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Skoda Egypt shocks BMW and AUDI with new Superb - BMW reduces BMW 316i price

In Germany and Europe Skoda cars are bestsellers and compete with great success against its many established rivals such as BMW, AUDI and Volkswagen. Back in 2004 the previous Skoda Superb even won a comparison test against the Mercedes E-Class and the Cadillac CTS.

And as a first reaction from the Skoda competitors, BMW Egypt published an advertisement in the Al-Ahram newspaper (22.2.2010), informing the public that the BMW 316i Sedan, which is also equipped with a manual transmission, has been reduced from 249.000 LE to 215.000 LE in order to be able to compete with the 195.000LE price-tagged Skoda Superb.

But it seems the gentlemen at BMW Egypt / Bavarian Auto Group did not notice that the Superb is competing with the BMW 5 series and not the 3 series, and will soon also be forced to reduce the prices of the current (old-shaped) BMW 5-series, known internally as the E60 / E61, as well as the current (and very soon-to-be old-shaped) BMW X3, known internally as the E83, because the new-shape 2010 BMW
5-series, known internally as F10, has already been launched since last November 2009 and will be handed-out to the first customers in a few days, and also because the all-new 2011 BMW X3 will be launched in a few weeks.

So, will the new 2010 Skoda Superb (starting 195.000 LE) be able to outperform the old-shaped 2009 BMW 5 series (530.000 LE - 680.000 LE) and the new 2010 Mercedes E-Class (648.000 LE) in the Egyptian market ? Well, that’s what we will find out very soon.

After it has been presented in Europe with great success and after earning a lot of prestigious awards in these leading key-markets, Skoda’s long awaited Superb was launched on the 7th of February 2010 in Cairo by Skoda’s representative in Egypt, Artoc Auto.

For this exclusive event Artoc Auto’s chairman, the well-known business-man Shafik Gabr, managed to invite the Czech president Dr. Vaclav Klaus so he would attend the unveiling of the Skoda Superb himself. In addition to that a large number of high-profile officials, influential business men, public figures, diplomats as well as Egyptian celebrities attended this lavish Superb launch.

Following the speech of Mr. Shafik Gabr (Chairman & Managing director of ARTOC Group for Investment & Development), Dr. Vaclav Klaus (President of the Czech Republic) and Mr. Oliver Glaeser (Regional Manager Skoda Auto), some attractive Czech models unveiled the two four-doors models present on stage and the invited guest welcomed the Superb with a rapturous applause and climbed the stage to sit in and experience this new BMW 5-series competitor.

The Skoda Superb is available in Europe with three petrol engines starting from the 1.4 TSI (125 hp) till the top of the range 3.6 FSI (280 hp) and three diesel engines ranging from the 1.9 TDI (115 hp) to the 2.0 TDI (170 hp).

Skoda Egypt will offer the Superb with the 6 speed manual transmission in the 1.4 TSI version and the 7 speed automatic double-clutch DSG transmission in the 1.8 TSI version as a start.

And when the covers were unveiled the guests were able to enjoy the elegant and modern design of the 2010 Superb.

The appearance of the new ? koda Superb is indeed striking in its form. The implementation of the ? koda Auto design philosophy is mirrored in the strong three-dimensional form of the front grille, while its finely modeled chrome trimmings afford it a substantial and solid look.

The contoured lines of the bonnet extend to the headlamps, intensifying the horizontal direction of these lines, giving the new Superb its appearance of sitting solidly and self-assuredly on the road. The markedly emphasized front wings underline this feature. They give the new ? koda Superb its characteristic image which, in turn, characterizes it clearly as a member of the ? koda family.

The lines of the roof are an eye-catching feature. While its predecessor had a rounded, domed roof, that of the new ? koda Superb is elongated and blends elegantly into the radius of the C-pillars. This in itself is a clear indication of the exceptional interior spaciousness and, especially, the unexcelled room offered to the rear seat passengers. Chrome trim around the windows of the Ambition and Elegance models flows into a three-dimensional element at the C-pillar, giving the car a look that is normally only to be found in a higher class.

For the first time ever, the number plate holder is not integrated in the boot cover but instead is positioned lower down on the bumper. This creates space for the large ? koda logo, which radiates self assurance from its position in the centre of the vertical face of the boot cover. Below this, the attractive rear view of the ? koda Superb is enhanced by the model designation.

The two-part tail lamps with one half integrated into the rear wings and the other integrated into the boot cover are true to the design language used to date across the brand. In daylight they excel with their straight-lined and elegant form; in the dark, they light up in the typical night-time design of the latest generation of ? koda cars, forming a C-shaped light.

The new ? koda Superb is mounted on up to 18 inch wheels, effectively underlining the image of solidity and sporting elegance communicated by the bodywork.

In spite of being almost identical in overall length to the previous generation ? koda Superb, the new Superb exceeds the already generous interior measurements of its predecessor in almost all aspects thanks to the transverse engine design. This begins in the front, where space has been gained by moving the gear position.

The central tunnel has been designed in a much leaner form. And, in the rear, the knee space has been increased by 19 millimeters, affording the passengers unique travelling comfort. The new ? koda is 4,838 millimeters in length, 1,817 millimeters in width and has a height of 1,462 millimeters.

The interior, with its finely tuned mix of materials and excellent workmanship, satisfies the needs of even the most demanding customer. The dashboard with its wave-shaped design groups the operating elements into sensible individual functional units. All of the primary functions are concentrated around the steering wheel and quick access is guaranteed because of the logical location.

Thanks to the unique design, erroneous operation is practically eliminated. In certain trim levels, the steering wheel includes multi-function buttons for the operation of the radio unit, MFA and a mobile phone. Chrome inlay in the centre of the newly designed, leather wrapped steering wheel reflects the clear V-shape form of the car's front.

Storage space can be found to the left of the steering wheel, attractively designed door storage spaces, drink holders on the central tunnel and pockets on the rear of the front seats.

One new item is found when switching on the engine. The speedometer and tachometer dials move from their starting positions to the top of the dials and then return to zero, a quick and simple indication that they are functioning properly. This feature reminds the driver immediately with some super-sport cars which were the first to feature such a speedometer and tachometer dials move.

The foam cushioned dashboard surfaces, all friendly to the touch, are available in three different colours and three different versions of the decorative strips. Depending upon the model chosen, these ensure an exceptionally elegant, a stylishly sporting or a simply timeless ambience.

The shape of the bodywork, with its balanced proportions, the timeless elegance of its lines and the stylistic elements which combine to make ? koda automobiles unique, incorporates a new feature that will once again become the benchmark in the automotive world.

Although the design in this class has retained the traditional hatchback concept, the new ? koda Superb now has a tailgate which places practically no limits on what can be transported. The unique, patented "twin door" variable boot opening, designed by engineers at ? koda, offers an extremely practical, functional and well thought out solution.

Depending on what is required, either only the boot lid alone can be opened when smaller items are to be stored. Or, by operating two small switches on the edge of the boot lid to activate the electro-mechanical release, the ? koda Superb driver can lift the entire boot lid together with the rear window, allowing bulky items to be loaded.

The third rear lamp in the rear window lights up briefly signaling that the electric motors have locked the closing mechanism. The rear aperture is then almost doubled in size. When the rear seat backs are in an upright position, the boot will accommodate 595 litres of luggage - more than 85 litres more than its predecessor - if they are folded forward, the volume increases to 1,670 litres - a volume which even estate cars in this segment can scarcely equal.

Especially for the Egyptian high-society, who are used to traveling to the North Coast and Marina Resort in the summer-time, this will be a very interesting feature not available in the other competitors such as the BMW 5 series (530.000 LE), the Audi A6 (575.000 LE) or the Jaguar XF (875.000 LE).

The boot is fitted with high-quality carpeting. Below the solid base plate there is further space for storing personal objects, and underneath this is the spare wheel (except in the case of the GreenLine versions). There are eyelets at the side of the boot space to secure goods being transported while practical folding hooks provide perfect hold for shopping bags.

And, as if that were not enough, the third generation ? koda Superb also comes up with a whole range of further solutions and construction measures that far exceed its predecessor's capabilities. For instance, a combination of high-strength and "normal" steel with increased ductile strength is used in the chassis and the A- and B-pillars, and so affords occupants greater safety in a head-on or side collision by means of planned energy absorption.

A major benefit is in the weight reduction afforded by this modern construction. In spite of the complex layout of the bodywork, which exceeds all requirements for to pedestrian protection and crash safety this modern construction makes the car's weight only slightly higher than that of its predecessor.

On the other hand, the chassis of the new Superb uses ? koda's modular strategy - it uses modules from the ? koda Octavia (VW Golf) and Volkswagen Passat chassis. However, ? koda has taken these modules, adapted them and added new elements, giving the car its own driving character. The MacPherson wishbone front suspension is housed in an aluminum axle to provide greater kinematics while simultaneously reducing axle weight.

The ? koda Superb's suspension system increases driving comfort and reduces tire noise. Apart from this, as a result of numerous acoustic innovations, the new ? koda Superb is among the quietest cars in its class. The thickness of the front side window panes has been increased to 4.85 mm, noise attenuation packages reduce vibration and, thus, noise while new sealing materials reduce wind noise.

In developing the chassis, the ? koda Auto engineers have placed special emphasis on creating a balanced relationship between agility and comfort. Uneven road surfaces are mastered excellently. Body roll is almost completely suppressed thanks to careful configuration of the chassis components. The new electro-mechanical steering ensures greater driving dynamics. . Its feel has been optimized and the steering conduct and tracking provide the best feeling for the road surface and traction conditions.

The ? koda Superb has a completely new form of coordination between the ABS and ESP systems. The object of the development was to provide the new ? koda Superb with commanding and comfort-oriented properties without limiting driving pleasure in any way. "And, we have achieved this target, across the entire range" says Dr. Eckhard Scholz, Board Member for Technical Development at ? koda Auto. Careful adaptation of the individual chassis components gives the new Superb properties which are every bit as exciting as they are balanced and safe even in critical situations.

Best visibility is created not only by the generously proportioned front windows and the marked increase in the size of the exterior mirrors of the ? koda Superb but also by the Superb's new headlight system. AFS (Adaptive Front Light System) clearly improves visibility, adapting to the driving conditions and enabling the driver to recognize obstacles in the road sooner and to react quicker.

At lower speeds, town lighting and the cornering light function are active. In city traffic, at speeds between 15 and 50 km/h, the cone of the light beam is expanded to provide better lighting along the edge of the road.

At high speeds and when driving on the motorway (90 km/h and higher), the motorway light function is active. In this mode, the electronic control sets the lights so that the left lane is also illuminated. In addition, the light beam is raised slightly in order to illuminate the road further.

The third mode of AFS is similar to that of the current dipped headlamp function. This function is activated on country roads within a range of speeds from 50 to 90 km/h. AFS also possesses a cornering light function which is active at speeds of from 10 km/h and higher.

There is a special setting for driving in the rain which reduces the light reflection of the raindrops and, additionally, the headlight mode can be adapted for driving in countries where you drive on the left so that you do not blind oncoming traffic. In this setting, the curve lighting system is deactivated.

AFS is combined with Bi-Xenon headlights in the new ? koda Superb. ? koda Auto is the first brand within the Volkswagen Group to provide AFS with this extended range of functions. As an attractive detail, the headlamps bear the ? koda Superb model designation on their upper edges, a feature which will be also found in future ? koda models.

Passenger protection in the new Superb is of the highest level. Depending upon equipment level and version, there are up to nine airbags on board. Two front and side airbags as well as head airbags at the front and back provide all-round protection. The knee airbag for the driver and the side airbags in the rear are completely new. Anti-spin regulation (ASR) is standard in all versions of the new ? koda Superb.

Pedestrian protection measures reduce the danger of injury considerably in the case of an accident. ESP and ABS with Brake Assistant are part of the standard equipment depending on country. The hill hold function facilitates starts on hills and prevents the car from rolling backwards when the brake is released.

The range of engines for the new ? koda Superb fulfils the needs of every customer and presents a wide-ranging variety. There are three petrol and three diesel engines available. All of the engines operate with direct fuel injection and excel as a result of their low fuel consumption and emission values.
The weight of ? koda's top model weighs from only 1,425 kg so that even the basic engine models have no problem in providing plenty of power.

The TSI 1.4 litre, four-cylinder version is making its debut in the ? koda Superb where, despite its small capacity, it nevertheless provides 92 kW (125 HP) and 200 Nm torque peak at a level of 1,500 to 4,000/rpm. Only 10.5 seconds are necessary for the small, powerful engine to accelerate the new Superb from 0 to 100 km/h, while top speeds of up to 201 km/h are possible. Thanks to the down-sizing concept, the consumption for this petrol engine drops to the extremely favourable figure of 6.6 litres of fuel per 100 kilometres. The combined CO2 emission is at a figure of 157 g/km.

The main petrol engine in the new ? koda Superb will be the 1.8 TSI with 118 kW (160 HP). It provides peak torque of 250 Nm in the range from 1,500/rpm to 4,200/rpm and propels the front-wheel driven ? koda Superb to a top speed of 220 km/h. Acceleration is quick, needing only 8.6 seconds from 0 to 100 km; the combined fuel consumption lies at a figure of 7.6 litres per 100 kilometres and the CO2 emission figure at 180 g/km. As an alternative to the manual six-speed gear, the 1.8 TSI can be supplied with the automatic seven-speed DSG.

The top engine for the new ? koda Superb, which will be available shortly after market launch, is the new 3.6 litre V6 FSI with 191 kW (260 HP) and a maximum torque of 350 Nm between 2,500/rpm and 5,000/rpm. Its combined consumption is 10 litres of fuel per 100 kilometres; the CO2 emissions are 238 g/km.

The top engine powers the car from 0 to 100 km/h in only 6.5 seconds a top speed of 250 km/h. The 3.6 V6 FSI is supplied with the automated six-speed DSG and, so that the immense engine power is translated properly into driving power, permanent four-wheel drive. Power distribution is designed to be variable.

Although the 1.4 TSI version will be the most common among 'normal' consumers, I expect the 1.8 TSI version to be the best-seller among tourism companies, rental companies as well as company fleets in Egypt.

A fourth-generation Haldex clutch monitors the power electronically. During normal driving traction conditions 100% of the power goes to the front axle. When needed, the 350 Nm of torque can be sent to the rear wheels. This guarantees safe and reliable driving on all road conditions - not only in ice and snow during winter conditions.

The equipment in the three trim levels, Comfort, Ambition and Elegance, is of a high level. In addition, there is an extensive package of additional equipment available. Rain sensors, Light Assistant, Bi-Xenon headlamps with AFS, tyre pressure monitoring, braking and hill-hold assistant as well as parking assistant and a parking steering aid are only some of the additional features offered. The parking assistant works with a 4/8 sensor system; the parking steering aid has been developed by the Volkswagen Group and has been adapted especially by ? koda Auto to comply with the demands in the new ? koda Superb. It assists the driver when maneuvering into a parking space.

In the front seats, the driver and co-driver enjoy excellent side support and, thanks, to the excellently designed ergonomic seating surface and back provide the driver with a relaxed driving feeling even on long trips.

The electronic package leaves practically nothing to be desired. The features range from a high-tech navigation system with touch screen function and hard disc storage through to a top-class audio system with powerful high-end loudspeakers, CD player with MP3 connectivity in the Jumbo Box for external storage media or a card reader. All of these components are harmoniously integrated into the wave-shaped dashboard.

Well proven and unique fittings afford the new ? koda Superb the same user-oriented character which is a feature of all ? koda automobiles. Thus, the solution for holding a wet umbrella has lost none of its functionality. The water resistant storage space is in the inner panel of the left rear door.

A drainage system draws off the rainwater so that the umbrella undergoes "self-drying". When the door is closed, the umbrella storage space is invisible. The straight line design of the door does not break the line of the door panelling.

And now we know what Skoda and Rolls Royce have in common, since this reminds me very much with the umbrella storage space of the Rolls Royce Phantom.

New round instruments with clear glass white numerals guarantee best legibility both during the day and at night. Diodes for the diffusion interior lighting, CatVision, are incorporated in the head liner. As opposed to their predecessors, these LEDs are now white, providing the car with an even more exclusive interior atmosphere.

The clearly organized and easily recognizable gauges glow in a soft green light, the ? koda Auto brand color. In addition, the color green now has an additional important significance: ? koda takes environmental protection seriously in all areas. One way we protect the environment is by making nearly 95 percent of the new ? koda Superb recyclable at the end of its functional life.

For the competitors of the elegant and dynamic Skoda Superb in Egypt, mainly the 2009 BMW 5 series, the Audi A6 and the Jaguar XF, it will be very hard and fierce competition over the coming months. Especially when taking into consideration the very high quality and the extremely low entry-price of the Superb, which starts at around 195.000 LE in the 1.4-TSI (124 HP) version and around 450.000 LE in the 1.8 TSI (160 hp) version.

The reasons for this fierce competition are obvious: once passengers of the Superb decide to sit on the back seats, they will be impressed by the large leg room that put some luxury saloons to shame. In order for the reader to be able imagine the dimensions we are talking about here, below are a few numbers of the leg-room in mm of the direct and indirect competitors of the new Skoda Superb:

Skoda Superb 680-920mm
Audi A6 610-830 mm
Audi A8 690-910 mm
BMW 5 series 640-885 mm
BMW 7 series 705-940 mm
Jaguar XJ 665-910 mm

Another problem that will face the competitors of the Skoda Superb in Egypt, such as the Bavarian Auto Group which assemble the BMW 5 series in Egypt, is the absence of a 5 series model with an engine displacement that is less than 2000 cubic centimeter in the official car catalogue of this car. This will dramatically impair the competitiveness of its 5 series in this segment and will result in extremely high registration costs in Egypt, in a period time where people meticulously calculate their expenses and try to reduce it whenever possible. The same of course apply to the various Jaguar and Audi models aiming to compete against the Superb 1.4 TSI.

Down-sizing is the current trend not only in Egypt, but world-wide.

Unfortunately the Skoda Superb Estate was not on display, although its huge trunk combined with the stylish design would have definitely invaded the hearts of a lot of family fathers and mothers.

I am confident that the Skoda Superb Estate, which looks even better than the Audi A6 Avant (Estate), will be a best-seller in Egypt. Just wait for the summer season.

Stay tuned for a detailed test drive and comparison test between the Skoda Superb and its main competitors very soon here on !


(updated 22.2.2010)

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Readers Comments:

Alaa Shinnawi from Alexandria - Egypt wrote:
Dear editor,
I'm the first one in Egypt who bought this car ( 1.4 TSI ). I picked it from the free zone. All what Mr. Shafik Gabr said was very nice and really encourage for anyone to have this car.
But the price for this car is very high. Specially for the 1.8 TSI. If I have this money ( 450 000 EGP) i will buy a BMW 5 Series OR Mercedes E 250. We need from Mr. Gabr to review the cost of 1.8 TSI. I doubt that it will succeed in the Egyptian market with this pricing.
Finally, how can you compare this car with Mercedes & BMW? It's too hard to imagine this comparison.
I hope to see this car No 1 in Egypt, because I liked it very much.
Thanks to every mind and hand helped to produce this car, And of course many thanks to Mr. Gabr to give us the chance to own it.
Thank you.

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