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Skoda’s crowning glory: Superb L&K 4×4 Estate with extras is eye-catching and sleek, says RAY MASSEY

The range-topping Skoda Superb L&K 4×4 Estate I drove recently certainly has a regal air — enhanced by the special Royal Green metallic paint created for the Coronation of Charles III.

The L&K stands for Laurin & Klement, the Czech car, motorcycle and bicycle maker set up in 1895 then acquired by the conglomerate Skoda Works in 1925 and re-branded as Skoda Auto.

The lion’s share of the ‘extras’ on my car, pushing up the final price from £46,590 to £49,480, came from paint (£1,045) and the near full-length panoramic sunroof (£1,330) which lets light flood in when closed, and allowed some fine open-air driving when retracted.

Packed with technology and safety kit, this is an eye-catching and sleek vehicle. For a 700-mile long-haul trip up north and back, it proved the perfect companion.

Riding on 18 in Propus alloys with anti-theft bolts, the range-topping model is powered by a 280 hp 2-litre TSI petrol engine linked to a 7-speed DSG all-wheel drive transmission, and accelerates from rest to 62 mph in a sprightly 5.3 seconds, with a restricted 155 mph top speed.

Flagship: Skoda Superb L&K 4x4 Estate with extras is eye-catching and sleek Flagship: Skoda Superb L&K 4x4 Estate with extras is eye-catching and sleek

Flagship: Skoda Superb L&K 4×4 Estate with extras is eye-catching and sleek

The blind-spot detection system was great at spotting other cars approaching from behind on fast motorways — and particularly cyclists in towns. You can choose how much you want to be ‘nannied’ thanks to speed limit warnings and driver fatigue sensors.

The vast 660-litre boot with an electrically controlled hatchback means plenty of room for baggage and kit. And that expands to 1,950 litres with the rear seats down. Plenty of storage cubby holes, too.

The well set-out dashboard and 9.2 in central display with touchscreen is easy to navigate, despite some sat-nav glitches.

Though painted green, it’s not the greenest car, with average fuel economy of 34.7 mpg and CO2 emissions of between 188 and 199g/km.

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The Estate range starts from £32,605 for the base SE model (£31,325 for the hatchback).

The L&K range starts from £42,340.

The Skoda Superb L&K has real presence and is both a practical country casual when out in a rural landscape, and with its dark privacy glass looks suitably executive material around town.

This gorgeous, eye-catching, long, low-slung sleek vehicle with a dominant grille and smart sophisticated styling, drew many admiring glances on my travels, with people even stopping to ask me about it when I parked up.

From the driver’s seat it is comfortable, relaxing, and suitably long-legged on motorways while also feisty, lively fun on twisting country lanes, with plenty of power and drive that comes into play just when needed, and gripping dynamic chassis control to help keep you planted.

The Skoda Superb L&K has real presence and is both a practical country casual when out in a rural landscape, and with its dark privacy glass looks suitably executive material around town The Skoda Superb L&K has real presence and is both a practical country casual when out in a rural landscape, and with its dark privacy glass looks suitably executive material around town

The Skoda Superb L&K has real presence and is both a practical country casual when out in a rural landscape, and with its dark privacy glass looks suitably executive material around town

From the driver's seat it is comfortable, relaxing, and suitably long-legged on motorways while also feisty, lively fun on twisting country lanes From the driver's seat it is comfortable, relaxing, and suitably long-legged on motorways while also feisty, lively fun on twisting country lanes

From the driver’s seat it is comfortable, relaxing, and suitably long-legged on motorways while also feisty, lively fun on twisting country lanes

Though painted green, it's not the greenest car, with average fuel economy of 34.7 mpg and CO2 emissions of between 188 and 199g/km Though painted green, it's not the greenest car, with average fuel economy of 34.7 mpg and CO2 emissions of between 188 and 199g/km

Though painted green, it’s not the greenest car, with average fuel economy of 34.7 mpg and CO2 emissions of between 188 and 199g/km

Other features include electrically adjustable front seats with memory and lumbar support, which is useful if you are undertaking an epic ride like mine Other features include electrically adjustable front seats with memory and lumbar support, which is useful if you are undertaking an epic ride like mine

Other features include electrically adjustable front seats with memory and lumbar support, which is useful if you are undertaking an epic ride like mine

The vast 660-litre boot with an electrically controlled hatchback means plenty of room for baggage and kit The vast 660-litre boot with an electrically controlled hatchback means plenty of room for baggage and kit

The vast 660-litre boot with an electrically controlled hatchback means plenty of room for baggage and kit

If you want a bit of added engagement, there are manual override paddles on the steering wheel for even greater driver involvement, though I was sufficiently chilled to stick mainly to auto.

However, as I was driving mainly in Sport mode (there’s also Eco, Comfort, Normal and Individual) mine wasn’t the most eco-friendly trip.

Other features include electrically adjustable front seats with memory and lumbar support, which is useful if you are undertaking an epic ride like mine.

Is it the best Skoda ever? It must be up there. But at £50k it’s a far cry from Skoda’s budget roots.

The original Skoda Superb first emerged in the 1930s when Skoda cars bearing that name were produced between 1934 and 1949.

After post-war years under Russian Communist control, a re-born Skoda re-emerged two years after the fall of the Berlin Wall when it was taken over in 1991 by Germany’s giant Volkswagen Group as its budget arm. But there’s nothing budget about this range-topping Superb.

In the wake of the post-communist ‘Velvet Revolution’ in the Czech Republic, more than 1.55million ‘modern era’ Superbs have been sold over three generations.

Skoda’s latest ‘royal’ flourish to honour King Charles III also comes as a new fourth generation Superb is set to be unveiled in August ahead of sales next year to celebrate 90 years after its historic predecessor was introduced.

Our new king’s links with the Czech Republic also go back a long way and he has visited several times in his role as the Prince of Wales. In the early 1990s, he set up a heritage fund with then-president Václav Havel to help restore and preserve the country’s historic buildings.

New Lotus hypercar set for UK 

Legendary Lotus’s new ‘family-friendly’ Eletre electric SUV hypercar is about to hit the road in Britain, priced from £89,500 with first UK deliveries later this summer.

The powerful range-topping performance-focused 905 hp Eletre R, priced from £120,000 accelerates from rest to 62 mph in just 2.95 seconds, making it ‘the world’s fastest dual-motor pure electric SUV’ with a 304-mile range and a top speed of 165 mph.

Powerful: Legendary Lotus's new 'family-friendly' Eletre electric SUV hypercar is about to hit the road in Britain Powerful: Legendary Lotus's new 'family-friendly' Eletre electric SUV hypercar is about to hit the road in Britain

Powerful: Legendary Lotus’s new ‘family-friendly’ Eletre electric SUV hypercar is about to hit the road in Britain

Two other versions are available: the base level (from £89,500) and the mid-range S (from £104,500), both packing a lesser 603 hp and a top speed of 160 mph, but with a longer range of up to 373 miles.

With dual electric motors, Eletre is Lotus’s first all- wheel-drive road car.

Rapid charging up to 80 per cent takes 20 minutes, and can supply 74 miles of range in just five minutes.

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