x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 23 January 2018

Week in Motoring: Land Rover to reveal convertible Evoque in Geneva

Plus Toyota launches Land Cruiser in the UAE; Gargash goes green with fleet; drifters show off at Sharjah motor event; and Elton John's old E-Type Jaguar goes on sale.

Land Rover will gauge reaction before going ahead with production. Newspress
Land Rover will gauge reaction before going ahead with production. Newspress

Land Rover is to unveil a Range Rover Evoque convertible concept car at the Geneva Motor Show this month.

The bold concept marks the next step for the widely well-received Evoque crossover, which has been on sale for about six months now. The soft-top features a fully retractable roof system with a Roll Over Protection System, a drop down tailgate and a comfortable four seat package.

Land Rover says its DNA is at the concept's heart as it retains key characteristics including all-terrain capability.

The convertible is being released as a design and engineering study at the Geneva show.

"The Evoque lends itself beautifully to the idea of a convertible. This study is not a traditional convertible design execution - instead, we have worked with the balance of the Evoque's lines to retain its distinctive shape and create something that is unique and, we believe, highly desirable," says design director Gerry McGovern.

No production plans have yet been confirmed though it has been reported that it will be on sale by 2014.


Land Cruiser launch in UAE

The 2012 Toyota Land Cruiser launched in the UAE last week, promising sharper design and advanced handling technologies.

The front bumper of the car has been redesigned with enlarged overhangs, making it look thicker, while the radiator grille has a rounder surface. Headlights have been modified with HID low beams and integrated LED lights and there's also the option of a swing back door.

Inside, a brighter, more luxurious cabin awaits, with high-gloss wood grain trim and bright silver. The steering wheel also has a wood grain/leather combination and there's a larger gear stick and door handles.

It also has new handling features such as the Turn Assist System, which, unsurprisingly, aids turning, and the Multi-terrain select system now has five modes instead of three.

"The Land Cruiser has an enduring relationship with the people of this nation. Emiratis have even given the Land Cruiser pickup a special name, Abu Shanab," said Simon Frith, managing director of Al-Futtaim Motors, Toyota's distributor in the UAE.

Prices range from Dh195,000 to Dh305,000.

Gargash goes green with fleet

Gargash Enterprises has announced it will honour the green strategy of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, with the introduction of the UAE's first commercial vehicle running on biodiesel.

Gargash, the authorised distributor of Mercedes-Benz in Dubai, Sharjah and the Northern Emirates, will use the new vehicle as a shuttle bus service for customers of its Al Quoz workshop.

The company then aims to adapt its fleet of 11 commercial vehicles - staff transportation and recovery trucks - to run on biodiesel within weeks.

It marks a significant step, says Abdul Jabbar Gargash, the firm's executive director, who was keen to support Sheikh Mohammed's UAE Strategy for Green Development, which aims to boost the UAE's green credentials.

"Going Green is a collective effort and responsibility, and with His Highness propelling the cause, we at Gargash are very confident and pleased about being a part of this critical campaign," says Gargash.

Biodiesel is a clean-burning, sustainable fuel that Gargash will convert in Dubai from local used cooking oil, which would otherwise be a waste product.


Catch the drift of 4x4s and saloon cars at Sharjah motor event

After the success of the Red Bull Car Park Drift event in Abu Dhabi last month, the increasingly popular sport will be showcased again in the UAE at the Middle East Motor Tuning Show.

The event aims to tap into the growing fad for drifting among people in a region where a unique style of the sport had developed - using 4x4s.

Experts say mainly Land Cruisers and Nissan Patrols are used at several skid pan events here and in Saudi Arabia.

"Drifting is very popular over here as it's seen as a highly skilled and high-powered activity that calls for complete control of the car. To put it in the language of racing aficionados, it's adrenalin to the max," says Saif Mohammed Al Midfa, the director-general of Expo Centre Sharjah, which is hosting the show.

The event, which attracted 30,000 visitors last year, has two drifting arenas - one for 4x4s and one for saloon cars - and takes place between March 15 and 17.


Drive like a Rocket Man in Elton John's old Jaguar E-Type classic

Car enthusiasts, we hope you're ready for love as you're bound to fall for the classic Jaguar E-Type once owned by Sir Elton John that is selling at auction.

The red car, which was one of the fastest of its day, reaching speeds of 240kph using its 4.2L straight six-cylinder engine, is on the market with a guide price of £50,000 [Dh291,198] to £70,000.

The British singer, who plays Yas Arena on March 29, bought the 1960s icon in 1987 but sold it to the car's current owner at an auction in 2001 for £80,000. Amazingly, the unnamed current owner has only driven the car 1,610km in the 11 years since.

The car's British number plate reads "OKE1", which John read as "OK Elton" when he was its owner.

The E-Type is said to be in a relatively good condition and will go under the hammer at Bonhams Collectors' Motor Cars and Automobilia sale in Oxford, England, today. For information, visit www.bonhams.com/cars.