During an enthusiastic one-on-one chat with now-departed Citroën chief Vincent Cobée, he proved that the best-laid plans can always be subject to a whim.
It had been set out in writing that under no circumstances was I to drive the Oli, the one-off, £1 million concept car set to go on a nation-tonation tour to energise dealers and customers prior to anyone outside the firm getting behind the wheel.
But who did the person who set it out in writing report to? Well, Monsieur Cobée, of course, and as he was the one asking, who’s to argue? Everyone hurried to prepare the Oli. Autocar had an exclusive.
Of sorts. Full disclosure: we were in an empty show hall in the NEC, Birmingham, not on the open road. But it was a special opportunity, for both giving us an early insight into the Oli’s capability and underlining Cobée’s reputation for forging his own path - albeit just a few weeks before it was announced he had stepped down from his position to pursue "personal projects".
The overwhelming impression as I weaved round the pillars, stopping, going, turning and only slightly aware that Cobée was in the passenger seat watching over me, was just how remarkably normal the Oli felt to drive. It may look, feel and be remarkable for how it challenges conventions in almost every way, but it’s clear that, with the benefit of a well-sorted electric platform to sit on, there’s no hint of a compromise in how it drives as a result.