2020 Skoda Superb Sportline vs L&K | Differences explained between variants
Skoda marks the return of the executive sedan by launching the Superb facelift in two variants – Sportline and Laurin and Klement. Let’s see how significant the differences are
The Skoda Superb is one of the most underrated luxury sedans out there. The first generation Superb was launched in 2004 and it was always an exciting package – offering punchy engines, acres of cabin room, ample premium features and the driving dynamics of a proper European car. Now despite the onslaught of SUVs, Skoda isn’t showing the door to its flagship sedan. In fact, for 2020, the brand has launched the Superb facelift in India and it is available in two variants – Sportline and Laurin and Klement.
The punchy 2-litre TDI has been discontinued and the 1.8-litre TSI has been swapped for an all-new BS6 compliant 2-litre TSI. Skoda gave us keys to both these variants recently, so we thought of clearing the air on how different both really are. At Rs 29.9 lakh, ex-showroom, the Sportline is the more enthusiast-focused of the two, although only in terms of styling. The Laurin and Klement, at Rs 32.9 lakh, is more luxury-focused, offering more features and distinct styling. Let’s see how significant are the differences and if the additional price tag of Rs 3 lakh is justified for the L&K.
Design and styling
The biggest differentiator are the unique styling packages. The L&K gets a ‘Chrome package’ that includes chrome surround on the grille with vertical chrome slats, a chrome strip on the lower air dam that unites the fog lamps, chrome window frames, and another chrome strip at the rear running across the tail lamps. The Laurin and Klement badging also is in chrome and it does look rather exquisite. The cabin comprises a conventional beige and black colour scheme. Overall, it’s a design for suited and booted individuals with taste for elegant trims and luxury.
The Superb Sportline on the other hand looks properly sporty with blacked out elements all around. The grille is finished completely in glossy black and so is the strip uniting the fog lamps. The ORVMs and window surrounds are blacked out as well. Both variants get machine cut 17-inch alloys but the ones on the Sportline are different and look more sporty. At the rear, the Sportline gets all-black badging and the strip running between the taillamps is black as well. It gets a subtle boot lip spoiler too.There are major differences in the cabin too, with the Sportline getting all-black interiors and Sports seats with integrated headrests, and a heavy dose of Alcantara and faux carbon fibre inserts instead of the leather and piano black inserts on the L&K
Both variants are loaded with premium kit but there are certain key features that make the L&K justify its higher price tag. For starters, it gets ventilated seats with cooling and heating function, ‘boss button’ for electrically adjusting the co-driver’s seat from the rear, 11-speaker Canton sound system and adjustable head restraints for rear passengers under what Skoda calls a ‘power nap package’. The L&K also gets tyre pressure monitoring and fatigue alert that detects if the driver is drowsy while driving, triggering an alarm. And lastly, the biggest difference is that the L&K gets four driving modes - Eco, Normal, Sport and Individual.
Features unique to the Sportline include Alcantara upholstery, a fully digital cockpit and a flat bottom steering wheel. What we especially found ironic was that the Sportline, despite being sold as the sportier of the two, misses out on driving modes. Another noticeable irregularity was that the L&K misses out on a digital cockpit and gets rather conventional analog dials in the instrument console. The Sportline is more ‘driver-focussed’ sure, but the L&K would have done well to have it too.
Are they any different to drive?
Mechanicals on both the variants remain exactly the same. The Superb is powered by a 2-litre TSI that develops 187bhp and 320Nm of torque in BS6 tune. Now the L&K does get the aforementioned drive modes that alter the weight of the steering, throttle response and air conditioning settings according to the modes. Throttle is the sharpest in Sport mode while the Eco mode dulls the response by a fair bit to optimise fuel economy. The steering too, is in its heaviest setting in the Sport mode while being reasonably light in the Eco mode. Normal mode strikes a balance between both these settings. The Sportline feels closest to the L&K in its Normal setting. But apart from differences in throttle response and steering there’s no difference in the way both variants perform.
They’re both extremely fun-to-drive and the moment you step on the throttle, they lunge forward in enthusiasm. You are doing triple digit speeds before you even realise it. The Superb races to a 100kmph in a claimed time of 7.7 seconds but during our test runs we clocked a time of around 8.37 seconds, which is also reasonably quick. Suspension settings also remain the same and the ride quality of the Superb is plush. It’s in fact a highlight of the 2020 Superb. It glides over bad roads without being unsettled and despite being heavy, it’s stable even around corners. The solid dynamics and the peppy performance put a wide grin on your face.
From an enthusiast’s perspective, the Sportline is definitely the nicer looking Superb with its sporty blacked out elements and all-black interiors. On the other hand, despite the irregularities in the way Skoda has distributed the features on both variants, the L&K manages to justify its higher price tag with a bunch of premium features that change the look and feel of the cabin significantly, making it something a chauffeur driven owner would want to indulge in. If budget is no bar and you don’t mind splurging Rs 3 lakh more, then the L&K does make for an excellent choice. But if you’re an enthusiast who doesn't fancy the bling, then you would be more than happy with the Sportline.