Let’s take this opportunity to look into the past together with the Mladá Boleslav car company and remember the history of this car. We recently focused on the first generation, today it’s the turn of the “two”. It is also an exceptional car in many ways.
The second-generation Superb was introduced in March 2008, first as a strange cross between a sedan and a liftback. In the fall of 2009, the Superb Combi arrived. This practical body made its debut in the second generation.
“The second generation was very unique and for the first time there was a station wagon, which I think is really good. Among other things, the design of the limousine was influenced by the unique solution of the TwinDoor tailgate, thanks to which the Superb II was both a sedan and a liftback. The interior then continued the trend of custom solutions and moved the car a significant step further,” describes the second generation of the Superb model Peter Olah, today the head of interior design at Škoda Auto, who was already working at the car company during the development of the car and also prepared some original (and ultimately unrealized) concepts interior.
Olah also mentions a unique feature that the Superb offered – a double-opening trunk lid. Škoda named it TwinDoor. At the press of a button, only the lid opened like in a classic sedan, but with another touch it was possible to open the entire rear part, including the rear window.
“This solution was reflected in the design of the rear pillars and the entire back. I also had to design a recess for the double control of the lid, and we spent a long time solving the location of the license plate,” recalls the author of the second generation’s exterior appearance, designer Zdeněk Cibulka. The brand eventually moved into the rear bumper, which is a rather unusual solution. “But it helped Superb optically a lot,” says Cibulka. In addition, this solution was simpler in terms of production.
In addition, such details did not have to be solved with the station wagon. “Today’s head of exterior design, Karl Neuhold, was given the task of preparing the station wagon model. It was based on my limousine design, with the fact that the car is identical up to the B-pillar, from there it is new. Jens Manske, the chief designer at the time, was also heavily involved in the station wagon with Karl Neuhold, and I must say that they did a great job,” Cibulka praises the second body variant.
“I dare to say that the second Superb started the modern era of really beautiful Škoda station wagons,” adds Peter Olah.
And how was the design of the second generation created? “We were given the task of building a big car on the smaller PQ35 platform, that was a challenge in itself. At the same time, I wanted the appearance of the second generation to be more distinctive, more original. I worked with the fact that it must be clearly visible on the car that it is a Škoda car, at the same time it should be visible both in the entire model range and in comparison with the competition,” remembers Cibulka. “I also assumed that the car should follow the first generation, so for the lights, for example, I started with their horizontally inverted form and then developed it further,” he adds.
In addition to its original design, the second generation of the Superb was able to afford some other innovations thanks to the shift in technology. “For example, Škoda began to place more emphasis on wheel design, and thanks to the shift in headlight technology, we were able to work even more with details,” recalls Petr Nevřela, who specializes in light design at Škoda Auto and worked on the facelift of the second generation Superb. “The lights and other details of the facelift were created according to the visions of chief designer Jozef Kabana. The task was to expand the car optically, during the facelift we were able to rely more on LED technologies in this task, which started to become commonplace at the time,” recalls Nevřela.
The second generation, after the 2013 modernization, received characteristic headlights with daytime running lights, which emphasized the eye motif. The design of the rear lamps was also new, where LED technology could once again speak more to the appearance. “We developed the idea of the Škoda signature in the form of the letter C,” says Nevřela and adds. “In addition, we differentiated the individual models hierarchically in such a way that the Fabia then received a C consisting of one precise strip, the Octavia two and the Superb three LED strips after the facelift.”
Space, new dashboard layout and front umbrellas
Škoda put great emphasis on the interior, which has changed significantly compared to its predecessor. Of course, he continued to use mechanical and electronic components from the concern’s “warehouse”, but this time completely without adopted surface parts.
“For the instrument panel, we continued to respect simplicity and tried to lighten it optically as much as possible and at the same time expand it. The high center console and the division of the instrument panel into layers also helped us to do this. A large role in the optical extension was also played by the decorative strip, which runs across the entire instrument panel to the doors. The chrome framing of the low and wide blowers, radios and air conditioning controls in turn evoked a feeling of premiumness,” explains the philosophy of Miroslav Jaskmanicki, who is the author of the interior design of the second generation.
An interesting detail that the team of interior designers dealt with at the time was the umbrella. The predecessor already had it, but one thing has changed significantly in the second generation. “The second generation stretched and still had a record space in the back, but we still had discussions about whether the umbrella should be more of a matter for passengers in the back or in the front,” recalls Jaskmanicki.
Finally, it was moved to the front door, where the umbrella was available for both the driver and passenger. Of course, this required a slightly new concept of the door filling so that there was space in the door for the umbrella.
The second generation further developed the emphasis on practicality and spaciousness, which is why it became a universal car for a very wide group of users, managers, taxi companies, but also families. “What I like about the Superb in general is that you can drive in a limousine without being flashy. It can be a normal car for a family, but in which you will experience the comfort of significantly more expensive cars. It’s actually an incredibly fair car and the second generation fundamentally supported this concept,” Petr Nevřela evaluates the car.
And Jiří Hadaščok, another designer, agrees with him. “When I sat down in the double Superb for the first time, I actually had no major expectations. Then I drove it to Munich on business for two months and suddenly I was surprised at what the car gave me. I drove early in the morning, after four hours I got off it in Munich feeling well rested,” he recalls his driving experiences. “I had small children at the time and I drove them in the back in child seats. The car was so spacious that I couldn’t reach them from the driver’s seat,” he smiles.
Of course, generous space remained for the third generation, which appeared in 2015. We will focus on it next time…