Aerodynamic Performance – Aventador S



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By Shereen Shabanam

With the hills of Tuscany as the backdrop and in the company of fellow supercar motoring enthusiasts from around the globe over a few days, I recently tested the new Lamborghini Aventador S which has a new aerodynamic design, redeveloped suspension, increased power and new driving dynamics.

The ‘S’ is the suffix of previous enhanced Lamborghini models and defines a new benchmark for the V12 Lamborghini and indicates the new Aventador generation, redesigned to achieve maximum aerodynamic efficiency while accenting the Aventador’s complex, muscular dynamism.

According to Automobili Lamborghini Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Stefano Domenicali, the Aventador S has a visionary design, cutting-edge technology with driving dynamics that elevates the concept of super sports cars to a new level.

A more aggressive nose and longer front splitter redirect airflow for better aerodynamic efficiency, improved engine cooling and increased cooling to the radiators. Two air ducts in the side of the front bumper reduce aerodynamic interference from the front tires and optimize wake flow to the rear radiator.

The rear of the Aventador S is dominated by a black diffuser, available on request in carbon fiber, characterized by a number of vertical fins that amplify the airflow effects, reduce drag through pressure recovery and generate downforce. Three single exhaust outlets exit through the rear bumper.

During the drive, we learnt how the rear wing, movable in three positions depending on speed and drive select mode, optimizes the car’s improved overall balance, working with vortex generators created in the front and rear of the chassis’ underside that maximize air flow as well as assist in brake cooling.

With the Aventador S design, the front downforce has been improved by more than 130% over the previous Aventador coupé. When the wing is in its optimum position the overall efficiency at high downforce is improved by over 50%, and in low drag by more than 400% compared to the previous model.

The Aventador S is redeveloped around a ‘total control concept’ to provide a superior drive, ride and performance; every aspect of the car’s suspension and electronic control systems has been advanced, with the goal of particularly enhanced control and driving emotion.

Also interesting is the smart Lamborghini Dinamica Veicolo Attiva (LDVA) control unit that manage these systems in the car. LDVA is the new brain of the car, which receives real time and precise information on body motion via input from all sensors of the car and defines the best set-up of all active systems that guarantee the best vehicle dynamics in each situation.

The Aventador S is more agile with a reduced turning radius, ensuring higher performance in curves and making it easy to maneuver in town and at low speeds. On the tracks, I tried all four different driving modes: STRADA, SPORT, CORSA and the new EGO mode, which influence the behavior of the traction (engine, gearbox, 4WD), steering (LRS, LDS, Servotronic) and suspension (LMS).

STRADA stands for maximum comfort and daily use. SPORT provides a sporty, rear-wheel drive feel and CORSA is suitable for maximum track performance.

EGO is the new driving mode option. This provides several additional and individual set-up profiles, customizable by the driver’s preferred criteria for traction, steering and suspension within the STRADA, SPORT and CORSA settings.

In STRADA, the progressive damping is smoothed for better comfort and stability on rough roads. Torque is split 40/60 to the front and rear as standard: safe and stable with maximum adhesion, the car is easily driven and controlled.

In SPORT mode, the stabilizing effect of the Lamborghini Rear-wheel Steering allows up to 90% torque to the rear wheels for maximum sportiness and driving fun on curving roads. Driving precision and driver feedback is improved, while maintaining safety and without compromising on comfort.

While I drove mainly in SPORT mode, I tried the CORSA as well experiencing less intrusive dynamic and traction control intervention while maintaining driving precision and traction. In this mode, high levels of damping force maximize driver feeling and feedback from driver inputs including steering, braking and throttle.

Counter-phase steering is enhanced in high-performance situations and torque is balanced to both axles, with a maximum 20/80 split to front and rear for more neutral behavior and to maximize track-oriented performance.

The Lamborghini Aventador’s naturally aspirated twelve cylinder, 6.5 liter engine outputs an additional 40 hp over its predecessor, to a maximum 740 hp, with a 690 Nm of torque at 5,500 rpm. Acceleration from 0-100 km/h is reached in 2.9 seconds, with a top speed of 350 km/h. Transmission is provided by Lamborghini’s lightweight Independent Shifting Rod (ISR) 7-speed shifting system, providing robotized gear shifts in up to 50 milliseconds.

The Aventador S comes with new, specially developed set of Pirelli P Zero tires. Designed to optimize steering, traction, lane changes and braking efficiency, the tires are specifically designed to respond to the dynamic behavior induced by the Lamborghini Rear-wheel Steering, ensuring handling consistency and driver feedback.

With improved force generation from both front and rear tires, the Pirelli P Zero tires provide a higher lateral acceleration and reduce understeer characteristics. Carbon ceramic brakes are standard equipment for the Aventador S.

The training at the Mugello Circuit with the Aventador S enthralled the most seasoned supercar drivers and owners and the thrills on the tracks proved once again the brand’s superior road power that exudes only from a Lamborghini.

Volvo Cars Tech Fund invests in electric car charging company FreeWire


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Volvo Cars has acquired a stake in electric car charging company FreeWire Technologies via the Volvo Cars Tech Fund, deepening the company’s commitment to a fully electric future.

While Volvo Cars’s electrification strategy does not envision direct ownership of charging or service stations, the investment in FreeWire reinforces its overall commitment to supporting a widespread transition to electric mobility together with other partners.

FreeWire is a San Francisco-based company that has been a pioneer in flexible fast-charging technology for electric cars. It specialises in both stationary and mobile fast charging technology, allowing electric car charging to be deployed quickly and widely.

Installing traditional fixed fast-charging stations is usually a cost- and labour intensive process that requires a lot of electrical upgrades to support the connection between charging stations and the main electrical grid. FreeWire’s charging stations remove that complication and use low-voltage power, allowing operators to simply use existing power outlets. This means drivers can enjoy all the benefits of fast charging without operators needing to go through the hassle of establishing a high-voltage connection to the grid.

Volvo Cars has one of the auto industry’s most ambitious electrification strategies. Every new Volvo car launched from 2019 will be electrified, and by 2025 the company aims for fully electric cars to make up 50 per cent of its overall global sales.

“Volvo Cars’ future is electric, as reflected by our industry-leading commitment to electrify our entire product range,” said Zaki Fasihuddin, CEO of the Volvo Cars Tech Fund. “To support wider consumer adoption of electric cars, society needs to make charging an electric car as simple as filling up your tank. Our investment in FreeWire is a firm endorsement of the company’s ambitions in this area.”

“Freewire’s fast charging technology holds great promise to simplify the experience for customers of electrified Volvos,” said Atif Rafiq, chief digital officer at Volvo Cars. “With this move, we aim to make the future of sustainable, electric cars more practical and convenient.”

“We’re thrilled to partner with Volvo Cars to develop new markets and business models around our EV fast charging and ultra-fast charging technology,” said Arcady Sosinov, CEO of FreeWire. “Having a car maker with both the legacy and future vision of Volvo is going to give us access to technology, testing, and new strategies that will really accelerate the growth of the company.”

The Volvo Cars Tech Fund was launched earlier this year and aims to invest in high-potential technology start-ups around the globe. It focuses its investments on strategic technology trends transforming the auto industry, such as artificial intelligence, electrification, autonomous drive and digital mobility services.

Earlier this year, the Volvo Cars Tech Fund announced its first investment in Luminar Technologies, a leading start-up in the development of advanced sensor technology for use in autonomous vehicles, with whom Volvo Cars collaborates on the development and testing of its LiDAR sensing technology on Volvo cars.

Companies benefit from participation by the Volvo Cars Tech Fund as they may gain the ability to validate technologies, accelerate market introduction, as well as potentially access Volvo Cars’ global network and unique position in the Chinese car market.


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Mopar® to Showcase Customized Ram 1500 Trucks at SEMA


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Mopar®is giving a sneak-peek preview of two modified Ram 1500 trucks which will be featured in the Mopar exhibit at the 2018 Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) Show. The event is the premier automotive specialty products trade show in the world and is scheduled to take place from October 30 to November 2 in Las Vegas.

The pickup trucks, customized with a combination of Mopar production and prototype parts and accessories, are two of 14 personalized rides and hundreds of Mopar products that will be on display in the brand’s 15,345 sq. ft. / 1,425.6 sq. m. exhibit in the Las Vegas Convention Centre.

Mopar will also announce more news at its annual SEMA press briefing, which will take place on Tuesday, October 30, at 7:26 p.m. ET/4:26 p.m. PT. The presentation can be viewed live online at

“The SEMA Show is truly the greatest stage for our brand to demonstrate what owners and enthusiasts can create with a little imagination and a selection of Mopar parts and accessories,” said Steve Beahm, Head of Parts & Service (Mopar), Head of Passenger Car Brands, FCA – North America. “There is a method to our SEMA madness – we use this show as a venue to gauge enthusiast interest in prototype parts that may become production offerings in the future.” 

Mopar-modified Ram 1500 Rebel Concept

Mopar pulled from its palette of more than 200 parts and accessories for the all-new Ram 1500 and also bolted on select concept products to reinforce the already off-road capable personality of the Ram 1500 Rebel.

The Ram 1500 Rebel is painted a custom neutral blue nicknamed “Rebel Smoke,” and is outfitted for the trail with a Mopar lift kit that raises the Ram 2-inches / 50.8 mm for enhanced off-road clearance. One-piece cast-aluminium black Mopar off-road running boards provide easy ingress and egress. Mopar satin black 18 x 8-inch cast-aluminium beadlock wheels are trimmed with “Rebel Smoke” body colour wheel rings and wrapped with 35-inch Goodyear DuraTrac tyres, putting proper traction and tread to the trail. Production wheel flares and grey metallic skid plates deliver an extra dose of off-road protection.

A Mopar conceptual performance hood covers the 5.7-litre HEMI®engine, which receives an additional performance bump thanks to the Ram Airflow Mopar cold-air intake, stamped up front with a moulded R-A-M text logo. The appearance of the performance hood pops even more with a grey metallic Mopar graphic and a Ram 1500 HEMI badge for those who want to share with the world what’s underneath. All vehicle badging has been turned Grey Metallic.

A Ram Bar in the bed acts as a mounting location for five 5-inch / 127 mm LED lights that illuminate the trail at a bright 4,800 lumens each. The bed also incorporates a conceptual rear spare tyre carrier, Mopar rear bed step and black spray-in bedliner. Satin Black Rebel graphics from Mopar dress up the bed sides and Mopar 5-inch / 127 mm Gloss Black exhaust tips complete the rear custom touches.

Inside, soft and hard interior trim has been transformed to carry a black monochromatic look, a distinct change from the standard red anodized Rebel trim. Mopar accessories complete the interior, including all-weather mats, brushed and polished door sill guards with the R-A-M text logo, wireless charging and a conceptual pedal kit.

Ram 1500 Big Horn “Low Down” Concept

The Ram 1500 Big Horn “Low Down” is Mopar-modified with slammed-to-the-street style and unique clean exterior flourishes.

The “Low Down” builds off the Ram 1500 Big Horn trim level. The concept features a custom “Brassphault” colour palette – the upper body including the Mopar conceptual performance hood is custom Gloss Black, the lower body is Billet Silver and a thin Brass Monkey stripe wraps around the Ram, serving as both an accent point and a dividing line. All Ram and Big Horn exterior badging is coloured Gloss Black.

The Ram 1500 “Low Down” is dropped 2-inches / 50.8 mm closer to the street by a prototype lowering kit, providing a more aggressive stance and appearance. The “Low Down” rides on 22-inch oversized production wheels coloured custom Gloss Black with Brass Monkey accents to connect with the exterior colour theme. Mopar conceptual wheel flares are smoothed out and painted to match the Billet Silver lower body.

The one-piece Mopar hard tonneau cover stands out in body colour Gloss Black as do the 5-inch / 127 mm exhaust tips. Heading inside, Mopar accessories include Mopar all-weather mats, brushed and polished door sill guards with the R-A-M text logo and conceptual bright pedal kits.

The “Low Down” packs a 5.7-litre HEMI engine under the performance hood and is augmented with a Mopar “Ram Airflow” cold-air intake featuring the R-A-M text logo moulded at the front.

Mopar at 2018 SEMA Show

The Mopar brand’s SEMA Show exhibit will also feature off-road flavour with a special section devoted to four Jeep®vehicles customized with new Jeep Performance Parts and accessories, products which debuted last year at the 2017 SEMA Show. For performance lovers, the drag-oriented, street-legal, 392 HEMI V8 engine-powered 2019 Dodge Challenger R/T Scat Pack 1320 will also be featured in the Mopar footprint, along with NHRA racer Leah Pritchett’s Mopar Dodge Challenger Drag Pak car, which she drove to the 2018 NHRA Factory Stock Showdown World Championship.

The Mopar space will stay busy with a full slate of activities on tap, including panel discussions on Wednesday and Thursday featuring Mark Worman, star of Velocity’s Graveyard Carz vehicle restoration television show.

SEMA attendees can go head-to-head in a pair of Dodge Challenger SRT Demon simulators and compete in the “Drag Strip Showdown,” a contest in which the top four drivers with the best simulator race times will win a trip to the Dodge//SRT Bondurant Drag Racing School near Phoenix. Fans will also have the chance to race Mopar and Dodge NHRA championship-winning drivers Pritchett and Matt Hagan at the Mopar booth on Tuesday morning.


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W Motors and Safe City Group introduce the BEAST PATROL at GITEX: One of the most advanced police vehicles in the world


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W Motors has launchedthe all-new ‘BEAST PATROL’in partnership with Safe City Group, following the advanced technology company’s initiative to develop the most advanced police vehicle in the world. The distinctive and highly advanced BEAST PATROLwas showcased for the first time at GITEX Technology Week from 14th-18th October 2018, Dubai.

The BEAST PATROLintegrates distinctive and highly advanced technologies, functionality and reliability, setting a new standard for security vehicles on an international level. With the introduction of this state-of-the-art vehicle – created by its Special Project Operations Division – W Motors demonstrates that its design and manufacturing capabilities go beyond the development of hypercars.


Volvo XC90: safety and luxury reimagined


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The multi-award winning SUV boasts world-class safety and next level design

Volvo Cars has relaunched its new design direction with the XC90 and continues to deliver on its promise to introduce a visually striking, premium quality seven-seat SUV with world leading safety features, new powertrain technologies, an unrivalled combination of power and fuel efficiency and a superlative interior finish.

Volvo’s new generation of premium SUVs has accomplished untimely success as a result of Scandinavian design at its finest, with functionality and genuine beauty. The XC90 represents the epitome of luxury and allows for an outstanding highway performance and low emission commuting through its range of two-liter, four-cylinder Drive-E powertrains.

World-class safety package

Volvo has long been an active pioneer in the world of safety technology, most notably with the Vision 2020,which statesthat no one will be killed or seriously injured in a new Volvo car by the year 2020.

The XC90 has been at the forefront of SUV safety since the launch of the first-generation model in 2002. As a leader in safety technology, it was the first SUV to be fitted with Roll Stability Control to reduce the risk of a rollover accident. Launched in 2014, the second-generation XC90 came with two world-first safety aids: Run-off Road Protection and automatic emergency braking at junctions. Should the car inadvertently leave the road, Run-off Road Protection automatically tightens the front seatbelts to keep occupants safely fastened.

Volvo’s innovative safety technology goes beyond protecting those inside the car. The latest version of automatic emergency braking detects pedestrians, cyclists and large animals, keeping all road users free from harm.

With an exceptional safety record, Volvo XC90 holds the title for best overall performance in the Euro NCAP official crash tests in 2015, as well as a five-star safety rating in 2018 by the same organization.

Luxurious interior
Craftsmanship has been at the focus of the XC90’s development, where Nappa leather and wood with handcrafted details line the car’s interior and features a gear lever made of crystal glass from Orrefors, the famous Swedish glassmaker.

The most luxurious interior designed for a Volvo, the XC90 features a 9-inch highly responsive and easy to read touch screen, making Volvo a part of the driver’s digital world. With Sensus Connect, the driver remains in control through the head-up display that puts essential information in the driver’s line of sight. Volvo’s premium SUV also features the Bowers & Wilkins audio system, one of the top available in the automotive world. Integrated into the body of the car, the air-ventilated subwoofer offering exceptional realism and clarity in every seat.

Three trim levels are available in the XC90 range: Inscription, R-Design, and Excellence. For sophisticated modern luxury, the Inscription is built for those who want to experience sleek design in a relaxed cabin feel. While the R-Design is dedicated to the art of driving, its powerful presence and dynamic attitude is where the luxury SUV meets a sporting edge.  As the pinnacle of first class travel and comfort, the Excellence, includes a four-seat Excellence Lounge variant, where passengers are able to indulge in a truly luxurious, flexible space. The T8 Twin Engine offers near-silent travel, creating the ultimate environment for both business and leisure.

As the most awarded luxury SUV of the century, Volvo XC90 holds numerous titles including Middle East Car of the Year Awards “Jury Car of the Year” and “Best Midsize Premium SUV” in 2016. In the same year, the XC90 was awarded two more titles from EURO NCAP as “Best in Class” overall and for the large off-road category. Previous years have also seen the XC90’s win awards for “Best Product Design” by Red Dot Awards, “Top Safety Pick” by IIHS “Women’s World Car of the Year” by Women’s World Car of the Year jury in 2015.

Alfa Romeo in the limelight at the 68th Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance


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At the recent Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, the coveted gold ribbon that designates the “Best of Show” car was placed on the magnificent deep blue bodywork of a 1937 Alfa Romeo 8C 2900B Touring Berlinetta.

The Italian masterpiece fought off competition from 209 cars from 17 countries, all of which were displayed on the eighteenth fairway of Pebble Beach Golf Links in California. Before being proclaimed “Best of Show” the car triumphed in its class and also received two other major awards – the “Charles A. Chayne” trophy and the “J.B. & Dorothy Nethercutt Most Elegant Closed Car” prize.

The car, first seen at the 1938 Berlin Motor Show, differs from later 8C 2900B Touring models with its more steeply raked grille and lack of running boards, and recently received a full restoration to return it to its original specification.

This is the third time in the history of Pebble Beach that the Alfa Romeo brand has taken home the Best of Show award, and every time it has been with the 8C 2900B model with Touring bodywork – first in 1988 with a spider version and then in 2008 with a coupé.


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Comfortable and Versatile SUV – The all-new Renault Duster


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By Shereen Shabnam

Recently we ventured into Jordan to drive the all-new Duster, the unstoppable SUV with Renault Middle East. While offering a range of high-quality, new features, the reinvented SUV retains the same level of affordability that the name ‘Duster’ is celebrated for.

The all-new Renault Duster boasts keyless entry, brand-new exterior styling, delivering a distinctly assertive and robust look, as well as an upgrade in perceived quality with a totally redesigned interior for a comfortable and user-friendly driving experience.

The SUV’s exterior is enhanced thanks to the addition the wide chrome-finish grille, which extends to the headlights positioned at the car’s front corners. Although visually more muscular than before, the Duster has the same compact dimensions with a wider front and rear and its robust stance is emphasized by its bold, more horizontal lines.

A front skid plate reinforces the Duster’s adventurer credentials and ensures that the vehicle never loses its smart looks. Finished with Renault’s signature C-shaped lighting with LED daytime running lights the Duster is a modern SUV with a rugged personality.

New aluminium roof bars and more prominent front and rear skid plates point to the All-New Duster’s adventurer credentials. New 17-inch wheels ensure an even more assertive profile.

Inside, the Duster is equipped with new, high-quality, driving aids and new equipment, making it a genuine adventure-ready SUV which offers the versatility and comfort for everyday driving.

The interior has been thoroughly updated for upgraded comfort and to make the model even more practical in everyday use. The steeply raked windscreen makes the cabin feel bigger, while its acoustics have been significantly improved and cabin insulation significantly reduces noise from outside the car.

On stepping inside the cabin, the noticeable difference in quality is instantly recognisable – packed with ‘Easy Life’ features like Hill Descent Control, Multiview camera and Blind Spot Warning, 4×4 monitor, automatic air conditioning, Remote Engine Start (GCC only), seven-inch touchscreen tablet and Renault smart card with keyless entry system – as well as quality trims and materials.

The all-new Duster is available in both 2WD and 4WD specifications and offers among the market’s very best off-road capability. With a choice of two petrol engines; 1.6L (4×2) mated to a CVT automatic transmission, and 2.0L with automatic transmission (4×4), the Duster is an SUV equipped for any terrain.

The Duster’s roominess, affordability and off-road capabilities have long been recognised as the model’s strengths and the all-new models continues to carry these desirable attributes. The SUV has been popular with drivers across the globe, with exceptional sales results records. With an off-road ability among the very best in its class, it is now even more fun to drive.


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Fiat 500 Spiaggina ’58 – a special birthday tribute to the Fiat 500


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Summer 1958: a light breeze blows around the coast of Capri, caressing the hulls of the luxurious yachts moored in the harbour. On the quayside, the exclusive 500 Jolly, better known as the “Spiaggina”, awaits its illustrious guests for a journey into the glittering night life of La Dolce Vita.

Summer 2018: coinciding with the Fiat 500’s birthday, the iconic Spiaggina makes an elegant return to Europe’s most famous resorts. Its new lease of life comes courtesy of the Fiat brand, which presents the new 500 Spiaggina ‘58 special edition, produced in a limited edition of 1,958 cars – a tribute to the year of the birth of the first Spiaggina, with ultra-chic design touches and a lavish standard outfit.

Available in the Middle East from 2019, this is the first of Fiat’s two tributes to celebrate both the legendary little car’s birthday and the 60th anniversary of its first special series – the unforgettable 500 Spiaggina – dating from 1958, which became a universally acclaimed symbol of La Dolce Vita. By marking these two important dates, Fiat also celebrates the secret of the 500’s eternal youth: its capability to renew itself continually, through special editions, without ever losing its identity. And the Fiat brand has produced a second gift to celebrate these special milestones – a delightful video set to the famous song ‘Volare’, the ever-popular Italian classic which also appeared in 1958, and starring, of course, the new 500 Spiaggina ‘58.

“The new Spiaggina ’58 is our birthday gift to the 500 for its birthday and the 60th anniversary of the Spiaggina,” explained Luca Napolitano, Head of the Fiat and Abarth brands, EMEA. “It’s a real time machine, incorporating many reminders of the Dolce Vita era, such as the vintage logos and wheels, the white waist rail, the convertible only format and two-tone interior. Not to mention a special colour exclusively for this edition, Volare Blue. A name and a colour that take us straight back to 1958, to the Sanremo Festival of that year, when a young Domenico Modugno teamed up with Johnny Dorelli to give the first public performance of ‘Nel blu dipinto di blu’, the famous song also known as ‘Volare’, which was the soundtrack for the Dolce Vita years.”

Two other Italian centres of excellence – creative hub Garage Italia and design firm Pininfarina – have also celebrated the dual anniversary by producing the irresistible ‘Spiaggina by Garage Italia’ showcar. Based on a Fiat 500C, its features include unique, sophisticated styling cues that reinterpret those unforgettable years for today’s world.

“Love at first sight, the kind that strikes deep into your heart and soul. This what I feel whenever I look at or drive a 500,” said Lapo Elkann, Chairman and Creative Director of Garage Italia. “I fell in love with the car when I was a boy, and as I grew up I was determined to bring it back to life. I am so happy about the model’s relaunch, and hope it will convey the dreams and the magical years of the post-war economic boom and the Italian way of enjoying life. Since 2007, year after year, I’ve always personalised 500’s for myself, and the opening of Garage Italia has enabled us to design a multitude of one-off versions, all reconfirming the versatility and immense contemporary appeal of this vehicle, which is still one of the world’s best-loved brands.”

“11 years have passed since the model was reborn on 4 July 2007 and today, through Garage Italia, I’ve decided to celebrate and renew a splendid Italian icon by working with my Design Centre to create the Spiaggina by Garage Italia, styled by my team with invaluable technical and engineering input from Pininfarina and with the support of the Fiat brand. I’m proud of what we have achieved. And I’m proud that all this has been done in Italy, with Italian firms which promote our beloved country all around the world. I’m sure that this car will make people imagine, dream and interpret the Italian way of enjoying life that has been inspiring the world for generations.

Fiat’s first tribute for the dual anniversary is the new Fiat 500 Spiaggina ‘58 special edition, produced in a limited edition of 1,958 cars and only available as a convertible, for full enjoyment of the open air and the appeal of a historic era indelibly imprinted on all our memories. And as befits a star of La Dolce Vita, the new special edition sports a splendid Volare Blue livery, with beige soft-top, shown off by the white waist rail and vintage-design 16″ alloy wheels. The exclusive colour scheme is enhanced by other distinctive features, such as the side moulding with 500 logo, chromed door mirror caps, vintage logos and chrome Spiaggina ’58 logo, in elegant italic script, on the rear – the signature of the latest Fiat creation.

The interior has the same class and elegance, with original and authentic design touches. Starting from the dashboard, in the same Volare Blue colour as the exterior, to the refined two-tone look of the seats, with grey striped base and ivory upper section. The chic interior is completed by special mats and a steering wheel with vintage logo. The new Spiaggina ’58 special edition offers the very best in connectivity technology and is equipped (as standard) with a Uconnect™ 7″ HD touchscreen radio which is Apple CarPlay ready and compatible with Android Auto, as well as navigator with Tom Tom maps. Also standard are the largest-in-class 7” TFT display, automatic A/C, rear parking sensors, height-adjustable seats and seat-back pockets. Finally, the 500 Spiaggina ‘58 comes with a 1.4-litre, 99hp petrol engine with the latest Euro6B rating.

The 500 Spiaggina ‘58 special series is another addition to the Fiat 500 collection, which has included an impressive number of special editions, issued in succession over the last 11 years.

Fittingly so, since Fiat 500 has always been a trendsetter which, while remaining true to itself, has been re-interpreted over time, linking its name to iconic brands from the worlds of fashion, luxury yachts, arts and sport in truly unique editions that have explored unusual territories for a city car.

Outstanding examples include the stylish Diesel, Gucci, the amazing Riva and Abarth Rivale that evoke luxury yachts the 560 series celebrating the model’s great forebearer, and finally the 500 Mirror, with top-end connectivity for the millennial lifestyle. And today it is the turn of the splendid 500 Spiaggina ‘58 to continue the story of the Fiat icon.

Launched in 1957 and established over the years as the icon of mass car ownership in Italy, the Fiat 500 was reborn in 2007 with the debut of the new model, which rapidly become a global phenomenon. Its success is demonstrated by the fact that over 2 million cars were sold in more than 100 countries worldwide, with over 80% of sales volumes achieved on the export market. A success that has made the 500 (including the Abarth 500)number 1 in Europe in its segment since 2013.

This status was reconfirmed during the first five months of 2018, with leadership in 10 markets (UK, Spain, Belgium, Switzerland, Portugal, Austria, Slovenia, Hungary, Bulgaria and Croatia) and a top-3 placing in 6 other countries (Italy, Germany, France, Sweden, Slovakia and Romania). The model’s growth shows no sign of abating, as, reaching its eleventh year in the first five months of 2018, it once again broke its own records, with more than 93,000 cars sold in Europe, making them its best ever five sales months ever.

Heir to a symbol of La Dolce Vita

Just a year after its launch on 4 July 1957, the Fiat 500 became a real cult object with the debut of its first special series: the 500 Jolly, better known as Spiaggina, or beach buggy. Built by Carrozzeria Ghia and based on the Fiat 500, and later also on the Giardiniera version, this exclusive car was produced from 1958 to 1965 and sold in Europe, the United States and South Africa.

Costing twice the price of the normal version, this special seaside version was a favourite of the most influential personalities of the age – including shipping magnate Aristotle Onassis and actor Yul Brynner – who chose it as their preferred transport to their yachts or as a golf car on their country estates. A 500 Jolly can also be admired in the personal car collection of US President Lyndon B. Johnson.

One of its distinctive features was the absence of doors – slender chains were not introduced until around 1965 – although the most innovative aspect of its design was inclusion of chromed rails in the sides and along the top of the bodywork, supporting the sunshade-canopy. Equipped with a 22hp air-cooled two-cylinder engine, the 500 Jolly had a top speed of 105 km/h. 

Spiaggina by Garage Italia

Fun and carefree are the feelings conveyed at first glance by the Spiaggina by Garage Italia showcar. This has been achieved thanks to its typical summer colours, Volare Blue and Perla White, which distinguish the two-tone livery of the body with Garage blue finishes and matching interior upholstery. The roof, just like the traditional Spiaggina, has been removed and the rear passenger space has been transformed into a spacious compartment so that you can take all your beach essentials with you. This modification was possible thanks to the support of Pininfarina technicians, who assisted Garage Italia staff in the design of structural reinforcement work, such as the rear roll-bar, to ensure the chassis was rigid enough.

These details make the latest creation by Lapo Elkann’s creative hub truly one of a kind. The showcar has a lowered nautical windscreen and the load platform is covered with slatted cork with a pattern recalling the design of teak floor boards on luxury yachts.

The two front seats have been replaced by a tailor-made bench to reflect the typical design of 1960’s cars, embellished by the blue and white Foglizzo Leather upholstery, with a special waterproof treatment. Last but not least, the chrome trim on handles, door mirrors and hubcaps on the new Fiat 500 Vintage 1957 alloy wheel rims all contribute to making the Spiaggina by Garage Italia sparkle under the sun.


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Gargash and Alfa Romeo Go Purple for the 2018 Gumball 3000 Tour


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Gargash Showroom Shot.jpg

Originally founded in May 1999 by British entrepreneur Maximillion Cooper, who invited his influential friends to join him on a driving adventure across Europe, the annual Gumball 3000 tour has evolved, over the years, into a week-long festival of live music concerts, action sports and spectacular car shows hosted in capital cities, achieving live crowds of over a million people, with a televised and online audience that reaches over 100 million households in 60 countries.

2018 sees the event celebrating its 20th Anniversary with an epic road trip travelling from London to Tokyo from 4 August to 12 August, with just 100 cars participating in this very special Anniversary Rally.

Team Alfa, represented by Gargash, the official distributor of Alfa Romeo in the UAE, will have two special vehicles taking part – a Stelvio Quadrifoglio and a Giulia Quadrifoglio – both sporting unique purple exteriors.

Shehab Gargash, who has taken part in three previous Gumball Rallies, and his co-drivers, Ahmed Al Matrooshi and Jason Appleton, along with three leading Middle East influencers and an Alfa enthusiast selected through a competition based around social media engagement, will have the experience of a lifetime travelling across the world from London to Tokyo.

The official opening of the event is on August 4 in London, with the actual rally starting with a drive to Chantilly in France on August 5, then continuing on to Milan and Bologna in Italy, before flying via Emirates to Osaka in Japan on August 7 – there will then be a further driving stage from Osaka to Tokyo via Kyoto and Nanao, with an official closing party being held in Tokyo on August 12.

“Alfa Romeo has brought the brand’s values of passion, sporty style, exquisite taste and performanceto the UAE and is rapidly becoming a favourite with a whole new generation of drivers,” said Simon Ellis, General Manager, Gargash Alfa Romeo.  “The participation of Gargash with Alfa Romeo cars in this rally is an exciting new chapter for both brands, creating yet another trend among true car enthusiasts. We look forward to how this will help build further excitement about Alfa Romeo in the UAE market, and we’re confident of a positive outcome”.

Founded in Milan, Italy in 1910, five key elements have made Alfa Romeo one of the world’s most desirable automotive brands – advanced technology, lightness and efficiency, performance and dynamism, distinctive Italian design and a unique spirit. These are the essential ingredients to create an Alfa Romeo and which deliver ‘la meccanica delle emozioni’ (‘the mechanics of emotions’ in English). This distinctive line, used worldwide in Italian only, pays homage to the homeland where the legend was born over a century ago.

The modern-daystandard-bearers of the new Alfa Romeo generation, the Giulia and Stelvio both bear the legendary Quadrifoglio badge, which certifies their qualities in terms of class-topping performance, handling and weight/power ratio, specific external and internal features, exclusive powerplants and a genuine Alfa Romeo sound. Equipped with powerful, all-aluminium 510hp six-cylinder 2.9-litre turbo petrol engines, they see a new page being written for the brand that never ceases to surprise with a model that combines the past, present and future and are the most brilliant examples of Alfa Romeo’s automobile design, style and technical excellence.

Conceived as a good-luck charm in the heroic period of motorsports, the Quadrifoglio (four-leaf clover) – written with a capital ‘Q’ – has distinguished the sports and industrial history of Alfa Romeo and has become the logo for race cars and the more powerful and exclusive road vehicles.

The first Quadrifoglio emblems were painted directly onto cars. Later, when the Quadrifoglio became a feature of production vehicles it was changed into a badge. The Quadrifoglio badge is designed and individually handcrafted in Italy, elevating the emblem itself almost to a work of art.


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Track Focused Yet Road legal – McLaren 600LT


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By Shereen Shabnam

Recently, McLaren Automotive revived the legendary ‘Longtail’ name with the launch of the 675LT Coupé, minimising weight and optimising aerodynamics in parallel with increasing power, track focussed dynamics and driver engagement.

True to the spirit of its ‘Longtail’ predecessor and the traits inherent to a car wearing the LT badge, the 675LT Coupé earlier was acknowledged as the purest, most involving series-production McLaren supercar at launch.

Now as only the fourth ‘Longtail’ McLaren in more than two decades, the McLaren 600LT marks the beginning of the next chapter in the McLaren ‘Longtail’ (LT) story and at the same time sets a new sportscar benchmark as the fastest, most powerful and most track-focused, yet road legal Sports Series McLaren has created.

The McLaren 600LT is built to excel on roads and race circuits alike with an extended front splitter, lengthened rear diffuser and fixed rear wing. Built using the lightweight carbon fibre monocoque chassis for which McLaren is renowned, the 600LT further benefits from new carbon fibre bodywork that lowers vehicle weight as well as optimising aerodynamic performance.

Unique top-exit exhausts ensure that the new LT model has a distinct aesthetic appearance that identifies it as something particularly special, as well as delivering a substantial weight saving and anincredible aural experience.

To deliver the extreme performance appropriate for an LT, the McLaren 600LT is powered by a twin-turbocharged, 3.8-litre V8 engine that benefits from an uprated cooling system and reduced back pressure in an exhaust system that is even shorter and more extreme than that of the McLaren Senna. Peak power is 600PS (592bhp), with maximum torque of 620Nm (457lb ft) and thepower-to-weight ratio of the McLaren 600LT at lightest dry weight is an astonishing 481PS/tonne.

The new model features the forged aluminium double-wishbone suspension and lightweight braking system from the second-generation McLaren Super Series; bespoke, track-focused Pirelli Trofeo R tyres; quicker steering; sharpened responses from the throttle and brake pedals; significantly firmer engine mounts and exhausts that are mounted virtually behind the driver’s shoulder to bring the incredible sound of the powertrain into the cabin.

The driver is encouraged by the deep-rooted and incredibly pure connection with the car to fully exploit the optimised aerodynamics, reduced weight, increased power and track-focused dynamics. This higher level of excellence and engagement is the ethos at the heart of the McLaren 600LT, just as it was with the McLaren 675LT models and the McLaren F1 GTR ‘Longtail’ before them.

Volume of the new McLaren LT will also be strictly limited. Production of the 600LT Coupé will begin in October 2018 and last for around 12 months, with build slots scheduled around existing Sports and Super Series models, as well as the sell-out Senna, Senna GTR and BP23.  The specialist carbon fibre body panels of the 600LT will also ensure that it is significantly rarer than its Sports Series brethren.

Like its 675LT predecessors, each 600LT will be hand-assembled at the McLaren Production Centre in Woking, Surrey. Available to order now from McLaren retailers, the McLaren 600LT Coupé is subject to availability.



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Legacy of Performance, Elegance & Heritage – Museo Storico Alfa Romeo


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By Shereen Shabnam

After travelling to different parts of the world (Africa, Europe, Middle East and the Americas) the last few years to look at classic and historical cars, the highlight of my journey has to be my recent visit to the Museo Storico Alfa Romeo which is the dedicated Alfa Romeo’s official museum, located in Arese displaying a permanent collection of Alfa Romeo cars and engines.

More than just a museum, the eclectic building has a bookshop, a store, a café, events centre and is an immersive experience centre designed to impress visitors after going through a major restoration and opening again in 2015. Located a few kilometers away from Milan, the museum is the perfect link between past, present and future in a modern and an elegant venue.

The museum journey highlights the Gran Turismo in the past, the present and the future showcasing projects that came into being, images of the team who led the company, who designed the cars and created history with their inventions.

The Alfa Romeo DNA is evident throughout Alfa Romeo’s historic collection of memorabilia and models. From the very first A.L.F.A. car, the 24 HP, to the legendary Mille Miglia winners such as the 6C 1750 Gran Sport driven by Tazio Nuvolari.

Our tour revealed the Gran Premio 159 “Alfetta 159” world Formula 1 winner driven by Juan Manuel Fangio, the Giulietta iconic 1950s car and the Championship 33 TT 12.

Each of the three floors represented the essence of the brand condensed into three principles: Timeline, which represents industrial continuity of the brand, Bellezza(beauty), which combines style with design and Velocità (speed) which sums up technology and light weight.

The Timeline section features a selection of 19 cars representing the evolvement of the brand, complete with a multimedia information panel and a smart-tech station where visitors can access an interactive system for more details about the history of each model.

For instance, the “Quelli dell’Alfa Romeo” installation recounts how a legend was formed in over 100 years thanks to the work of thousands of people who contributing to the company’s growth: from the workers to the mechanics, testers and designers, engineers and white collar workers.

The ground floor section layout called Bellezza features several themed areas and is designed with dynamic and smooth lines that recall the style of the major Italian coachbuilders. It reveals 9 major design examples from each era, displaying cars built by the Touring bodyshop under the Superleggera brand in the 1930s and 40s.

This floor has the Alfa Romeo nel cinema” (Alfa Romeo in the movies). This is followed by “Il Fenomeno Giulietta” (The Giulietta Phenomenon) and “Giulia: disegnata dal vento” (Giulia: designed by the wind), with models that accompany the growth of the economy and of Italian taste in the 1950s and 60s.

Another section dedicated to Speed features the stars of Alfa Romeo’s major victories in a spectacular multi-media space which groups together the stars of the epic competitions, highlights racing in Alfa Romeo’s DNA and a dedicated space with pictures, sounds and film footage of the 10 biggest triumphs in the history of Alfa Romeo.

Visitors can experience the Alfa Romeo world with 360° virtual reality film footage, enjoy a full-immersion room sitting in interactive armchairs and watching 4D films dedicated to the legendary successes of Alfa Romeo.

We ended our journey with some retail therapy at the museum’s store that is well stocked with Alfa Romeo memorabilia and left the building feeling inspired and in awe of the brands history and success in the past and the forward thinking mentality to take the brand into an equally impressive future.


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