Who doesn't love an innocuous performance car? A sleeper if you must. Cars that conceal considerable performance beneath a distinctly ordinary exterior have a unique appeal, particularly as more and more new models seem to have more stylistic mouth than engineering trousers. The slightly underhand and dishonest nature of a sleeper, externally diffident yet boasting serious muscle underneath, has been charming petrolheads for generations - long may it continue.
Arguably the one thing better than a frumpy fast car from the factory is a homebrew special, because there are no limits beyond the builder's imagination. At the end of the day manufacturers have to sell the cars, so they must appeal quite broadly - a BMW M5 is subtle as performance cars go, but there are still a few tell-tale signs. And, well, there are long standing associations with BMW saloons being quick; finding out it actually is wouldn't be much of a surprise.
But a 560hp Skoda Superb? That would be a discovery. Because while Skoda has 20 years of making quick cars for the UK market, there never has been (and never will be) anything quite so extreme. The most powerful Skoda currently available is the 280hp Superb - a car we're extremely fond of after a year spent with it - and it delivers an expertly brewed blend of performance, practicality and subtly handsome good looks. Just imagine it with twice the power...
Once upon a time this car was a mere 2.0-litre Superb Laurin and Klement with 280hp. (Note how the luxury accoutrements make it even more unassuming than the racier Sportline.) However, thanks to a dedicated overhaul by PHer 'micloi' that's left no part of the car unchanged, it's now capable of 11.4-second quarter miles thanks to more than 500hp. In fact, for an in depth breakdown of exactly what has happened when, see micloi's thread on the Superb in Readers' Cars here.
Now the big Skoda is up for sale, so naturally we had to feature it. Seeing '560bhp' tagged onto the end of 'Skoda Superb 2.0 Laurin and Klement TSI DSG 5D Auto' can't help but raise a smile, the car looking for all the world like the other Superbs available right now. Alright, so the wheels aren't standard and some might clock the lower ride height, but this is still extremely discreet for the performance on offer.
The price? £34,995. While not the most expensive Superb available, that's still a fair chunk of cash. Credit where it's due to micloi though - he has responded to all of those on the thread querying his logic. The Superb is described as "special in its own way", and there really can't be anything else like it around.
So while there are plenty of other 500hp+ saloon options at this money - M5, Panamera Turbo, E63, XFR-S and so on - all of those are known quantities and familiar to everyone. A Skoda Superb that's as fast as a Lamborghini is not familiar, and for that reason it's hard not to admire the work that's gone in here. Hopefully this little piece of PH history can continue to entertain its next owner, and we can't wait to see what micloi can conjure up next...
SPECIFICATION - SKODA SUPERB 2.0 LAURIN & KLEMENT
Engine: 1,998cc, four-cyl turbo
Transmission: 6-speed dual-clutch auto, all-wheel drive
Power (hp): 280@5,600rpm
Torque (lb ft): 258@1,700rpm
First registered: 2015
Recorded mileage: 26,000
Price new: £37,120
Yours for: £34,995
See the original advert here.
(Specification for standard car)