One of the rarest F1s becomes the most valuable F1 ever in California sale
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£32,890 when new
What’s this then? Potentially the perfect car for bank robbers. Purloining fistfuls of cash and successfully getting away asks of a specific set of talents from a car, you see: it must be spacious, it must be quick, yet it must be subtle enough that witnesses can only shrug their shoulders when asked what the crims escaped in. Skoda used to make the perfect candidate, the old Superb saloon coming with a 3.6-litre V6 4x4 version that had a right old turn of pace, but looked pleasingly plain. This, effectively, is its replacement. So there’s a V6 under there? Um, no. Downsizing has wrapped its unforgiving claws around everything now, even exceedingly niche saloons. So the fightiest Superb now comes with a 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol engine.
Happily, it’s just like the one you’ll find in the Seat Leon Cupra 280, so it has 276bhp and 258lb ft, making it a smidge more powerful than the old V6 and notably quicker: the top speed is up to 155mph, while 0-62mph takes 5.8 seconds. Does it feel that quick? It really does. Nearly as quick as the Cupra feels, in fact, despite the fact it has around 150 kilos more to heave around. And that’s before the boot’s been stuffed with cash and the seats are full of accomplices. It rips through its revs - and the DSG transmission’s six gears - with real ferocity. And while it’s not as interesting to listen to as the old V6, the hard-edged sound is incongruous enough in a large limo to be really quite amusing. With four-wheel drive, the power is handled with ease, too; all the better for making relentless, unruffled progress no matter how complex your escape route. Is any of this relevant? Yes. Back in the real world, when you’re not clogging it, the engine is smooth and quiet in a way no four-cylinder diesel can be, and it mates with the twin-clutch gearbox nicely. Whether you’re negotiating traffic in town or sailing along a motorway, it’s all very hushed and comfortable. The suspension plays its part too, being soft and pillowy where a comparably swift BMW 3-Series would be firm and focused. This does mean it leans a bit instead of squatting down in corners, but it’ll still carry uncanny speed. It just won’t brim with fun and feedback when it does. A Superb with a hot hatch engine? Really? We’ll be saying this in vain, because diesel is such a default choice, but this is the pick of the Superb range. It’s a car with two personalities: one that envelops, and one that entertains. And all of the Superb’s usual strengths, ones resulting from its ginormous, meticulously screwed together interior, remain intact. If Skoda had presented a car as characterful and capable as this a couple of decades ago, when its image was still in no-man’s land, it would have melted people’s minds. Fine. So how much does it cost? Ah, yes. Price. Coming only on higher spec levels of Superb, the smallest amount you’ll pay is £31,020. Pick the bigger estate body and the poshest trim - the leather-swathed Laurin & Klement - and you’ve sailed past £36,000. It doesn’t feel bad value at that, far from it. But it’s a good job it’ll make the sudden acquisition of such funds so easy once you’ve bought it…
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