.70-metre-wide and 1.66-metre-tall saloon was presented to the then CEO of the ŠKODA Group, JUDr. Karel Loevenstein in January 1935. His wife Pavla chose the paint colour and opted for red.
The standard production of the ŠKODA SUPERB began in March 1935. The top model was powered by a 2.5-litre, 40.5 kW (55 hp) six-cylinder engine. The high demand quickly led to longer delivery waiting times: customers had to wait four weeks for closed-body versions and twice as long for the SUPERB convertible. In addition to the standard specifications, a car radio with six electron tubes and rosewood shelves behind the front seats were also available for an additional fee.
Almost every year, the company brought out further innovations with more powerful engines and a broader range of equipment. After building approximately 600 vehicles with SV valve control, ŠKODA introduced the SUPERB OHV in 1938 with a 59 kW (80 hp) in-line six-cylinder engine with a displacement of 3,137 cm3. Shortly before production was suspended in 1940 due to the war, a small series of the SUPERB 4000 with V8 engines was manufactured. In 1946, ŠKODA resumed production of a revised version with six-cylinder engines before ending production for political reasons in 1949 after well over 1,000 units had been built for civilian use. One thousand six hundred sixty military vehicles were also produced under the designation Š 952 and Š 956.
In 2001, the ŠKODA SUPERB made its comeback: the first modern generation of the series expanded the Czech car manufacturer’s product portfolio to include a mid-size saloon. From the outset, the SUPERB set the benchmark for rear legroom in its segment, impressing customers with its attractive design and excellent value for money. After building 136,068 units, ŠKODA launched production of the second generation in 2008. Its body style combined the benefits of a classic notchback saloon with those of a hatchback with a wide-opening boot that increased the already high utility of the SUPERB. A year later, ŠKODA launched the SUPERB COMBI with an impressive boot volume of 633 to 1,865 litres. The state-of-the-art second-generation SUPERB featured, among other innovations, the KESSY keyless access and start system, which was a first at ŠKODA. By 2015, 404,756 units of the saloon and 217,734 estate versions had rolled off the production lines at the ŠKODA plant in Kvasiny.
The current SUPERB series has enjoyed global popularity since 2015. Never before have such high demands been placed on the design of a ŠKODA car, and never have so many innovative technologies gone into the development of a new model. Never before have there been so many new ‘Simply Clever’ ideas and never have ŠKODA engineers created so much space for drivers, passengers and their luggage. There is a whole ‘phalanx’ of new assistance systems from higher vehicle classes to increase safety, environmental protection and comfort.
In 2019, ŠKODA’s flagship received a major update: Full LED matrix headlights and an expanded range of innovative assistance systems are just some of the numerous technical highlights that now make the SUPERB one of the safest and most comfortable vehicles in its class. The lifestyle version SCOUT and the 110 kW (150 hp) turbodiesel 2.0 TDI of the new, particularly dynamic, economical and low-emission EVO engine generation are also new. The SUPERB iV will complement the series at the beginning of next year as the first electric model in the series with plug-in hybrid drive.
Around 54% of all SUPERB models are delivered to customers in Europe. However, the Czech carmaker’s top-of-the-range series is also in demand in China: with 43,700 out of a total of 137,500 units delivered in 2018, almost one in three SUPERBs is sold in ŠKODA's largest single market. Germany was the second-largest market for the SUPERB with 19,200 vehicles. Between 2001 and the end of the first quarter of this year, a total of 1,280,600 units of the three modern model generations rolled off ŠKODA’s production lines.