First Drive

First drive: 2019 Rolls-Royce Cullinan in the UAE

First drive: 2019 Rolls-Royce Cullinan in the UAE

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.

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First drive: 2019 BMW 8-Series in Portugal

First drive: 2019 BMW 8-Series in Portugal

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.

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First drive: 2018 Bentley Continental GT in the UAE

First drive: 2018 Bentley Continental GT in the UAE

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.

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First drive: 2018 Ferrari Portofino in the UAE (video)

First drive: 2018 Ferrari Portofino in the UAE (video)

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.

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First drive: 2019 Ford Focus in France

First drive: 2019 Ford Focus in France

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.

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First drive: 2019 Renault Duster in Jordan

First drive: 2019 Renault Duster in Jordan

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.

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First drive: 2018 Fiat Abarth 124 Spider in the UAE

First drive: 2018 Fiat Abarth 124 Spider in the UAE

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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First drive: 2019 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 Convertible in the UAE

First drive: 2019 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 Convertible in the UAE

Chevrolet’s current-gen Corvette will be usurped in about 18 months by the revamped C8 model based on a tradition-shattering mid-engine architecture, but the C7 isn’t quite done just yet. Want proof? Here it is – the just-released top-dog ZR1, backed by performance stats that should send a shiver or two down the collective spines of the boffins at Zuffenhausen, Maranello and Sant’Agata Bolognese.

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