Roadsters aren’t the big-volume players in BMW’s line-up, but this genre has thrown up some of the Bavarian marque’s most iconic models over the years, dating back to the timeless 328 (1936-40) and sublime 507 (1956-59). In more recent times, we’ve had the offbeat Z1 (with its unusual vertically sliding doors) and the beautiful Z8 that served as James Bond’s ride in the 1999 blockbuster The World is Not Enough.
The Cullinan is a big deal for Rolls-Royce. And you know the new SUV is important to our region when the model hits UAE roads within weeks of the international drive event in the United States. While we weren’t invited to that U.S. one, we did get to try out the British carmaker’s first offroader in Dubai, if only on a strictly onroad drive.
Remember the BMW 8-Series? A large, eye-catching coupe built from 1990-99, it was in many ways a pioneer for the Bavarian brand. Apart from the low-volume M1 sold in the early-’80s, the 8-Series is the only BeeEm to date with pop-up headlights, and its other claims to fame include being the Bavarian brand’s only V12 model to be offered with a six-speed manual gearbox. What’s more, it was one of the company’s first vehicles to feature a multilink rear axle.
After more than a decade with just mild updates, an all-new Bentley Continental GT is upon us. We don’t mean to sound snooty, but we had driven different variations of the old model so many times (and Bentley was generous with new test cars annually) that at some point, we just stopped taking them because we couldn’t find much new to write about them. Yep, we said no to Bentleys. It was an excellent car, and we almost bought one for our long-term fleet years ago, but it felt like we had enough of it already. The new one changes all that with one major redesign.
We’ve already said before that the current Ford Mustang GT is quite possibly the best all-rounder sports coupe to come out of America ever. It’s still a fresh model, having hit the GCC only in 2015. However, a facelift as well as some thorough upgrades were introduced for 2018.
This is the brand new Ferrari Portofino, the carmaker’s new “entry-level” model, and one of the few cars in its (very high) price segment with a folding hard top. And unlike the previous California model, no one is going to claim that the Portofino is not a real Ferrari, because it looks suitably Ferrari-like whether the roof is up or down.
The all-new Jeep Wrangler, codenamed JL, has officially been launched in the Middle East and we got a first-hand experience of its capabilities in an event in Spielberg, Austria. The Wrangler, synonym to off-roading prowess, has improved from the outgoing Wrangler JK, which has been around a solid 11 years.
Ford’s Focus is a big seller in Europe, but it’s an underrated entity in our UAE market. Despite its tidy looks and arguably class-leading driving dynamics, the C-segment hatchback – and sedan – has been forced to take a back seat (in sales terms) to the likes of the Japanese and the Koreans in the GCC.
It may not be the first small, affordable or capable small SUV, the Renault Duster is however the people’s car of the crossover era. Bridging the gap between dedicated compact off-roaders like the Suzuki Jimny and small sensible saloons pitched at emerging markets, the Duster made the practical SUV an accessible option for budget-minded drivers, with 2.45 million sold since its 2010 launch as a Dacia and 2012 Middle East introduction as a Renault.
Italian cars have a certain kind of reputation. Japanese cars have a certain kind of reputation. You don’t have to think too hard about what we’re referring to, because the stereotypes are generally true. But what if you could have a car with Italian style that’s built by the Japanese? That is exactly what the Fiat Abarth 124 Spider is.
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