To 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.
Mainly, 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.
All 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!
It 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.
The 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!
Look 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.
On Sunday the 26th of January, I was invited to Biel, Beirut to attend the launching of the new stallion from Ferrari, the awaited 458 Speciale. The event was very well organised and the setting was perfect. We had a couple of F12 Berlinetta, Enzo, 599 GTO and other custom made 458 to admire while waiting for the rest of the guests to arrive. All the pictures of the event are available by clicking right here.
The Major announcements before the Speciale arrived were the official transfer of the Ferrari importer-ship in Lebanon from Sport Motors Group s.a.l. to Scuderia Lebanon s.a.l. and the introduction of a ultra-modern facility located in Dbayeh, offering showrooms for new and pre-owned Ferraris in addition to a “state of the art” workshop all under the management of Mr. Hassan Haidar.
“So, that Speciale, what do you think of it and is it worth upgrading from a regular 458?” Is the question I asked to a couple of 458 owners to which they all answered with a radical No. No because the regular 458 is so good, so well balanced, so fun to drive, that topping it is very very hard. Ferrari did add 30hp and melt its weight by 90kg and add a couple of active aerodynamics here and there but that is not a major enhancement compared to the awesomeness of the 458, it is not ground braking (Yep they had already test driven that Speciale!!). They all added that, upgrading from a F430 to a F430 Scuderia was worth it at the time but in that new generation not really. You are free to check the full review of the 458 Speciale by clicking right here. Oh and btw we got that awesome gift on the way out signed by Luca di Montezemolo himslef!