Although pictures like these aren't unknown on, we normally have to pay spy photographers to take them. These, of the forthcoming replacement for the Skoda Superb, were taken with the full knowledge and co-operation of Skoda. They asked me along to the Nevada desert this week, where they're currently shaking out the last of the car's refinement gremlins, in order to try out a development prototype of the new Superb, months before the rest of the motoring press will get a steer in it.

So what's it like? I first experienced the Superb from the rear seats, which was a good place to start. The ride quality is first class, with excellent damping and first-rate interior refinement. It was easy to hear everything the driver was saying. Rear leg-room is genuinely limo-like, the seats are first-rate too and the bootspace likely to top 500 litres, with the option of folding the rear seats.

The interior fittings are a clear step above those of the Octavia. It’s a credibly upmarket cabin and finished in soft-touch plastics with numerous chrome bezels around the instruments, controls and vents, and a modest amount of wood trim on the dash. The large, clearly marked dials are unique, as are the climate controls. I also spotted a switch for Tiguan-style self-parking feature hidden by the gear-lever surround.