Test Drive | Mercedes CLA 200

CLA200 side I want to start by highlighting how sexy that thing is. Even though it is the cheapest Mercedes Sedan you can buy, for me it looks much better than its bigger cousins. That front hood, that smashed rear with those beautiful rear stop lights, those two exhaust tips and all of that put together with a zest of aggressiveness, Mercedes created a category of their own, the “compact sedan”.

CLA200 rearBeing heavily based on the A200, it features the same interior, the same front-wheel-drive system, same seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission and same 1.6 liters turbocharged 4 cylinder engine developing 156hp and 250nm of torque. Performance was pretty similar to the A class. You really have to push it in order to squeeze power out of it. But when you do, performance isn’t bad at all. Handling was fine, specially on those 18 inches wheels. Cruising around town, the CLA was very comfortable and its size wasn’t a hassle even on our small narrow streets. The active dynamic steering, front and back sensors and rear view camera made that thing a joy to park. You would be surprised but its boot is really big with a capacity of 470 liters (versus 341L for A-Class). In standard form, the CLA 200 comes with bi-xenon headlamps, a panoramic roof, leather seats, front and rear sensors, a rear view camera, cruise control and Bluetooth phone/audio connectivity. All of that for a total price of $58,500 in Lebanon.

CLA200 interiorAll in all, loved the package, aesthetically speaking the car looks fine from the inside (except for that floating screen) and so damn hot from the outside. I think it is fairly priced for what it is worth and compared to prices of other sedans in Lebanon. In case you’re more of a performance junky you might want to consider the CLA250 with its 208hp. Other than that, the CLA200 would be just fine. Special thanks obviously goes to Mercedes Lebanon for putting that beautiful German creature in my hands for a weekend.

CLA200 front

Launching Event | Auto shine with the Porsche Club Lebanon

2014 Carrera S rearTo launch their brand new, re-branded facility, Auto Shine organised, in collaboration with the Porsche Club Lebanon, a trip to Deir el Qamar, taking advantage of its wonderful mountain roads and its delicious food. It all started at the Auto Shine facility next to Rondpoint el Adlieh where breakfast was served along with a small tour of the different new compartments of the flagship including:

• Car wash lanes fitted with reverse osmosis water filtering systems.
• Detailing services.
• Smart repairs (leather, fabric, dents & windshield).
• Specialized paint booth for seamless paint touchups.
• Dust free room for paint & film protection.

911 Carrera 50th anniversary editionMainly, Auto Shine promises to give back to your car it’s natural beauty as if it had just left the showroom. I saw a couple of cars they had treated, result was astonishing! One of those was a 2014 CarreraS 50th anniversary edition with its vintage look rims, its sport button and its exhaust button that I had the chance to drive all the way to Deir el Qamar. (Special thanks goes to Maher Abillama for giving me this unique privilege) YES the exhaust and sport button were on, YES I had the ultrasonically fast PDK paddle shifts in my hands and YES I was allowed to whip that thing to 7,500 RPM. The drive was sublime! the exhaust is perfectly engineered to let your ears cry whether your foot is on the gas or not. Oh FYI the 50th anniversary Carrera is equipped with a 3.8-litre flat-six engine which develops 430hp at 7400rpm (30 more than the original Carrera S). The special edition Carrera benefits from the wider body normally reserved for the Turbo and a re-programmed PASM adaptive suspension that synchronizes perfectly with your driving. Throttle response and the electric power steering are very sharp specially in sport mode. Interior was neat, clear, simple, and functional, perfectly German. Even on those twisty mountain roads, the car handled perfectly. It was really a great experience.

Porsche Club LebanonAll in all it was a very nice roadtrip/launching event. It gave me the chance to learn more about the new products and services offered by Auto Shine, meet several members of the Porsche fan club and specially their president Mr. Joe Feghaly who owns a black tuned Turbo with more than 600hp on wheels. (You can check it out along with the rest of the pictures of the event right here) Hope to be riding shotgun in that monster very soon to witness what it’s all about. Joe is a huge motorhead chatting with him was a real pleasure. He even has a MK7 GTI with an ABT tune and ABT exhaust coming very soon as an everyday’s ride. Thanks again Auto Shine for the invite and for the Porsche Club for treating me as one of their own!

Most Amazing Engine Ignition Sounds in The World

Koenigsegg CCXMake sure you have your headphones on and that the video is playing in HD because things are about to get LOUD. This is a short video that includes the sounds, of 34 amazing vehicles roaring to life! From the ’69 Jaguar E-Type’s quiet Inline-6 to the the rumble of the Aventador’s 6.5L V12 and the punch of the Saleen S7’s twin turbos, you don’t often have the pleasure of hearing these fire up! Each one of these cars is enough to get any petrolhead drooling so prepare to be amazed. Enough said, enjoy and feel free to let me know which ignition start you liked best.

Castrol Footkhana: Neymar Jr. v Ken Block

KenBlack FootkhanaIt ain’t anymore just about burning rubber and avoid walls, some balls have been added to the equation! 2014 FIFA World Cup star Neymar Jr. & his freestyle team take on Gymkhana king Ken Block in his 650-HP Ford Fiesta rally car in a battle between man and machine creating what they call Footkhana, a mix of football and Gymkhana. As Neymar and his freestyle teammates use their football skills to score goals, Ken and his overpowered Fiesta drifts, blasting soccer balls into the net. Well it is not as impressive as what we are use to with Ken but it is a nice and fresh new idea. Very smart move by Castrol sponsoring the match, regrouping in the same video, the YouTube phenomenon Ken Block and FIFA World Cup star Neymar Jr. & his freestyle team targeting not only football fans but car fans as well. The complete videos got more than a 8 million views in just 3 days.

Launching Event | C7 Stingray

Corvette C7 Stingray FrontIt is never too late to review the launching event of one of the supercars I was really looking forward to see live, the Corvette C7 Stingray. The event itself was one of those regular, well organized, launching events at one of the official dealer’s showroom in Beirut with some top models here and there, local celebrities and a draw for a wonderful rolex at the end. At the contrary, the main car that was being introduced, wearing the Stingray badge, had nothing regular about it. Feel free to check the pictures of the event by clicking right here.

Corvette C7 Stingray BackThe new Vette is powered by a 6.2-litre V8, outputting 460bhp and 465 lb-ft of torque to the rear wheels allowing it to burn the 0-100km/h in just 3.9 seconds. It is not only lighter than the old version but featured a revised chassis and has 4 drive modes: Comfort, Touring, Sport and Track. The comfort mode shots off 4 of the 8 cylinders when you’re light on the throttle in order to save fuel. The track mode in the contrary, is a whole different story, it weights-up the steering, opens up the exhausts and firms the dampers to make sure your levels of adrenaline reach new peaks! You may notice sort of paddle shifts behind the steering wheel even though it is a manual. Well those aren’t really paddle shifts. It is a system that, once turned on, makes sure your RPM stays high while you are shifting gears. Mimics the effects of a heels toe if you wish. Quite something! That thing must be a joy to drive can’t to try out that new manual gearbox!

Stingray-1Look wise, this thing looks amazing! Finally has a proper solid body not a plastic feel one like on the previous models. You have to see it pass by on the street to really know what I am talking about. Really deserve that Stingray badge. The signature 4 central exhaust tail pipes has been conserved. The interior looks good, the center console is driver oriented, the seats are well design and are quite comfortable nothing astonishing to mention though. Cherry on top you get all of that for the price of a Boxster! Starting price of this beauty is just around $100K in Lebanon. All in all, good job Chevy, that new born is going to make it into the history books.

Test Drive | Mercedes A200

Mercedes A200 FrontI must say that A200 was quite a surprise. The engine, a 1,6 liters Turbocharged engine was a joy to drive. Even though it has an output of 156hp and 250nm of torque, it manages a very respectable 0-100km/h time of 8.3 seconds. The car feels light, has a very precise steering and really grips through the corners. Suspension was comfortable yet there wasn’t too much body roll. Yes I have to admit it, in order to enjoy it you have to floor it constantly but, with the 3 instagram winners of the “A200 cruise” as passengers, the car was able to climb from Beirut to Baabdat through Metn el Sari3 highway with not too much struggle. The seven speed dual-clutch gearbox was smooth but felt less responsive than the DSG. The fact that there is no gear shift was very weird at first but I got used to it pretty fast specially thanks to the paddle shifts.

Mercedes A200 InteriorAesthetically, the car looks really good from the inside but that small screen with huge borders looks a bit odd, reminds me of that digital photo frame I offered my grand mother last Christmas. Seats looked really good and were comfortable. You do feel that you are in a Mercedes. As driven, that blue hatch costs $46,500. (Keep in mind a 116 one series BMW with its 136hp costs around $40k)

Mercedes A200 SeatsSo would I advise you to buy one? If you are a girl looking for a first car, and daddy would never accept to buy you other than a Mercedes because it would ruin the reputation of the family, that is the car for you! A BMW 1 series could be suitable as well as an economical, not very fast and safe first car in the same budget. (If your dad is one of those anti-front-wheel-drive kind of guys). Personally, as a car to get a first driving experience on, I would rather get a 1,6 Golf 7 (even-though it has only 105hp) which looks as good if not better from the inside and the outside and satisfies the same purpose as the A. Last but not least, I would like to thank Mercedes Lebanon for this wonderful opportunity they gave me to test one of their newest models. Had a blast! Mercedes A200 Back

Lamborghini Huracan Official Video

Lamborghini-Huracan_LP610-4_2015 FrontA typical apocalyptic commercial for the official launch of the Huracan. You might think that Lamborghini has dropped the tradition of naming its car models after reputed bulls but you would be wrong. According to Lamborghini, Huracán was a bull that fought in Alicante in 1879. With its triple meaning of storm, Mayan god, and raging bull, this might be the coolest car name ever.

Lamborghini-Huracan_LP610-4_2015 InteriorConsidered the entry-level Lamborghini, what the California is to Ferrari, it is the replacement of the company’s best-selling model ever, the Gallardo. A worth successor? Powered by a 5.2-liter direct-injected V10 delivering 610 hp and 413 lb-ft of torque that bull would fly the 0-100 km/h in 3.2 seconds (0.2 faster than the 458). The chassis, the result of the combined work of Audi and Lambo weighs 10 per cent less than the Gallardo, but is 50 per cent stiffer thanks to the use of carbon fiber and aluminum. Transmitting the immense power to the new freshly engineered all wheel drive system is a 7 speed dual clutch gear box. A clever feature allows you to hold the left hand paddle as you’re braking hard, entering a corner, automatically the lowest gear possible will be selected in order to provide you with maximum acceleration out of it. All those elements can react differently to the click of a button, the ANIMA (translates as ‘soul’ in Italian) on the bottom of the steering wheel which is much like Ferrari’s Manettino dial.

Lamborghini-Huracan_LP610-4_2015 BackBeing a mix of Aventador and Gallardo, that beast look angry! And it sounds very angry too, judging by that apocalyptic launching ad which reminds me of the Aventador launching commercial released a couple of years ago. The world is coming to an end, the earth’s 5 elements are going crazy and your Lambo is your only key of survival! So, a worth successor? I would say definitely yes even though I think a couple of more ponies could have fitted under the hood. When Ferrari is extracting 570hp out of its V8, 610hp is a bit short for a V10. Yep I would still get a 458 over that massive bull. Oh oh and I forgot to mention, there is a Huracan coming to Lebanon in a couple of month and I met its owner ;) So stay tuned to TheAdsGarage instagram account to have a first glimpse at it!