85 years of the flagship ŠKODA Superb
Exactly 85 years ago, on 22 October 1934, ŠKODA unveiled the model name Superb. The name highlighted the quality and comfort of the brand’s new luxury vehicle, which until then had simply been released with the designation Š 640. Between 1934 and 1949, more than 1,000 first generation Superbs rolled off the production line. In 2001, the Czech car manufacturer revived the moniker, introducing the first modern generation of the ŠKODA Superb.
Inspired by the Latin word meaning ‘stately’ the first ŠKODA model to bear the Superb badge appeared in 1934. The first model of this series was 5.5-metres long, 1.70-metres wide and 1.66-metres tall. It 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.
Standard production for 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 a V8 engine were manufactured. In 1946, ŠKODA resumed production of a revised version with a six-cylinder engine before ending production for political reasons in 1949 after more than 1,000 units had been built for civilian use.
In 2001, the ŠKODA Superb made its comeback. 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. 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 hatch 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 had such high demands been placed on the design and the development of innovative technologies of a ŠKODA car. An abundance of ‘Simply Clever’ ideas were introduced and ŠKODA engineers created cavernous space for drivers, passengers and their luggage. The Superb offered new assistance systems from higher vehicle classes to increase safety 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 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 are sold in ŠKODA's largest single market. Germany is 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.