Top 10 greatest DriveArabia stories of 2017
At the beginning of very year, we do a rundown of our best original stories from the previous year. We did some big things in 2017. We managed to keep revenue steady despite economic challenges, so you can be sure we’ll be around for years to come. We’ve also managed to keep our crown as the most popular automotive website in the region that doesn’t depend exclusively on paid traffic to artificially boost numbers. We underwent a site redesign to bring it up to modern standards. And we started Arabic video reviews with our very own Arabic editor, Tammam. Oh, and we bought (not borrowed) another car for our long-term fleet, the Chrysler 300 SRT. We gave away a car to charity. And did we mention we drove a Bugatti Chiron? Yeah.
For obvious reasons, Bugatti test-drives come around only once every few years. Our resident veteran journosaur Gautam got to drive the all-new Chiron at the international launch in Portugal earlier this year, making us one of the first people in the world to review Bugatti’s new hypercar king. And then that same car went on a world tour and ended up in Dubai, where we got to drive it hard again just a few weeks ago. Forget all the “budget” hypercars from McLaren et al — driving the 1500 hp Chiron at full throttle is a life-changing experience. Here’s the local drive report.
The Bentley Bentayga is currently the world’s fastest SUV, with a top speed of 301 kph. And we got to drive it around Dubai for a few days. While we didn’t try a top speed run, we certainly were able to confirm that it is indeed fast. It was even the star of our first Arabic video review, where we try it out offroad without actually going offroad (because we weren’t allowed to).
Not to be outdone, Jeep launched their long-awaited Hellcat-powered Grand Cherokee, and claiming to be the quickest-accelerating SUV ever. We can certainly attest to that as well, since we drove the Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk at a racetrack near Las Vegas, complete with launch-control runs. It could break the 4-second mark on the 0-100 kph run all day.
In what turned out to be the year of the SUV, Alfa Romeo held the global drive event for the Stelvio QV right here in the UAE. The first Alfa SUV claims to be the fastest SUV around the Nurburgring. While we didn’t drive it in Germany, we certainly did drive it at Jebel Jais in Ras Al Khaimah. It’s just a crossover, but it’s quite a fast car.
The Porsche Cayenne Turbo doesn’t have the cachet of being the world’s fastest SUV any more, but the new one actually is faster than the old one. We drove it around the Greek island of Crete. It is completely new from the ground up, immensely fast, and a case study on how to make an all-new car that looks like it’s just a mild update.
In keeping with our tradition of buying an average of one car every year, we finally picked up some Mopar muscle, something we’ve been meaning to do ever since we drove an SRT vehicle in 2006. The Chrysler 300C may not be particularly rare, but the updated SRT edition we bought is only sold in a few markets, with production figures of barely 2,000. That’s as rare as a supercar! It was a special order too, with all the bells and whistles. And we’ve been exclusively reporting away on how much it costs to run an SRT muscle-car.
A new car needs window tint in our region of course. And we figured this was a good chance to test if tint actually makes a difference in our harsh summers. While it’s not 100% accurate scientifically, we made some interesting discoveries.
Our resident veteran journosaur Gautam snagged an early drive of the Ferrari 812 Superfast in Italy. It’s Ferrari’s most important new car since the 488 GTB, and quicker than even a Ferrari Enzo apparently. Several months later, we got to try it out at the Dubai Autodrome itself. Here’s the Arabic video review.
We were one of the first people in the world to test the new Honda Civic Type-R, a car that remains elusive in Honda’s commuter car-filled local showrooms. And we have to say, it is mind-blowingly good. We also drove Honda’s future products, including the hydrogen-powered FCX Clarity, DCT-gearbox turbo Civic, and autonomous-driving Accord as well as Legend. Here’s a video of the autonomous cars in action.
The 300 SRT wasn’t the only car we bought last year. We also inadvertently ended up buying a Lorinser-tuned Mercedes-Benz S-Class (you’ll have to read the story to see how that could possibly happen). We owned it for a month or two, to get a feel for the best luxury 2009 had to offer (here’s an Arabic video review). And then we sold it and donated the money to the Maria Cristina Foundation and Dubai Cares as part of our annual CSR initiatives. That was probably a better feeling.
Another wonderful company showing that businesses do support those in need and are very generous. Thank you…
So 2017 was a good year for us. Let’s hope 2018 is good for both you and us as well.