x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

My Car: Diesel do nicely for family car

The diesel 5 Series BMW is the perfect economical family car for the Stanton family from Liverpool.

Summer Stanton and her brother, Kyle, enjoy the speed of the BMW, and the television in the headrests. But Kyle's favourite part is the Liverpool FC sticker on the back. Lee Hoagland / The National
Summer Stanton and her brother, Kyle, enjoy the speed of the BMW, and the television in the headrests. But Kyle's favourite part is the Liverpool FC sticker on the back. Lee Hoagland / The National

Next Sunday, May 15, is the United Nations' International Day of Families, which celebrates the importance of families and raises issues affecting family units worldwide.

And, according to the Stanton household, the biggest issue is usually who is getting to drive up front and why the father, Gary, won't go any faster.

A solid unit of four, the Stantons - Gary, Claire, Kyle and Summer - came to Dubai from Liverpool for a life in the sun and have now lived here for more than eight years, loving the Emirates life in their villa in Arabian Ranches.

An oil services supply company CEO, lifetime Liverpool FC fan and amateur goalkeeper, Gary can often be seen driving his family around in their 2010 BMW 535i twin turbo diesel M-tech, which he claims may be the only one in the UAE.

"It's definitely the only one I've ever seen or heard of in Dubai. The twin-turbo model first went on sale in 2009 and I've added over Dh40,000 in extras, such as full M-tech suspension kit, panoramic sunroof, alloys, steering wheel, boot spoiler, lowered suspension and vacuum-sealed doors - so if the doors aren't closed properly the car does it for you.

"My wife let me buy it for my birthday present last year, so we celebrated my birthday this year with a spin in the car - it only seemed right. I bought it from Platinum Motors with only 5,000km on the clock and we've not had any problems with it over the 30,000km we've put on it since then.

"Platinum Motors imports diesel BMWs directly from Germany and exports them to Lebanon, where they are very popular. Thankfully I managed to intercept one as the diesel goes a lot further, saving me money on the school run to the Springs every morning five days a week," says Gary.

The diesel version looks like a traditional 5 Series but makes familiar diesel noises when it starts up. BMW engineers have added twin turbochargers to ensure the diesel version does an impressive zero-to-60kph in just six seconds, despite the heavier engine, giving it impressive performance not far behind its petrol brethren.

"The whole family just thinks it has a great look to it. It's very sleek and has plenty power when the foot's put down. The kids love it for its speed but mainly the fact it's got rear screens in the head rests. Although I cringe every time I hear them say they've dropped their chicken nuggets with ketchup down the upgraded black leather seats," laughs Gary.

Claire says, "Its smooth driving is perfect for the UAE's motorways and we've been on plenty of family drives to RAK and Fujairah. It's also great that the diesel goes a lot further than petrol, but the only problem is there's always a commotion at petrol stations as the attendants have never seen a diesel car in Dubai.

"There's never a dull moment with this car, like when we went to RAK last week and nearly ran dry as every petrol station only had big diesel nozzles for trucks. It was almost a nightmare until we finally found a 30 year old petrol station with a nozzle that fit.

"In the car's defence, last week there was a petrol shortage and when we went for a fill up at the Ibn Battuta mall there were at least 60 cars in line, which must've been an hour's wait. We just drove past up to the diesel pump with everyone looking on a bit confused and envious.

Gary says, "We'll definitely be keeping this car, at least until a new model comes out. Claire drives a 2011 GL 500 AMG seven seat and we love that as a family car too, so although we're British-born - give the Stantons German engineering any day. The BMW is a long way from the Ford Transit van I used to drive, so I don't ever take for granted what a great car this is."

Asking the youngsters what they think of the BMW, Kyle says: "My favourite part is the Liverpool FC sticker in the back and when dad drives it fast - usually when we're running late to watch the mighty reds playing."

Summer adds: "I like to watch my favourite DVDs on the screen on the way to school and back - it makes the journey go really quickly."