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Letters & Questions

Long-term update: Running costs of Omar's BMW M135i in Qatar

Long-term update: Running costs of Omar’s BMW M135i in Qatar

It’s been a good while with the 2013 BMW M135i so let’s talk about running costs. Servicing is cheap as it comes with a 5-year service pack so the only thing I should have to cover are tyres (which I’m sure will be fearsomely expensive if I stick with the OEM Pilot Super Sports) and batteries. The car came as standard with a 3-year service pack, but the cost to extend this to 5 years was a paltry QAR 500 — a real bargain considering that this period will probably include at least one major service (Inspection II in BMW parlance).

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Letters: Picking up where I left off

Letters: Picking up where I left off


I haven’t posted letters on this blog for 5 months now. But I have been personally answering most of the email letters that has continued to pour in. It’s just that I’ve concentrated on building up other parts of the website, and I’ll have to say it paid off. This website is now the most popular English automotive portal in the GCC, in terms of visitors. There are now well above 100,000 users going through the pages of this site every month. This, of course, is only a small victory, as there are no benefits for me in this.

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Letters: Pollution, tint, SUVs & more

Letters: Pollution, tint, SUVs & more


So we went on a whirlwind tour of various ad agencies last month in a bid to get sponsorship for this “little” website, which happens to be the biggest English car portal in the region. After wasting all that time, all we’ve got are lame excuses and clueless rejections, while our smaller competitors enjoy the fruits of a good income. I have come to the conclusion that I will not waste this much of my own time any more, and will concentrate on my other income sources. Oh, but DriveArabia is going to continue as is, and every review I write will be a favour to the manufacturer,

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Letters: More social networking

Letters: More social networking


The reason there has been a lack of updates for the past week is that I was working on a ghetto version of a social networking site, so that you guys can show off your cars and talk to each other on a forum, instead of having to slug it out in the comments section of this blog. I have no programming skills, so I’ve kept it simple on purpose to reduce potential software problems. Let me know if you guys are up for such a “social networking” component, or that overblown mess known as Facebook is enough for you.

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Letters: Shows, photo shoots and more

Letters: Shows, photo shoots and more


Before the Sharjah Auto Show, and just after the Ford Ride & Drive, we had received a Jaguar XKR Portfolio for a few days. As soon as I checked out the car, I realised it isn’t much different from the standard XKR we already drove earlier this year. So I offered the car up to a photographer to try her hand at automotive photography for a morning, the results of which will be displayed later. On to the backlog of letters.

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Letters: Long-term ownership reports

Letters: Long-term ownership reports


I’ve been thinking of adding long-term car ownership reports ever since I started this website. However, back in 2004, I only owned one (old!) car, and the car companies totally rejected the idea, especially since I was a nobody then (and I still am a nobody, but slightly less so). However, it seems local rags CAR ME and Wheels have convinced some agencies to hand them free cars for months on end. Their rosy updates and choice of cars are different from what I had in mind, so I am now trying again to secure a car for a long-term test,

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Letters: Give up ethics for a few days of fun

Letters: Give up ethics for a few days of fun


Volkswagen just sent me a press release (since I guess I am still on their mailing list) about the spectacular international launch of the new VW Golf in Iceland, and how more than a thousand journalists attended from around the world. It is almost as if they are rubbing it in my face that I didn’t get invited to this free trip (although I know they didn’t mean to). As a gift to them, I put up the 1999-2006 Audi TT in the car guide, complete with fun facts. Expect some 5-star reviews of the Golf in local magazines in the coming weeks,

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Letters: We get international attention

Letters: We get international attention


Anyone who follows this website knows that I am usually the first in the region at breaking news about cars. Most people can also see past the lack of flash on this website and realise the decent content underneath the humble skin. So much so, that DriveArabia.com has been quoted in various big-time American publications as a source, including Edmunds.com for our Renault Safrane coverage, the Chicago Tribune for our early Chery coverage, and Autospies.com for breaking news about the CSV CR8. Pretty damn awesome, I’d say.

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Letters: Dishing out the advice

Letters: Dishing out the advice


I occasionally find “complimentary” local car magazines lying around in coffee shops, since most of these rags are given away free rather than sold or recycled. I was reading one of the “leading” ones (aren’t they all “leading?”), and saw an awful review that copy-pasted stuff from press releases. Do you really need to know whether the “knuckles” in the suspension system are made of steel or aluminium? Do you even care enough to know that a car has knuckles? I sure don’t. I turn the page and there is a review for another car, with no engine or gearbox details mentioned whatsoever.

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