Posted by: englishdubai | September 30, 2008

Whose gonna drive you home tonight?

Eid Mubarak. Today is the start of the Eid Al Fitr celebration and the end of Ramadan. It seems in some way alongside the fasting I seemed to have stopped drinking alcohol and it appears to have effected by ability to blog. Nevertheless I am back and Ramadan has been a remarkably busy month for me top of which was getting a new vehicle.

While buying a car in Dubai is fairly straightforward – choosing a car is something that had me in a spin. A couple of years I was pretty much set on a 4×4, mainly so I could use it in the sand dunes, trips to Wadis and camping on the beach that me and my friends get up to the cooler months. With my Father allowing me to use the Hummer when I need it, this time around I did not have such constraints. So what to get?

My criteria were along these lines:

1.       Great air conditioning (the heat is not to be underestimated in the Summer)

2.       A great sound system

3.       A degree of luxury

4.       A degree of performance

5.       Something that can comfortably seat four people (For all the visitors business and personal I have)

6.       Something that will easily resalable in a couple of years

7.       A new car – the weather here can age cars really quickly

Sounds quite straightforward, right? Having spent a long term looking at the web, scouring the dealers and talking to my mates it was not so straightforward. American cars offer almost unbelievable value for money, Japanese cars are well priced and promise an easy resale, French cars were off the agenda due to a bad experience I had with one some years ago and German cars while offering quality are expensive here due to the strong Euro.

I decided that a luxury saloon was the way forward, something different from the Hummer entirely. A while ago I rented the drug dealer looking Chrysler 300c when I was in the UK. So I took it for another test drive in Dubai. The UK model I drove before was the Diesel here you have the ability to choose either the 5.7L Hemi or the monstrous 6.1L SRT8 – the dealer only had the 5.7L at the time so I took it for a test drive. The interior is spacious and has the high end American finish i.e. big comfortable seats with dials and knobs that go on forever. A quick trip revealed a couple of things – even with the 5.7L engine it felt a little lethargic off the mark, the handling was barge like and the brakes soft and squishy. With a 4×4 I could forgive this but not in a luxury saloon. I struck this off my list. While I was tempted to try the bigger brother I let it slide as it ultimately felt like a car for a generation ahead of me i.e. my Dad loved it.

We then made a stop at the Lexus dealer – I felt the IS300 was a little small and the LS460 while an amazing car was too expensive. After this I headed over to the BMW dealer. Now back in the UK I was a big BMW fan owning three of them in succession – this time having a poke around the 5-Series it did not feel “special” anymore and the 7-Series had astronomical prices so I left it.

Next stop was the Jaguar dealer. The press had been raving about the replacement for the S-Type the Jaguar XF. I really liked it. The fit and finish was excellent – I was amazed Jaguar have really come up with a product to match the Germans and I am certain the car will be successful. I would have loved the super charged SV8 but it was price wise out of reach and the next model down had a four month waiting list. Scratch that then.

I went over to the Volkswagen dealer and had a look at the Touregs. A couple of years ago whne buying the Hummer I had a serious look at the Touregs but felt I would be worried if I ever took it off road I would be fretting that I would scratch it. This time without that to worry about I was keen to what was on offer. I was disappointed. The top of the line V8 package has had almost an 33% price increase over the last couple of years and I was not keen on the interior of the V6 so I canned this as well.

A lot of my Lebanese friends said I should check out the Infiniti’s so I duly went to the showroom. The G37s to me seemed a little small and overpriced and as for the FX50 – I just couldn’t get along with the styling so I passed.

I was starting to get a little frustrated. After all I had a good budget and the was seemingly a lot of choice but one soon realises that your own personal preference and whims actually narrows the selection down dramatically. With my hopes fairly low I entered the Audi dealer. I was surprised.

Audi’s quality of product has really improved over the last couple of years and I found myself looking at a couple of different options. The A5 couple really is a lovely looking car but the 4 month waiting list put me off. My heart wanted a TT they are really good value in Dubai compared to a small Porsche but I really need four seats so will have to wait for a lottery win so I can buy one as a toy (Fat Chance) – this left the veritable Audi A4 or the car of year 2005 the Audi A6. Looking at the specs and choices between the A4 and A6 there was virtually no difference in price for either of the cars with the smooth V6 3.2Liter engine. The breakpoint for me was cars potential appeal to the local marrket.

The Audi A6 in the showroom they had was in “Dubai” Colours – ice white exterior and beautifully finished red leather with white stitching interior. Sat next to the A4 in steel colour (I really liked it) with a chocolate leather interior. I sat and watched people for 40 minutes in the busy dealership. The white Audi A6 drew the crowds – more than any other car in the showroom including the fantastic R8. It made the decision easy, with that much interest the colour, finish and marquee of the vehicle would give me a easy job for resale in a couple of years. As it was the brand new 2009 model, only five in white and red “special editions” had been brought into the country and it was offered with a 5 year service contract. I reserved the showroom car.

The interior:

I am one very happy Audi owner. I just need to get the windows tinted for it to be full Dubai spec.


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