Skoda's New Large Car Tested & Revealed In Death Valley
9th November, 2007
The extreme conditions of the American desert were the setting for a test of two prototypes for the new generation of Škoda Superb model. The prototypes of the successor to the successful series, fitted with light camouflage, were shown by the member of the Škoda Auto a.s. Board of directors responsible for technical development, Dr. Eckhard Scholz, who said, “The New Superb is an exceptional car and brings a number of technical refinements and interesting solutions. That’s why we selected this untraditional form of presentation.”
The times of great Škoda saloon cars
There have been times in the more than 110 years of the brand’s history when Škoda has been represented by the original beauty of its automobiles, when they were modern, dynamic and astounded their environment. Great value was placed on every single detail of their construction and the workmanship knew no bounds. Škoda limousines were the epitome in travelling, with the highest level of comfort. Individual access to each part of the vehicle could be seen in the interplay of the details combining to form a perfect entirety while the Art Deco symbolised new trends. Four-wheel drive systems were also tested on Škoda vehicles and the international reputation of the Škoda brand extended to the shores of the Sea of Japan.
And these times have returned!
The new generation of Škoda Superb is ready to fulfil even the most demanding needs of customers in the mid-size car segment. Today, people interested in a mid-size vehicle demand one that is both practical and luxurious. It would be difficult today to find another vehicle that combines these two contradictory demands in a way even close to that provided by the Superb. The current, successful generation of Superb has established Škoda in the arena of the large saloon cars and customers are now acquainted with its presence in the medium- and upper-medium segments.
The new generation of this model has been developed from the very beginning as a completely new vehicle. The space and travelling comfort that the car offers places it among the leaders in the mid-size category. The intriguing development in the construction and design of the new generation of Superb will be the reason for a major change in awareness of this model range. The new generation of Škoda Superb, with its exceptional interior space, follows the tradition of the current modern generation.
Success of the current generation
The success of the current generation Superb is underlined, among other things, by the fact that in customer satisfaction studies in 2007 carried out by the internationally accredited organisation JD Power, the Superb was among the leaders. In Great Britain, the Superb was fourth in the family vehicle category. In first place was the Škoda Octavia. Overall, the Škoda brand was ranked as the second. In Germany, Škoda’s largest market, the Superb took second place in the mid-sized class and was the fourth best-liked car among German customers. Škoda ranked in ninth position among all the brands. In this most demanding European market, this is evidence of its above-average ranking and is a clear success for Škoda.
Technical Development and its expansion
The development of the latest model has been completely undertaken by the Škoda Auto Technical Development Department which is currently undergoing a marked development itself. Expansion and development of the current technical facilities involve an investment of € 38 million. The total work area for the technical development is being increased by some 70%. Dozens of new chassis engineers, electrical engineers and other development specialists will work in new facilities. It will be their job to ensure that research and development is carried out not only for the Škoda brand but for the whole Volkswagen Group. The overall building project will be completed by the end of 2008 and, after installing the most up-to-date technology, will be fully operational by middle of 2009. Offices, laboratories and workshop space will be located in the new Škoda Auto Technology Centre and here, the development in vehicle electronics and electrical equipment; the development of chassis and aggregates; test activities, such as acoustic checks; special investigations in a simulated sunlight test area; climatic chambers and the light tunnel and many other activities will take place.
The Technical Development Department at Škoda is the third-largest development unit within the Volkswagen Group today. The current expansion in capacity strengthens the Škoda brand’s development competence even further, confirmed by the number of new models introduced in the past few years. At the same time, it will enable the company to continue and to follow the rich tradition of more than one hundred years of developing and building automobiles in the Czech Republic.
The continuing development of the brand
In the past decade, the development of the Škoda brand has been very dynamic and the series of generation changes in the existing model ranges is now crowned by the introduction of the new Superb. However, this definitely does not signal the end of Škoda’s dynamic development as, in years to come, the continuing modernisation of model ranges and the development of completely new models will follow.
The vehicles on display in California, which are being put through exhausting tests in Death Valley, are test prototypes fitted out with 1.8 TSI/118 kW engines. In regard to its construction, this is the same engine which has been offered across the European Octavia model range since the middle of this year.
AFS (Adaptive Front light System)
One of the most important technical innovations is the bi-xenon headlight with the AFS function including retractable integrated headlights washer units with an automatic rain sensor and the “MAXI DOT” display. The abbreviation AFS (Adaptive Frontlight System) describes a system of adaptive front headlights. The system for controlling the headlights makes use of the possibility of changing the geometry of the headlights light beam and adapting the lighting in front of the vehicle to suit different driving conditions. The system works in following modes: “INTERCITY” (Headlight function in this mode is the closest to regular dipped lights. The right and the left headlights are in their basic positions. The mode is active at the following speeds: 0-15 km/h or 50-90 km/h.), “CITY” (The distribution of the vehicle’s light path is wider and shorter compared to the Intercity mode. When driving in a city, lighting footpaths and intersections are important rather than lighting objects at great distances. The left headlight is turned slightly to the left and tilted to avoid dazzling drivers in oncoming cars while lighting the entire road with adjoining footpaths. The mode is active at the following speeds: 15-50 km/h.), “HIGHWAY” (Long reach of the car’s lights and lighting the right and left lanes is important while driving on motorways. The left headlight is turned upwards and to the left and the right headlight is slightly lifted. The Intercity mode is switched over to the Highway mode gradually to ensure smooth and natural change of the light beam. The mode is active at following speeds: from 90 km/h; however, the Highway mode is the most effective at speeds higher than 110 km/h.) and “RAIN” (This function is designed for driving in poor visibility, for example in rain or heavy snowfall. The light path is wide and shorter than in the Intercity mode. The right headlight is dipped downwards and the left headlight is dipped to the left and downwards. This is to reduce the risk of dazzling drivers in oncoming vehicles with light reflected from a wet road. Activation of this mode depends on the vehicle’s travelling speed and is conditional on activating wipers for more than 2 minutes. For safety reasons, this mode is limited by speeds from 20 to 70 km/h to ensure sufficient reach of vehicle’s lights when travelling at higher speeds. The mode is deactivated automatically when the speed limit is exceeded or when wipers are inactive for more than 8 minutes).
This highly advanced system is supplemented by a rotating headlight function, cornering lights and the dynamic regulation of the headlight beam angle height. The combination of all of these functions has resulted in a well-designed system that adapts dynamically to the prevailing lighting conditions on the road, thus increasing driving safety - the driver can react more quickly to hindrances when these are better illuminated. AFS is paired exclusively with high-intensity discharge bi-xenon lamps which provide both the dipped and high beam functions. The driver can deactivate the system when required and use the standard dipped headlight and high beam function.
Presentation of the new Skoda Superb
Skoda will release further technical details and the engines offered for the new model at the public debut of the new generation Superb at the 2008 Geneva Motor Show.
And, yes, the Next Car team expects the new generation Superb will come to Australia, although no official announcement has been made as yet.
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