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World Car Of The Year Award

Lamborghini Aventador, Dubai Police Super Cars, Yas Marina Circuit, Dubai Motor Show, Middle East Motor Award, World Car of the Year and dozens of exclusive test-drives - A busy year 2013 at Auto Arabia!

The last quarter of the year is always extremely busy for the professional motoring media, as many important events take place at that time of the year, such as the Frankfurt Motor Show, the Abu Dhabi F1 GP, the Dubai Motor Show, the Middle East Motor Award ceremony as well as many regional car launches and media test-drives such as the McLaren 12C Spider test-drive and the Bentley Flying Spur media launch.

Today (09.10.2013) a head-turning 2014 Lamborghini Aventador Coupe in a beautiful orange color joined our exquisite and fancy test-car fleet. A V12 engine with a displacement of 6498 cc, producing 700 hp at 8250rpm and 690 Nm of torque at 5.500rpm will make sure we will not get bored, keeping in mind that we can go from 0-100km/ in 2.9sec and reach a top speed of 350km/h (if we want and if the traffic rules allow that of course!)

Those 2.9sec when accelerating from 0-100km/h and the accompanying sound and feeling make other Japanese competitors (like the Nissan GT-R) or the other Italian competitor from Maranello seem like they are from a different planet.

In addition to that the Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi and the Dubai Autodrome circuit have both announced recently a very busy 2013/2014 racing calendar for both tracks in Abu Dhabi and Dubai.

This week we also received the nomination list for the World Car of the Year Award, which means that the next couple of months will be extremely busy with dozens of test-drives and new releases which needs to be tested thoroughly.

We also had a quick and unique get-together with the friendly team members of the Dubai Traffic Police Super Car Law Enforcement Unit, which we accompanied with our current test-car, the 2013 McLaren 12C Coupe, through the streets of Dubai.

Needless to say, our convoy consisting out of the five police cars, namely the Lamborghini Aventador, Bentley GT, Ferrari FF, Ford Mustang and the BMW M6, in addition to our McLaren 12C Coupe test-car was definitely the high-light and biggest tourist attraction of Dubai at that day. Unfortunately the Mercedes SLS AMG had to stay at the Dubai Traffic Police garage because of technical reasons.

With this impressive line-up in the Dubai Traffic Department fleet, only two important automotive brands are missing in this unique fleet: The Italian Maserati brand (either with the practical and very powerful Quattroporte GTS or with the super-fast and super good-looking Gran Turismo) and the British brand McLaren, either with its 12C Spider or its 12C Coupe.

So, which test-drive will you read here soon?

Well, during the next few days and weeks you will read many new and exclusive reviews here on !

One of the most impressive test-drives we had for sure was the McLaren 12C Spider. Although the weather in Dubai was very hot for driving with the roof down, I still did it and tested the 12C Spider on many occasions with the roof down! And guess what: I enjoyed it a lot although there are only three air-condition vents on the dashboard for the driver and his co-pilot.

Unfortunately there was no opportunity to test-drive the McLaren 12C Coupe, although many customers in the Middle East and the UAE prefer a coupe over a convertible. But I am sure McLaren Middle East will provide us with a McLaren 12C Coupe test-car very soon, and I am sure that the 12C Coupe will give its main rival the Ferrari 458 Italia the same hard time which the McLaren 12C Spider is giving the Ferrari 458 Spider right now.

The Aston Vantage V8 S did not impress me as much as the amazing Aston Martin DB9 and the unique 4-doors Aston Martin Rapide. But of course the Vantage V8 S is surely also a very classy and stylish ride, just like all Aston Martin models. But I am still eagerly waiting for testing the Vanquish and the new Vantage V12 model with the new gear-box.

Of course the Audi RS4 and the Audi S7 proved again that the slogan ‘Vorsprung durch Technik’ which the German car manufacturer from Ingolstadt is using as its motto, does not come out of the blue.

Unfortunately only the Audi R8 could not hold up to the ‘Vorsprung duch Technik’ slogan and had to pass out on our test-drive because of a technical problem in its differential before we were even able to receive the car.

Bentley impressed us this year with many interesting and exciting models, such as the luxurious and extremely well-performing and well-handling Bentley GT V8, the uber-fast Bentley GT Speed W12 as well as the all-new luxurious Bentley Flying Spur which will surely be one of the key-players in its segment and which will even internally in the VW Group will be quite a tough and fierce competitor for the Porsche Panamera.

Needless to say, the Bentley Mulsanne Mulliner plays in a league of its own and was surely one of the most enjoyable rides we had so far.

The Jaguar XJ 2.0 left a short but good impression, one reason why I am planning to test the two in the UAE and Middle East available XJ versions again shortly.

The same good impression was left by the all-new Range Rover Sport, which is, unlike the predecessor model, not only fun to drive on-road but also amazingly fun to drive off-road. Unfortunately our desert and driving ‘instructors’ did not allow us to enjoy the off-road driving to the fullest and learn more about the off-road capabilities of the all-new 2014 Range Rover Sport.

The Mercedes E400 Convertible was also one of the most refined rides we had recently. There is really not much what the engineers at Sindelfingen could do to improve this superb-quality convertible.

We tested both the MINI Paceman Cooper S and the MINI Paceman JCW. Actually we received the Paceman JCW twice because the fellow-journalists testing the car before us obviously drove it quite often to the limit, which made it necessary to exchange the four Pirelli tires, put four brand-new tires on it and deliver it to us again.

The Maserati Quattroporte GTS and the Maserati Gran Turismo Sport were also two of the test-cars which I enjoyed most recently.

They were so good, so I needed (and wanted) to drive and test them one more time, in order to get more acquainted to them.

Thankfully the very competent and helpful Communication & PR ladies Katrin and Marta at Maserati Middle East arranged that easily, and they even arranged a third Maserati test-car for us, the Maserati Quattroporte S which was just introduced a few days ago in Fujeira as part of its Middle East launch.

Needless to say, the Maserati Quattroporte GTS is setting the benchmark extremely high in its segment, which will surely result in many existing and potential Porsche Panamera customers switching from the German Weissenach-based brand to the Italian manufacturer.

The Rolls Royce Ghost is also one of those few cars which play in a league of their own. The Ghost was surely one of the smoothest and most refined rides I have ever experienced. Nevertheless some ladies still found a few interior design elements which they thought should have been solved by Rolls Royce in a different way. More to that in the full review shortly.

Now, most of you would think that we only tested the most expensive and most unaffordable cars in the world.

Well, that is only partially true because we also tested some more-down-to-earth cars and very practical cars, such as the Peugeot 508, the Peugeot 308 CC, the Peugeot 5008, the Hyundai Santa Fe as well as several Volkswagen models.

The Peugeot 508 impressed me for the comfort and options it is offering in this price and class segment. The 308 CC is surely an interesting alternative for those seeking an open-air feeling and good quality at a reasonable price.

The 5008 is an interesting alternatives for families looking for lots of space and safety at an affordable price. There was no time in our intensive testing schedule for the Peugeot 3008 but we will try to fit it in during the next few days and weeks.

The Hyundai Santa Fe offers a very comfortable ride, lots of options and lots of cabin space inside for a very competitive price and service package, but I think the response of the ESP and the fuel efficiency has still some room for improvements

And since Volkswagen is building some of the best cars in their segments we decided, like always, to test several models from the current VW model range.

The all-new Volkswagen Golf GTI is offering lots of driving-fun at a relatively reasonable price. The Volkswagen Scirocco R is even more fun to drive, has an amazing sound and superb handling but consumes a little bit too much fuel. .

The Volkswagen Touareg Hybrid is one of my favorite cars for driving and owning in the Middle East, one reason why this could well be one of our next long-termers.

The Passat Sport is very comfortable and offers a huge leg-room on the back-seats, more than you would probably find in the Porsche Panamera or Mercedes S-Class.

Last but not least, below is the list of the cars nominated recently for the 2014 World Car of the Year, and of which we will test most of them very shortly:

World Car of the Year category:
Audi A3 Sedan
Audi A3 Sportback
BMW 4 Series
BMW i3
Cadillac CTS
Chevrolet Corvette Stingray
Chevrolet Impala
Chevrolet Silverado
Fiat 500L
Ford EcoSport
Ford Fiesta ST
Ford Fusion / Mondeo
Ford Transit Connect
Honda Fit/Jazz
Hyundai Generation i10
Hyundai Genesis
Hyundai Grand i10
Hyundai Sanfa Fe/ Grand Santa Fe
Infiniti Q50
Jeep Cherokee
Jeep Grand Cherokee
Kia cee’d GT
Kia Cadenza
Kia Soul
Kia Carens
Lexus IS
Mercedes-Benz S-Class
MINI Hardtop / MINI Hatch
Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV (under embargo)
Opel Cascada
Porsche 911 Turbo
Subaru Forester
Toyota RAV4
Toyota Corolla

World Luxury Car category (includes Performance):
Audi RS 6 Avant
Audi RS 7 Sportback
Audi RS Q3
Audi S3
Bentley Flying Spur
BMW M6 Gran Coupe
Cadillac CTS
Cadillac ELR
Chevrolet Corvette Stingray
Hyundai Genesis
Infiniti Q50
Kia Cadenza
Lamborghini Aventador LP700-4 Roadster
Lexus IS
Mercedes-Benz S63 AMG
Porsche 918 als
Range Rover Sport
Rolls-Royce Wraith
SRT Viper

World Green Car category:
Audi A3 Sportback g-tron (+ Audi e-gas)
BMW i3
Cadillac ELR
Chevrolet Spark EV
Fiat 500e Electric Vehicle
Honda Accord Hybrid
Hyundai ix35 Fuel Cell
Mercedes-Benz S-300 BlueTEC Hybrid
Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV (under embargo)
Porsche Panamera S E Hybrid
Range Rover Hybrid
Volkswagen XL1

World Car Design of the Year category:
All of the World Car of the Year nominations PLUS the following stand-alone entries

Cadillac ELR
Cadillac Elmiraj Concept Car
Mercedes-Benz C-Class (under embargo)
Porsche 911 Targa
Range Rover Sport
SRT Viper
Volkswagen XL1

A sneak preview of our various luxury and super car test-drives can be seen on our Auto Arabia Facebook group and on my personal Instagram account MohamedSheta33 !

Stay tuned to read the complete reviews and test-drive soon here on !

Mohamed Sheta
Dubai - Abu Dhabi - Cairo

(More pictures will be added and uploaded to this article shortly! Updated 01.12.2013)

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