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Old 25th July 2016, 01:27   #1
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Default Czech sleeper: Pre-owned Skoda Superb 3.6 FSI 4x4

Early 2016, we brought home a pre-owned Skoda Superb 3.6 FSI 4x4. 2010 Nov Regd and 63000 km on the ODO when she cruised down south from Mumbai to God's own country.

  • Fastest way to move your house
  • Sleeper looks
  • Handling for such a long wheelbase car
  • Safety net of 8 airbags, ABS, ESP, EDL and more
  • On-demand all wheel drive traction
  • Rear legroom and cabin space
  • Feature Loaded
  • Steering feedback
  • Low speed ride quality
  • Beige interiors
  • Large overhangs + long wheel base + 139mm GC, easy to scrape
  • Umbrellas are expensive
Czech sleeper: Pre-owned Skoda Superb 3.6 FSI 4x4-edited0944.jpg
Czech sleeper: Pre-owned Skoda Superb 3.6 FSI 4x4-img_20160515_082107.jpg

The following is a write-up of the initial ownership experience. The ODO currently stands at 67000km, slightly less than 4000km in the five months she has been with us. The car is cosmetically identical to the 1.8TSI / 2.0TDI Elegance variants. While on the outside there are slightly bigger alloy wheels and extra exhaust tips, the interior of a Superb 3.6 is virtually identical to that of any other Elegance variant. Only thing that would remind you that there is something special is the gearknob which reads 'DSG 4x4'. For the same reason (and partly being lazy), I won't cover the extensive trim and feature list of the Superb here. There are beautifully written ownership reviews here that capture all those fine details. See dkaile's Superb 1.8 TSI MT (Skoda Superb - A tryst with destiny), Hayek's 1.8TSI DSG (Skoda Superb - The Saga Continues - 5 Years, 44,000 kms)& Second gen facelift official review (Driven: 2nd-gen Skoda Superb (2014))

Apart from details of the search for the car, repairs carried out and initial driving impressions - I would like to explain what lies beneath the skin of this car, which makes it a stealth missile. Don't get me wrong, the 1.8 TSI and 2.0TDI are no slouches. The 3.6 is more than just a bigger engine plonked into the same car. The exterior bits that differentiate the car are purely functional than cosmetic. Interior is virtually identical. With 260hp @ 6000 rpm and 350Nm @2500-5000rpm, 6-speed DSG, all wheel drive, lowered suspension, uprated brakes & zero badges, this is a sleeper in my books. A complete package that complements all the extra twisting force and galloping horses, and deserves mention (something I haven't seen in most of the reviews for 3.6 back then).

Review Index:
Search, Research and the Find

What makes the Superb 3.6 different?

Repairs & Restorations

Initial driving impressions

Last edited by Aditya : 28th July 2016 at 15:08. Reason: Correcting review index
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Old 26th July 2016, 01:33   #2
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Default Search, Research and Find

Laura vRS (Black Panther - Skoda Laura vRS) was our first Skoda and first VAG car, brought home in Feb-2012. It was a decision where heart won over head, one that none of us in the family regrets. The car currently has 40,000km on the ODO. Was it ultra reliable, well not really. But better than the Hyundais we had owned till that point. The often poor service levels could be completely overlooked by the sheer fun of being behind the wheel. I drove it across 7000km road trips. These german cars come into their own on open highways and makes you fall forever in love with the car. The Laura changed our family's priorities while looking for a car. Build quality, ride and handling and powertrain became more important. This was also the reason that we replaced our 5 year old Verna 1.5 CRDI with a Polo GT 1.6 TDI in Sep-2013. The diesel has been the mile muncher, with the ODO reading close to 84000km in 34 months. Later on, dad wanted an automatic sedan. He wasn't fond of the clutch anymore, and there wasn't any real alternative other than the Vento TSI (again the Laura had skewed our priorities). So the third VAG joined in Jan-2014 and has clocked around 20,000km till date. Over the years, we made good relations with the Skoda as well as VW service teams. The dealer from whom we bought our Laura shut shop and Pinnacle Motors who replaced them from early 2015 have been doing a good job. While I could do all possible research before buying a used car, the key factor is having a workshop back home that you can count on to take care of it. D-segment cars depreciate badly, petrol ones more so. Superb 3.6 is no exception. In fact, owing to the ignorance of used car dealers, 3.6s were often badged as 1.8TSI in the adverts. I was looking for the 17" wheels and extra exhaust tips to confirm whether it was a 3.6 or a 1.8 (again no badges).

We had taken test drive of the Superb TDI back in 2012 and was primarily impressed by the luxury and rear seat comfort. I had casually enquired about the 3.6 to the dealer back then. No suprises there - they didn't know something like that existed. Either way a new Superb was out of our budget anyway. In between Skoda discontinued the 3.6 variant, it didn't reappear with the facelift either. It made business sense too, on paper the Superb 3.6 was out there only to be positioned against the Accord 3.5 V6. With both Passat and Accord stopping production, the flagship Skoda lost its relevance. Only once I had seen a 3.6 on the road and that was in Chennai. While searching for used examples, almost all the cars were from MH,except for odd one or two from GJ, DL or MP. With three VAG cars in the family, we were fairly confident on what to expect while buying a used Skoda. A lot of research was done to understand the differences, extra maintenance and known reliability issues associated with the car. Surprisingly the powertrain on the 3.6 turns out to be much more reliable. A ultra spacious cabin, comfortable rear seats, automatic transmission, cavernous boot, strong performance on paper, all the bells and whistles, safety net of 8 airbags, all wheel drive -- at the starting price of small premium hatchbacks, heart and head won. The 3.6 FSI is actually a more reliable engine than the 1.8 TSI. It uses the wet clutch 6-speed DQ250 and not the problematic dry clutch 7-speed DQ200. In fact reliability of the 3.6 FSI powertrain is on par with or better than the Superb 2.0 TDIs. This was further confirmed with personal contacts we have in VW tech support. I would like to mention here that only alternative to Superb 3.6 was the Honda 3.5 V6. But again skewed priorities and suggestions from bhpian Akshay, it was quickly ruled out. He also clarified that cars he knew were running fine on regular 91 RON. CVT vs DSG, AWD vs FWD, ride and handling, interior and plastic quality - Yup, we were pretty much biased to the euro alternative.

We started looking around for a used Superb 3.6 from July-2015. The last Superb 3.6s were delivered around early 2012, and of late 2011 manufacture. I came across only two 2011 cars during the whole search, which meant most of them were 5-6 years old. Low-mileage cars (15-20k only on the ODO) were quickly ruled out, since the previous owners had skipped services. Skoda cars aren't exorbitant to service and maintain compared to the segments they fall into. However things out of scheduled periodic service can be quite expensive and thus it was important that the car we would buy needed to be mechanically and electrically sound. Cosmetics is something you can take care of at any point of time. During the summer vacation (July,Aug '15) when I was at home, we shortlisted two cars (from around 6 listing across the web back then). One was in Pune and another in Mumbai. I had booked tickets to go and see the cars, but one got sold before I could make the journey. Dropped the idea and cancelled the tickets. In between I saw few more cars being listed across the used car websites, but not many peeked my interests. Later I was home for Christmas vacation and the search resumed. We had to factor in the cost of possible repairs, replacement of wear and tear parts and the big fat pro-rata based Life Time Tax that needs to paid to the Kerala RTO during re-registration. A Nov-2010, 63000km run example based out of Mumbai showed upon on CarTrade and fitted our budget. The same used car dealer had listed another Superb 3.6 earlier (during Oct-Nov 2015), but the asking price was beyond our budget. I believe most people would have looked away seeing 63000kms and the odd nicks and dents to the body work. Pinnacle Motors (Skoda ASC, Calicut) promptly looked up the service history of the car for us. It was well maintained and visited only authorised workshops for even wiper fluid refilling and tyre changes. The car was previously the corporate vehicle for Borosil Glassworks. I also later came to know that this was the same used car dealer from whom GTO had purchased his 530d

I was back in Netherlands and my brother and dad went to Mumbai on Republic day' 16 to see the car. I had made a list of items and asked my brother to check their working. They had a test drive of the car and all seemed good. Of course thorough checking warranted an in depth look by the ASC - we took a calculated risk here. Agreed on a price and cancelled the return flight ticket to Calicut. We couldn't stay back and wait till to get the NOC. The used car dealer promised to arrange it for us, and the car was driven from Mumbai to Calicut by my brother and dad. Below are few pictures taken when the car reached our home in Calicut. Nope, cosmetically she wasn't a 'pre-worshipped' car.

Czech sleeper: Pre-owned Skoda Superb 3.6 FSI 4x4-12656230_10206791962251221_1708979377_o.jpg
Czech sleeper: Pre-owned Skoda Superb 3.6 FSI 4x4-12633003_10206791963011240_329155711_o-1.jpg
Czech sleeper: Pre-owned Skoda Superb 3.6 FSI 4x4-12631169_10206791963611255_762273742_o-1.jpg

Missing badges on the wheel and scratches on the alloys
Czech sleeper: Pre-owned Skoda Superb 3.6 FSI 4x4-12631212_10206791962531228_1309749895_o-1.jpg

Evident that car never had exterior detailing
Czech sleeper: Pre-owned Skoda Superb 3.6 FSI 4x4-12637405_10206791962691232_396294363_o.jpg

The material on the door armrest had become sticky
Czech sleeper: Pre-owned Skoda Superb 3.6 FSI 4x4-12633008_10206805631472943_343345964_o.jpg
Czech sleeper: Pre-owned Skoda Superb 3.6 FSI 4x4-12630905_10206805630992931_880004522_o.jpg

The rear center armrest had a damaged clip and loose stitches
Czech sleeper: Pre-owned Skoda Superb 3.6 FSI 4x4-12669360_10206805630832927_936252140_o.jpg

Signs of poor upkeep of the leather interiors
Czech sleeper: Pre-owned Skoda Superb 3.6 FSI 4x4-12669877_10206805630792926_1794710091_o.jpg

Last edited by avinash_clt : 27th July 2016 at 20:13.
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Old 26th July 2016, 03:00   #3
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Default Superb 3.6 FSI : The differentiating bits

Differences relative to 1.8TSI/2.0TDI Superbs sold in India:

Engine: Strictly speaking it is not a V6 engine (thought it is badged and marketed so abroad), but a VR6 or a Staggered Inline 6-cylinder engine. VW is the only major manufacturer that have been using this particular cylinder layout. There have been many variants of this basic design, of 2.8L, 3.2 and 3.6L displacements, single vs double overhead cams, 12 valves vs 24 valves, port vs direct injection, positioning of intake/exhaust manifolds, V angle between the cylinders etc. VR - comes from the german 'V-motor' and 'Reihenmotor', V-engine and inline engine respectively. The layout is explained in the pictures below:

Inline 4 vs V6 vs VR6 layout
Name:  VR6 vs V6 vs Inline 4 layout.PNG
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In a VR engine, there is only a small V angle between the cylinders (10.6 deg in the case 3.6L VR6 FSI),whereas most V6s are 60deg or 90deg. This way it doesn't have 'banks' of cylinders like a V-engine, it is more balanced than a V6 and has only one flat cylinder head (V's require separate cylinder head and valve train for each bank). Thus compact in length compared to I-6, but narrower than a V6. It was primarily the packaging constraints (shorter than inline 6 for transverse front wheel drive application) and less complex than a V6 (no twin cylinder heads, lesser valve train, narrower and possibly cheaper) that led VW to develop this engine layout for their cars. Golf R32 and some other VW cars utilised a 3.2L VR6 FSI engine. Elsewhere the engine onboard the A4 3.2 FSI quattro is a completely different unit, a proper V6 engine in the Audi. The exhaust note of a VR6 is different from an I-6 (which it shares firing order with) as well as from a V6. It isn't butter smooth like an I-6 and rather has a slight burble. This is primarily due to the unequal intake and exhaust manifold/runner lengths that the the VR6 layout requires. Some say this is one of the best stock exhaust notes for an engine. In our Superb 3.6 though however, long exhaust pipes and mufflers in between doesn't produce anything dramatic unless you go to higher rpms.

V6 24V vs VR6 24v : Note the unequal intake/exhaust runner for VR6
Name:  V6 24V vs VR6 24V.PNG
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When you put two VR6 blocks in a larger angle, you get a W12 engine. This would also now make sense why all those W engines - W8, W12 and W16 are in VW group cars. If you are further interested to read about this engine layout, see here : VR-6 wiki article

All said, the VR6 FSI isn't an advanced motor like the 1.8TSI in the Laura. But nevertheless a unique piece of engineering. This perhaps would be the last of the VR6 engines in transverse engine VAG cars. Similar outputs of power and even more torque can be tweaked from the 2.0TSIs, while being more fuel efficient. Current generation of Superb has replaced the 3.6FSI with a 280hp 2.0TSI and is lighter, faster and more efficient. Coming back to the variant of VR6 engine in the Superb. The 3.6L VR6 FSI has been offered in various outputs ranging from 260-300hp and 350-400Nm of torque. The one in Skoda has the engine code CDVA and produces 260hp @ 6000rpm and 350Nm@ 2500-5000rpm. Torque curves reveal that, although being an NA, there is a flat mid range similar to that of a turbo petrol. 250hp is produced at 5000 rpm itself if required. This is evident when you drive the car. Being an NA engine remap potential is fairly less for the car. The block however is said to be able to withstand turbo/super charging and can sustain up to 700 hp as some forums abroad cite (this of course requires reducing the compression, going back to port injection etc). It runs a relatively high compression of 11.4:1. Fuel requirements officially recommended are min 95 RON. But all the cars in India have been running fine on regular 91 RON. Interestingly, the owner's manual quotes different fuel efficiency figures for BS4 specific models (so hopefully they do work on 91 RON). The unique engine layout also requires unequal length fuel injectors between cylinders. Timing chains are utilized and no replacement intervals have been suggested.
Note: The same engine (3.6L VR6 FSI) in its longitudinal application was used in the entry level petrol variants of Audi Q7, Porsche Cayenne, VW Touareg and VW Phaeton.

Transmission: 6-speed wet clutch DQ250 DSG similiar to the diesel Superbs and Passats sold here. The 7-speed units in the 1.8TSI can't handle the extra torque nor is it designed to fit along with all wheel drive layout. Also these are much more reliable than the 7-speed units and thus no major DSG worries. As I understand there is a power take off unit on the DSG for transferring power to the rear, and so there would be small modifications compared to the units on 2.0TDIs.

All wheel drive: On demand 4x4 using Haldex system at the rear. I think it runs virtually FWD in normal operation (95% power to the front) and power is transferred to rear only when the need arises. This 'need' is controlled by the algorithms on-board and a separate ECU is there for the Haldex system also, thus being slightly more advanced than simple slip and grip systems. The layout is very similar to that in a Yeti 4x4 and uses the 4th generation Haldex as in the case of Yeti (pre-facelift). Equivalent system are badged and used as '4Motion' of VW (Golfs, Passats, Tiguans etc with transverse front engines), Quattro in transverse engine Audis (TTs, A3s, Q3s etc).

Wheels and Tyres: Regular Superbs ran 205/55 R16 tyres. Superb 3.6 runs 225/45 R17 tyres as stock. Skoda India had played a little cost cutting with choice of stock alloy wheels. They are only 7.0J x 17 and not the ideal 7.5J X 17 which were supplied in other markets. 7.0J rims were intended for use with narrower 205/50 R17 winter tyres. The car had a mix of Pirelli P7 and Goodyear Eagle F1 tyres when we received it, uneven wear between them. We changed all four corners to Hankook S1 Evo2s. Spare wheel is also a full size alloy with 225/45 R17 tyres.

Brakes: Now the Superb 3.6 cannot be run with 16" wheels. A minimum of 17" wheels are required because of the bigger brakes it uses compared to regular Superbs. 345mm ventilated discs upfront, 310mm ventilated discs at rear. The setup was back then shared between Audi TTS, S3, Golf R, Passat R36 etc. Skoda gave it the extra oomph, but also complemented with added stopping power. Relatively 1.8 TSI / 2.0 TDI have 288/312mm vented front rotors and 272/282mm solid rear rotors.
The brakes provide solid bite and sheds speeds impressively for 1750kg car. In fact, these brakes on the Superb 3.6 are slightly bigger than what Mercedes had on their E350 V6s back then.

Suspension: It sits lowered than regular Superbs sold in India, 139mm vs 158mm. The Superb & Laura (including RS) in India had the rough road package as standard (an option in Euro markets, added GC as well as under-body protection). This utilizes longer springs and different struts. The 3.6 FSI didn't have the rough road package, even as an option in the Euro markets. Thus it runs on the same stock euro setup: relatively more unforgiving, slightly stiffer, but much better body control. In fact around wider corners, I would say the Superb 3.6 goes around better than our stock Laura vRS. Explained further in the initial driving experiences.

Cosmetics: Nothing to differentiate from regular Superb. No badges at all. Quad tail pipes are the only give away, and if you are quite keen, the 17" wheels and bigger brakes. Inside you have 4x4 badging on the DSG lever, everything else is like on any other Elegance variant sold here. The boot-lip spoiler is similar to the one in 1.8TSI (2.0TDIs didn't have them as I remember). This comes as a direct contrast to the Laura vRS, which mechanically had only variation of stiffer springs. Rather it had a whole lot of cosmetic upgrades (to be fair most of them are functional also) and badges everywhere. All this makes the Superb 3.6 FSI a total sleeper car in the Indian context. I initially thought of getting those V6 and 4x4 badges they have on cars in the UK, later dropped it.

Other interesting bits: Owing to the larger engine, the battery doesn't fit inside the engine bay anymore. It is relocated to the left side of the boot and sits neatly there (pictures in later posts). The same area is otherwise a storage space I believe. The 3.6 utilizes a higher spec battery also. The bigger engine, DSG & all-wheel-drive hardware adds 200kg compared to 1.8TSI MT and close to 150kg over the 2.0TDI DSG. I hope I have covered those information which previous reviews of the 3.6 failed to highlight

Although a petrol, 3.6 FSI gets damping under the hood like the diesel
Czech sleeper: Pre-owned Skoda Superb 3.6 FSI 4x4-damping-under-hood.jpg

The engine bay - Notice the air filter housing in the space occupied by battery in 1.8TSI/2.0TDI
Czech sleeper: Pre-owned Skoda Superb 3.6 FSI 4x4-engine-bay.jpg

Battery located in the boot. Notice the '+' sign on the cover behind air filter housing, it is a terminal for jump starting in the engine bay
Czech sleeper: Pre-owned Skoda Superb 3.6 FSI 4x4-jump-start-terminal.jpg

The VR6 is badged as V6 in both Passat & Superb. Broken HT cable cover couldn't be supplied by ASC. Replaced with imported VW equivalent
Czech sleeper: Pre-owned Skoda Superb 3.6 FSI 4x4-broken-ignition-coil-cover.jpg

Battery tucked away in the LH storage area of the boot. Battery stays clean since not in the engine bay
Czech sleeper: Pre-owned Skoda Superb 3.6 FSI 4x4-battery-boot.jpg

Full size spare alloy wheel with 225/45 R17 tyres
Czech sleeper: Pre-owned Skoda Superb 3.6 FSI 4x4-full-size-spare-wheel.jpg

Stickers on the fuel filler cap: Laura vRS vs Superb 3.6 FSI. Note the difference in RON requirements
Czech sleeper: Pre-owned Skoda Superb 3.6 FSI 4x4-vrs-vs-3.6-fsi-ron.jpg

Czech cousins
Czech sleeper: Pre-owned Skoda Superb 3.6 FSI 4x4-vrs-vs-superb.jpg

Last edited by avinash_clt : 28th July 2016 at 02:46. Reason: Specifications corrected
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Old 26th July 2016, 03:07   #4
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Default Correcting the niggles & getting back to shape

We had noticed that the car was due for service while taking delivery. Checking the service history revealed that the service reminder had come up due to time period exceeding 1 year. There was sufficient KMs to go before reaching the 15k mark and we decided to get all the required services done at Calicut. My brother topped up the oil to max level and took extra as backup (1.8TSI habits) prior to start of the journey. The car was driven down from Mumbai to Calicut. It wasn't driven particularly slow and returned 10.1 kmpl overall FE as per the MFD (wasn't checked with tank to tank method though). The oil levels were checked again after the trip and was found to be intact (1.8 TSI consumes a few 100 ml of oil if driven over long distances at a stretch). Respectable for a big NA engine and heavy car. My brother expects the 1.8TSI would have given 2-2.5kmpl extra, driven in the same manner. Dad also enjoyed driving the car. Overall, during the drive only minor niggles surfaced and were noted.

Periodic service & wear n tear component replacement:
We scheduled an appointment with the Skoda ASC to have a thorough check of the car. Apart from the fluid/filter replacements, the ASC came back to us with the need for replacing certain suspension bushes at the rear. The brake discs had also reached their minimum thickness. Pads had life left in them, but we decided to replace all four rotors and pads. Waiting for TSI specific parts have always been a problem and I expected the same for 3.6 FSI also. Surprisingly the basic scheduled service items were all shared with 1.8 TSI or 2.0 TDI variants and this includes air/fuel/oil/cabin filters, engine oil (same grade as 1.8 TSI), coolant, DSG oil / filter. Battery health report came out to be fine. So in the first visit to workshop all the above fluid / filter replacements were carried out. Specific suspension bushes, brake discs/rotors, Haldex fluid etc were ordered and received in 3 weeks. I had to provide part number for Haldex Oil to the ASC. A good thing about them is that they accept things that they don't know or haven't heard before. Changing Haldex oil was the first time for them, they let me know of the same and thus requested some extra time to contact Skoda and learn about it. In my books, that is a very welcome attitude to do the job. Haldex and rear differential are separate units situated close to each other. Each have their own separate type of fluid. They also have different fill and drain ports, I communicated all these so as not to create confusion. It was later deemed that the rear differential oil need not be replaced and is similar to 'sealed for life' manual transmission oil. Haldex however utilizes a clutch pack and thus has a recommended service interval of 4 years / 60,000km, same as that of DQ250 DSG.

Interior detailing and minor restorations:
The interiors weren't in top shape. It was definitely better than most cars that were up for sale and of similar vintage, but still needed detailing and restoration in some areas. For damaged leather and sticky material on the door armrests (three of them), the ASC could suggest only replacements at their level. For fixing the slow retraction of the seat belts also they could suggest only replacing them (a single seat belt assembly is Rs.25k by the way). So a visit to ColorGlo, Cochin (Interior Restoration - Color Glo (Ernakulam, Kerala)) was scheduled for fixing these. Pictures post interior detailing & minor restoration works below:

Sticky door armrest material restored
Czech sleeper: Pre-owned Skoda Superb 3.6 FSI 4x4-doorarmrest-colorglo-before-after.jpg

Rear center armrest leather restored
Czech sleeper: Pre-owned Skoda Superb 3.6 FSI 4x4-reararmrest-colorglo-before-after.jpg

Leather dyed and Detailed
Czech sleeper: Pre-owned Skoda Superb 3.6 FSI 4x4-interior-detailed-colorglo.jpg

Tyre Upgrade:
Having run sets of Michelin PS3s and Yoko Advan Sports in the Laura, we were aware of the better performance of these performance tyres. For the Superb 3.6, we needed something similar in 225/45 R17 (current mix of Pirelli P7s and Goodyear Eagle F1 didn't do justice to the car). PS3s or Advans were the obvious choices, but were rule out due to the load rating (only 91). The 3.6 being a heavier car is recommended with a '94' load rating. Tyre X, Cochin (Wheels & Tyres : Tyrex (Kochi)) was close by and knew the co-owner through social media. They were official distributor for Hankook tyres and he arranged a set of 225/45 R17 94Y Hankook S1 Evo2 tyres of relatively new manufacture. Abroad, these have positive reviews and are up there with Yoko Advans and Michelin PS3s. They were relatively cheaper also and are OE fitment to Mini Cooper S, Audi TTS etc.

New Shoes : Hankook S1 Evo2 (K117) 225/45 R17 94Y
Czech sleeper: Pre-owned Skoda Superb 3.6 FSI 4x4-hankook-s1-evo2-superb.jpg

Exterior detailing:
It was quite evident that the paint surface wasn't maintained properly. Signs of poor washing practices were easily visible. There were minor nicks and scratches across the body and there was no way to cover all of them without a full body paint job. There were some stone chips also (the car presumably has seen some proper highways and the KMs weren't racked up in city commute alone). It was decided to paint few areas where there were larger scratches. The alloy wheels had major scratches and the surface had eroded around the wheel bolt area. Four wheels were repainted. Along with this the car needed exterior detailing and first choice was once again SmartWax performed by the Pete's franchise in Calicut, Xpress Garage. Our other cars are also detailed by them. They took care to do all the above mentioned exterior painting / detailing jobs.

In between detailing (notice the newer rotors)
Czech sleeper: Pre-owned Skoda Superb 3.6 FSI 4x4-detailing-xpress-garage-2.jpg

A newer number plate gave the front a fresher look
Czech sleeper: Pre-owned Skoda Superb 3.6 FSI 4x4-detailing-xpress-garage-3.jpg
Note: My brother who is into two wheeler racing likes the registration number. 46 for Rossi and 58 for Marco Simoncelli.

Other Minor Mods:

Replaced all the Skoda emblems (front, back and four wheels) with the newer one. One has to note that the front/rear emblems' size and curvature are different for Laura, Superb second gen and Superb second gen FL. All the cabin LEDs (5 nos in the roof, entry lights in each foot-well - 4 nos, vanity mirror lights - 2 nos, lights in the boot - 2 nos) were replaced with Osram LED equivalents. These are not monitored via Can-bus and thus are a straight swap. Puddle lights in the mirror couldn't be replaced as there was an external mod done to the mirror by the previous owner, looked more like a shield to prevent strikes damaging the mirror glass. It was glued tight and I didn't want to mess around trying to remove it. If anyone is interested to find the corresponding Osram LED part numbers for respective halogen equivalents, check this:Osram LED retrofits.pdf

Overall repairs & maintenance done:

Below is a list of the overall jobs we got done on the car to get it back to perfect shape and hopefully have niggle free ownership further on:
  • Replaced Engine Oil and Oil Filter
  • Replaced DSG oil and filter
  • Replaced air filter
  • Replaced fuel filter
  • Replaced AC pollen filter
  • Flushed radiator and replaced coolant
  • Replaced Haldex fluid
  • Brake fluid replacement and bleeding
  • Replaced front brake rotors and pads
  • Replaced rear brake rotors and pads
  • Replaced auxiliary V-belt
  • Battery health checked
  • Replaced front lower arm bushes
  • Replaced front lower arm brackets
  • Replaced a rear support for engine/gearbox mounting
  • Replaced rear strut stop buffers
  • Replaced wiper blades
  • Replaced HT cable cover (ASC didn't have part number, imported the VW equivalent)
  • Replaced body and wheel monograms with newer design
  • Interior detailing and restoration
  • Alloy wheels repainted and other minor scratches corrected
  • Exterior detailing
  • Replaced cabin lights with LEDs
  • Replaced high beam halogens with Osram Night breaker equivalent
  • Four new tyres

Things that require attention:
  • Headlights: Though this car has a bi-xenon setup and AFS-2, it still has poor light output compared to our Laura vRS. There is a small oxidation layer build up on the headlamp surface, but this may not be the reason. Projector lenses look clouded compared to the one in Laura. But if this is caused by shield in the bi-xenon setup vs none in the Laura - again not sure. Will upgrade the Xenons to Osram Night Breaker equivalents next time, clean projector housing if possible and do the re-calibration of headlight leveling.
  • Steering: Compared to our Laura, the steering feels lacks feedback, especially at the center. But it still direct though. Laura is running on wider 225 tyres than stock. So whether it is a design consideration or a small dia steering wheel in the vRS that alters the steering force - need to look into. Could be tie rods or tie rod ends too, will check next time.
  • Headlamp washers: The spray is all over the place. Looks more like clogged nozzles. Cleaning them isn't easy and have to be careful.
  • Seat belts: Post some B pillar trim adjustments by ColorGlo, the seat-belt retraction became better than before, but still there is a stickiness in their operation. I suspect it is dirt/lint accumulation along the belts and the mechanical retractor. Thorough cleaning and silicon based lubricants might solve the issue.

Last edited by avinash_clt : 28th July 2016 at 01:42.
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Old 27th July 2016, 03:32   #5
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Default Initial driving impressions

I was home for a short vacation in May and drove the car around as much as possible. These are the initial driving impressions and most of the comparisons would be to our Laura vRS.

Performance & Drivability: 260 hp @ 6000rpm, 350Nm @2500-5000rpm, approx 250 hp available from 5000rpm. Skoda quotes a 0-100 timing of 6.5sec. In real life that number is irrelevant and in gear acceleration matter more. It is a fast car, no doubts, but it doesn't quite feel as 100 horses and 100 Nm more than the Laura vRS. The Superb 3.6 is heavier by almost 400 kg compared to the vRS and lack of a turbo kicking in might be the reason for this lack of 'feel' of being fast. Although a NA motor, the large displacement and FSI tech ensure a flat torque curve. Throttle response as expected is quicker than the vRS owing to the NA setup. The progress becomes brisk once you are in the peak torque zone. It will put other cars from the segment and all 4 cylinder Germans behind (except for a 328i or A45 AMG). Owing to the Haldex & sticky tyres, it never broke traction (relatively where the vRS might have). I switched to S mode on the DSG only once and found it useless on our roads. It holds onto the gear un-necessarily and is pointless unless you are on a track or doing drag timings. Manual mode with paddle shifters work better. There is enough of torque and power available for you to upshift early and still close those tight gaps. Sudden throttle inputs triggers the exhaust burble which transforms to a sweet exhaust note post 3.5k-4k rpms. The soundtrack would be pure and beautiful with a basic exhaust mod. Sadly there aren't many bolt on option for the Superb 3.6 FSI. Compared to the 7-speed DSG in our Vento, the one on the Superb is noticeably slower. Upshifts are quick, downshifts are relatively slower. Nevertheless faster than what you could manage with a MT on average. If you are in the right gear and above 2000 rpm, it is point and shoot. The larger displacement also ensures that it is easier to cruise at lower speeds in top gear, compared to the vRS. DSG allows for a better drivability at city speeds.

The beauty is you can do all this in a car that can seat four at utmost comfort and safety. There is safety net of 8 airbags (I believe Merc E-classes of the time offered only 6 in India), all wheel drive traction, ESP/EDL/ABS etc. Feature list of the Superb has always been impressive. You can have loads of fun, travel comfortably and move a house all at the same time. Yes I am a bit biased and can't deny that. The big germans require you to pay through the nose even for scheduled maintenance at authorized service centers. Apart from slightly more expensive wear and tear parts, I expect the service bills to be on par with a Superb 1.8 TSI / 2.0 TDI.

Fuel Economy: It does matter. Highway runs are showing averages anywhere between 8.5 - 10.5kmpl depending on the traffic conditions. In-city averages (traffic in Calicut isn't like a metro) vary between 5.5 - 8.0 kmpl. All based on simple readouts from the MFD, haven't checked the accuracy by tank to tank methods (might be in for a shocker). Overall, for similar driving conditions, the 3.6 has lesser FE by 1-1.5 kmpl in city conditions and around 2-2.5 kmpl on highways, relative to the vRS 1.8 TSI. The DSG helps the case in the Superb as one doesn't constantly fiddle with the MT of the Laura looking for better efficiency.

Ride and handling: The Superb 3.6 sits almost 25mm lower compared to the vRS. The suspension setup is the same stock Euro one. It handles exceptionally well for a car of this size. The long wheelbase makes itself noticeable only in tight corners. Behind the wheel, you easily forget the amount of real estate behind you. In fact around the same wide corners, the Superb 3.6 goes around flatter and tidier than the vRS. Mid corner bumps doesn’t unsettle her as much as it does to the vRS. Going over sharp crests and breaks between flyovers, the rebound is typical euro and similar to the vRS. Just one bounce up and you feel the car pulled backed to level immediately. You can feel the benefit of all wheel drive traction if you try to accelerate hard, while in a corner. The Laura would then tend to understeer a bit while the Superb holds the line without any fuzz. Around the same corner, going faster in the Superb didn’t pose any challenge. The ride is not exactly supple. The euro spec suspension ensure a flat ride at higher speeds, but for the larger undulations, you have to be extra slower. It is not as uncomfortable as in the vRS at slower speeds. I expect the 1.8TSI/2.0TDI Superbs to have a better ride quality. In fact every other car in the segment would be having a better ride quality. The low ground clearance, long wheelbase and larger overhangs makes it vulnerable to scraping at mall/parking entries, over speed breakers etc. This means during a long drive across newer routes, one has to be more carfeul with the Superb, which hasn't been the case with our vRS.

Braking: 345mm vented rotors at the front, 310mm vented at the rear. They do a stellar job. Brake bite is typical euro Skoda/VW, with the slightest of touches generating large braking forces. It may not be to every-ones liking, but we have been used to it now. I haven't felt the vRS's braking to be lacking at all. Owners are happy with stock brakes for stage 1 remaps. But the setup in 3.6 is easily one or two levels above the Laura. The 3.6 should shed speeds quicker than the 1.8TSI/2.0TDI variants. I won't be surprised if it is in the league of the bigger germans if ever there would be a chance to drive one back to back. The large diameter brakes completely fill the 17'' wheels. A rim design which lets more light in would complement them better.

Steering & Other remarks It might be with our car's wear and tear or something that requires replacement. The steering is bit lighter around the center than to my liking. It is direct, but feedback is lesser than in the vRS. The smaller radius, chunkier steering with perforated leather of the vRS is great to hold. The leather on the steering wheel of the Superb has smoothed over usage and doesn't grip onto my hands as I want it to be. The headlights as mentioned already doesn't have good illumination levels. I haven't driven another Superb during night and hence not sure if it is a problem with our car alone. Also I feel the seats in the vRS are better than the fancy 12 way electrically adjustable ones on the Superb. It is easier to find the perfect position in the Laura compared to the Superb. As a passenger, front or rear, Superb's seat will be better. But for the driver, I like the vRS seats better. The firmness and bolstering are spot on in the vRS. Seeing the anniversary editions of Superb/Octavia, I wish the car had those black leather and alcantara ineriors. Apart from a personal taste for darker shades of upholstery, they are easier to maintain and the alcantara mix shows less signs of aging over the years. The 8-speaker Bolero audio system sounds a bit inferior to our vRS, especially the bass levels. The air conditioning isn't a chiller and when parked in the sun, you wish it had ventilated seats like that in the Passat. There is a slight roughness to the engine during the first 5-10 odd kms of the day and later disappears. Need to check if fit is related to fuel quality / re-calibrations or something else reaching to operating conditions.

Overall: The vRS badge attracts lots of love and praise among the enthusiast community. Our car has been no different. Over the years, the car has got its own mini celebrity status among our friends and family circles. This is where the Superb 3.6 stands out. While enquiring around, many saw it only as a white elephant. The fact that the car is much different from the 2.8 V6 petrol of the first gen Superb, is a lesser known fact to many. Kudos to Skoda for providing this flagship car. A higher sticker price (31 lakhs OTR Mumbai for our car )for a variant which practically looked identical to the cheaper 1.8 TSI didn't help sales either. In my search for a pre-owned car, I found most of them to be registered as corporate vehicles. Either the enthusiasts are still holding onto their cars dearly or the sales that happened were primarily when someone walked into a Skoda showroom and asked for the most expensive variant of Superb. Given that the current Octavia vRS has yet to make it to our shores, I highly doubt if the flagship 280 hp 2.0TSI 4x4 3rd gen Superb will ever be sold in India. Till then the Superb 3.6 will remain as a unique proposition, one of the most under-stated D-segment cars. Hopefully the car will be a keeper and give us ownership experience on par with our vRS.

Some parting shots:
Czech sleeper: Pre-owned Skoda Superb 3.6 FSI 4x4-interior-front-1.jpg
Czech sleeper: Pre-owned Skoda Superb 3.6 FSI 4x4-interior-lh-front-side.jpg
Czech sleeper: Pre-owned Skoda Superb 3.6 FSI 4x4-interior-rear-2.jpg
Czech sleeper: Pre-owned Skoda Superb 3.6 FSI 4x4-doors-open-lh-side.jpg
Czech sleeper: Pre-owned Skoda Superb 3.6 FSI 4x4-superb-tyre-rim.jpg
Czech sleeper: Pre-owned Skoda Superb 3.6 FSI 4x4-superb-lh-front.jpg
Czech sleeper: Pre-owned Skoda Superb 3.6 FSI 4x4-superb-lh.jpg
Czech sleeper: Pre-owned Skoda Superb 3.6 FSI 4x4-superb-rear-lh.jpg

Apologies if you feel I have gone overboard, this car has been a very special buy after lots of research. Thanks for reading

Last edited by avinash_clt : 28th July 2016 at 01:47. Reason: Spelling
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Old 28th July 2016, 08:45   #6
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Thread moved out of Assembly Line. Thanks for sharing!

Lovely review of a nice car! The insights about the VR6 engine configuration you've provided are fascinating as well. Wish you many happy miles in this beauty!

Last edited by GTO : 28th July 2016 at 08:45. Reason: Bump
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Old 28th July 2016, 09:14   #7
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Default Re: Czech sleeper: Pre-owned Skoda Superb 3.6 FSI 4x4

Holy mother of god!

That is one awesome find. It is easier to come across Ferraris than these 3.6L sleepers in pre-owned market. Nice write up as well, thank you for sharing it with us and I wish you thousands of trouble free and happy miles with your Superb (it is literally Superb!!!).
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Old 28th July 2016, 09:43   #8
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Default Re: Czech sleeper: Pre-owned Skoda Superb 3.6 FSI 4x4

Congrats Avinash on this beauty! These Superb V6s were really very rare to find. And the best thing is its a full blown performance version with a lower suspension, bigger brakes and the 4x4 system. I've driven one a few times and man, the thing can move!
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Old 28th July 2016, 10:18   #9
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Default Re: Czech sleeper: Pre-owned Skoda Superb 3.6 FSI 4x4

Stunning! That RB colour is also a huge favourite of mine.

If you don't mind will you cost out all the repairs and modifications that you carried out? That would help others wanting to take a similar plunge for a used luxury cruiser like yours.
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Old 28th July 2016, 10:38   #10
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Default Re: Czech sleeper: Pre-owned Skoda Superb 3.6 FSI 4x4

This review is rightfully inclined towards the technical excellence in the car rather than its cosmetic bits. Good job.

This was one car that I had my eye on because of its sleeper status but opted out because the turbo petrols gave you almost equivalent fun.

I hope you've taken into account that not too many know the technicalities of this car and you will have to do a lot of explanations to the ASC to get any job done.

The easy way to assess whether the RON rating being used is right for your car is the crank times. It will take a slightly longer time to fire up when the RON rating isn't right.

Last edited by VeyronSuperSprt : 28th July 2016 at 11:01.
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Old 28th July 2016, 10:55   #11
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Default Re: Czech sleeper: Pre-owned Skoda Superb 3.6 FSI 4x4

Wow, this has to be one of the most awesome finds in the used car market! This is a true sleeper, and remains one of the most elusive vehicles to grace our roads. I remember when the variant first appeared in India, it was the only true alternative to the Accord V6, and I suppose things remained that way till both variants were eventually phased out.

Great find, and wish you many happy kms with that stonking engine!

Last edited by arindambasu13 : 28th July 2016 at 10:56.
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Old 28th July 2016, 11:10   #12
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Default Re: Czech sleeper: Pre-owned Skoda Superb 3.6 FSI 4x4

Just one word, wow! To be honest I didn't even know such a variant existed. When I read the title, I assumed it wasn't an Indian review. Lovely color, the interiors are pretty neat now and the detailer has done a commendable job. All you Kerala folks are taking our Bombay cars, not fair. Wish you happy motoring.
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Old 28th July 2016, 11:31   #13
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Default Re: Czech sleeper: Pre-owned Skoda Superb 3.6 FSI 4x4

Same here. Even I did not know that such a version exists. The details on the V6 and VR6 is a great read. Good job done on the overall repair and maintenance work and the car now looks stunning. Do keep us posted on the ownership experience of this rare find as there aren't many such ownership details available on the net.
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Old 28th July 2016, 11:47   #14
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Default Re: Czech sleeper: Pre-owned Skoda Superb 3.6 FSI 4x4

Wow, what a great detailed review of the 3.6 FSI. Clearly the most understated car in our market. Totally impressed by your thorough research and congrats on such an awesome buy.
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Old 28th July 2016, 12:19   #15
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Default Re: Czech sleeper: Pre-owned Skoda Superb 3.6 FSI 4x4

Just one word Avinash. Wow. The Superb that you have acquired is really Superb. And what intrinsic details you have mentioned while explaining the differences in V6 & VR6. Loved reading the technical aspects of your review. Some knowledge gain for me for sure

This is one reason I love our forum, the amount of collective knowledge that we have is tremendous. Kudos to all of us who not only review about cars, but on every aspect of the word "Automobile"

Congratulations on buying a truly gem of a car, and here's wishing you wonderful and lovely miles ahead on the car.

Drive Safe.
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