The first thing you notice is that a man needs to be on hand to not only open your door for you, but also keep it open while you slide inside. It all feels a bit Downton Abbey, but then you look at the hinges and realise that there’s not much holding this door horizontally. Said helper is definitely required.

Jump in and another chap in the passenger seat tells me to press hard on the brake pedal. He’s not wrong. This requires full-on, competition car levels of pressure before my minder is happy and engages drive. We’re limited to 15kph in a car park, but it’s amusing how sharp the steering is. We’re hardly going quickly, but the 7S reacts so fast to steering inputs that the photographer in the back seat cracks his head on the side window. 

The simple dash – speed, battery and range, plus a couple of cameras for the view behind – bodes well for the real thing when it arrives. As does the presence of physical controls for the temperature control.

It’s clear Skoda and the wider VW Group have been stung by the HVAC arrangement in the latest production cars. Daniel Hajek is senior designer of user interface at Skoda and is keen to emphasise that the brand has been listening to customers, spending plenty of time explaining all the haptic controls that work the temperature and can also control the touchscreen.

Hajek is conscious that even the latter needed attention from current screens. The massive 14.6in display is mounted portrait-style (more on that shortly), “with both a hand and elbow support while you’re using it. And we have divided it up, so the bottom has the major controls, while the upper section is for information and display.”

It certainly looks a lot more intuitive – there’s even a shortcut button for the video feed looking at the baby seat – and at least it shows that manufacturers are listening.

But the car’s party trick is the relax mode. If you’re parked up charging the 89kWh battery – incidentally with a faster, 200kW charge capacity than on the Enyaq – then you can press a button and all sorts of magic happens. The seats slide back and rotate towards the middle of the car, the touchscreen rotates to a horizontal position and the pedals and dash recess into the bulkhead. Basically, it turns into an automotive cinema.



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