Taking place immediately after one the biggest international automotive shows in Geneva, Qatar Motor Show 2017 gave many brands the opportunity to showcase their latest launches in Qatar after their worldwide unveiling.
The Qatar Motor Show (QMS) officially opened its doors on April 18 at the Doha Exhibition and Conference Center in the presence of HE Jassim Saif Ahmed Al Sulaiti, Minister of Transport and Communications; HE Minister of Municipality and Environment Mohammed bin Abdullah Al Rumaihi; Ahmed Al Obaidli, Director of Exhibitions Department at Qatar Tourism Authority; Sheikh Sultan Bin Fahed Al Thani, Events Manager at Fira Qatar; and Sheikh Faisal Bin Qassim Al Thani.
Prior to the official opening, local and regional media were taken on a tour of the show which spanned 12,000 square metres, where brand exhibitors showcased 110 automotive vehicles including eight cars revealed for the first time in the region and 14 local car launches. Leading international carmakers introduced top sports, luxury and mid-range automotive models and branded lifestyle goods. In celebration of its seventh anniversary, QMS, under the theme “Driving to Innovation”, delivered an experiential event featuring the latest technology, innovation, and performance trends and gave international carmakers the opportunity to interact with consumers, offering hands-on experiences with their products and technology.
The Super Car, a brand new Lotus Evora 410, was displayed here, making it the first time the car has been seen in the region since its European reveal in March. The car boasts of a max speed of 285 km/h, a max power of 410 hp at 7000 rpm and the car’s front and rear have a fully independent suspension, forged aluminium double wishbone suspension, anti-roll bar, Eibach springs and Bilstein dampers. It offers a Lotus tuned hydraulically assisted steering and driver selectable ESP modes – Drive/Sport/Race. Another highlight of the show was Middle Eastern debut of the Fittipaldi EF7 Vision Gran Turismo by Pininfarina. The ultra-light, all carbon fiber racing supercar was built for F1 champion Emerson Fittipaldi to fulfill his dream to produce a car with fierce track-racing capabilities, for drivers of all skill levels. The car will have a limited production with every EF7 owner having the opportunity to benefit from personal coaching by Emerson Fittipaldi himself.
This year, QMS embraced new and exciting ways to engage visitors. Touch screen tablets allow visitors to explore the Genesis’ models, VR activities brought Hyundai’s Ioniq to life, while Maserati offered its fans the chance to explore a configuration room and lounge. Toyota invited car enthusiast to embrace the quietness of its Prius model through VR and an interactive quiz. Additionally, the car maker partnered with comedian Khalifa Haroon, to run live competitions. Chevrolet showcased a giant Rubik’s cube where an artist created the brand’s logo.
True to the theme, innovation continued to thrive with several companies showcasing products and trends that gave visitors a hint of what the future of the automotive industry would look like. Tazweed, a local app that acts as the middle-man between car users and suppliers offering parts and car services all over the GCC, showcased their solutions here. The company Q3 Smart offered visitors advanced solutions that allow them to start their cars engine from their smartphones, lock their doors and check their vehicle’s status even when they are away. The app also allows users to track their vehicles. Another noteworthy product was NESU’s technologically-advanced card that is a unique, patented and tested solution against the harmful effects of mobile or radio frequency radiation.
As usual, the showstopper at the event was the collection of more than 20 classic cars that were on display, supported by Sheikh Faisal Museum, Al Fardan Premier Motors and Mawater Centre, a classic car and motorcycle club that was founded to support, unite and represent the mutual interests of historic vehicle owners and enthusiasts of Qatar. In addition to showcasing these iconic cars, they also treated Doha to a daily extravagant car parades that set off from the VIP parking of exhibition centre everyday.
Batabit hosted a series of speed bikes, choppers and spiders parade, wrapping the show with a stellar performance at the Corniche. The interactive fan zones were packed with performances and activities including the inaugural XRebels extreme sports performance by Xtork at the ‘Xtreme Sports Park’, taht were open to the public. Skateboarding, BMX Best Runs and Longboard Sprint Race competitions ran throughout the event and while fun games such as parkour, MTB and Aggressive Inline Skate were also hosted.
In the following pages, we feature some of the highlights of the show with exclusive interviews with executives from the brands and a sneak peak at the best features of some of the cars launched here. It is understood that following discussions with key members of Qatar’s automotive industry and a thorough evaluation of trade and consumer demand, the organisers of the Qatar Motor Show have decided to shift the event to a biennial show starting from the 2018 edition. Considering the year-long hiatus has done the show good in terms of revitalizing the experience and finding innovative and interactive events, this could only be a good thing.
A mode for every mood
Known for their luxury and design, the three new vehicles from Mercedes-Benz gives people the opportunity to own cars that appeal to their needs and budget.
Nasser Bin Khaled Automobiles participated in the QMS for the seventh consecutive edition and revealed three new cars – Mercedes-Benz E Coupe, Mercedes-AMG E 43, Mercedes-AMG SLC 43 and a wide range of sporty, luxury and SUV cars. With all the new features, the Merceds-Benz CLA promises to offer the best in terms of engine power, safety, comfort and internal ambience, making it the ideal choice for those looking for luxury, efficiency, power and modernity. Sporty and powerful, its dynamic design characterised by rounded contours makes the CLA stand out. Its profile is sleek like a coupé, yet it offers room for five. In undertaking the facelift modifications, the designers have subtly honed the distinctive look and upgraded the interior. A striking classic design with distinct features include contemporary interiors and state-of-the-art technology that combines avant-garde with modern luxury. The C Class boasts of new assistance systems which provide safety of the highest level, while a new optional air-sprung suspension provides for an exemplary ride and driving comfort as well as nimble and agile handling. In terms of appearance, the new C Class adopts a progressive approach with its clear yet emotive design and high-class interiors. Then comes the Mercedes-Benz E Class, the core of the brand which has a distinct design. Mercedes-Benz has taken a big step into the future with the all-new E-Class. The cars are now available in Qatar at the showroom of Nasser Bin Khaled Automobiles, the authorised distributors of Mercedes-Benz in Qatar.
Keeping up with the MINI
The luxury compact brand has a strong position globally, with 2016 being its best year ever. The car markers are hoping to capitalise on this momentum in 2017, with a newer range of models.
From January to March this year, 285 Minis were delivered to their owners across the Middle East, a 14% increase from last year. Introducing the new MINI Countryman to the media representatives at QMS, Managing Director of BMW Group Middle East, Johannes Seibert, was all praise for the largest MINI to date. “It’s 20cm longer and 8cm wider than its predecessor, which allowed us to substantially increase the interior space for passengers and cargo. The five seats are individually adjustable, giving customers the versatility they expect and require.” Calling it a true SUV, Seibert spoke about some of its standout features like the popup screen for entertainment display, panoramic sunroom, pop-out picnic bench and automatic tailgate with easy open function. This offering, together with the MINI Clubman, will cement the brands standing in the fast-growing premier compact segment, he said.
The MINI stall at QMS also highlighted the John Cooper Works line of MINI models, boasting of award-winning precision engines, upgraded transmissions, huge brakes, sport suspensions and a suite of top-line hardware. “Our JWC line has high performance in their DNA and the JWC MINI Countryman has the most powerful engine ever in a production MINI – a 2L twin power turbo engine with 231 hp that can go from 0 to 100 km/h in 6.3 seconds,” he said, assuring enthusiasts that this model will be made available in Qatar in May. With this and the JWC versions of MINI Clubman and MINI 3-Door Hatch that are already in showrooms here, customers can now own a truly one-of-a-kind MINI, thanks to customizable features like a full body aero kit, JWC wheels, colours and visual enhancements.
Clicking with the millennial crowd
Speaking at QMS, the General Manager of Automotive at Saleh Al Hamad Al Mana, Martin Aherne, says the new Nissan KICKS is designed to appeal to those young at heart.
For Nissan, QMS is the perfect platform to launch the new KICKS, says Martin Aherene. “This is the first time it is being announced in the Middle East and this is a very good stepping stone for us at Nissan to showcase this product before we soft launch in other showrooms across GCC.”
The KICKS is a powerhouse of all kinds of nifty technology such as a 360 degree camera that can display images to the seven-inch monitor. There is also an active warning system which will send off alarms to alert the driver of any obstacles. “If the car goes over a bump, there’s an automatic break that is activated so it doesn’t bump into cars behind or ahead,” he says. “And around the corners, the break is applied to individual tyres so it doesn’t slide off the road.” Arherene said that the brand is expecting big things from KICKS not least because of its youthful appeal. “It has a more reserved look and the younger generation doesn’t like to stick to the same standard colours, so we are trying to make it more interesting by adding different accents to the wheels, bonnets, hoods etc.”
Safe and economical driving will continue to be the core tenants of Nissan’s philosophy, he said, mentioning that a lot of electronic and hybrid cars are coming up as part of the brand’s portfolio. “For the future, we are primarily focused around safety, early warning systems, technology in relation to getting connected cars,” Aherene said.
Jaguar Land Rover
The magnificient seven
Jaguar Land Rover’s new Discovery makes its debut at QMS 2017.
Alfardan Premier Motors Co., the exclusive retailers of Land Rover in the State of Qatar, revealed the Land Rover Discovery during QMS. The seven-seater SUV also has three rows. The vehicle is perfect for families and adventure enthusiasts; its revolutionary design gives the all-new Discovery a dynamic appearance. Jaguar Land Rover’s In Control Touch Pro infotainment system adds to the vehicle’s superior versatility. The intuitive set-up features a large 10-inch touch screen positioned high on the centre console, enabling Land Rover’s designers to reduce the number of switches (on the centre console) by a third, delivering a clean and uncluttered appearance. The Discovery retains the renowned Land Rover all-terrain capability, which is a combination of off-road geometry and advanced technology, while improving its everyday usability. A comprehensive suite of off-road driving technologies ensures that the Discovery’s supreme all-terrain capability is easy to access even for inexperienced drivers. Powered with a six-cylinder engine, the Discovery is paired with a smooth and responsive ZF eight-speed automatic gearbox. Land Rover’s advanced 340PS supercharged petrol 3.0-litre V6, the Si6, provides 450Nm of torque to deliver relaxed performance and capability.
“We continue to see both the Jaguar and Land Rover brands keep pace and surpass customers’ expectations in Qatar and are proud to partner with the company once again to showcase their exciting lineups at the 2017 Qatar Motor Show. Jaguar Land Rover’s loyal customer base is growing in Qatar and this event is another perfect opportunity for us to engage with motoring enthusiasts. I am confident that this year’s line-up will wow crowds,” says Rabih Ataya, General Manager for Alfardan Premier Motors.
Introducing its enhanced 2017 lineup at QMS, the Land Rover also displayed the Range Rover Sport, Range Rover Evoque and Discovery Sport. The Discovery is now available exclusively at Alfardan Premier Motor showrooms across Qatar with prices starting from QR 217,900.
Staying true to the basics
The German automaker introduced three separate models at QMS, each with their own USPs, yet true to the spirit of BMW that is all about the joy of driving.
Introducing the brand new seventh generation BMW 5 Series at QMS, Managing Director of BMW Group Middle East, Johannes Seibert, says it has always been the heart of the BMW brand with 7.6 million cars sold since its launch in 1972. “This new model which came out in February has had an impressive start with very strong demand and the feedback of customers, and media internationally has been very positive,” he said, adding that this is not surprising, considering the car is elegant, spacious, luxurious and filled with plenty of innovative technologies. “It perfectly embodies what customers from the Middle East expect from a luxury sedan.” The 5 Series points the way to the future with more autonomous driving features than any other BMW by using a sophisticated system of censors, GPS support and cameras in order to identify the precise position of the car. It also detects markings on the road while overtaking, braking, cruising and accelerating. “In spite of all these enhancements, the car still stands for the pleasure of driving, which is typical of all BMW cars,” Seibert said.
He also introduced the top-of-the-line BMW 7 series M760Li. The “M” stands for motorsport which lifted BMW’s flagship model into a world of high performance with 0 to 100 km/h in 3.7 seconds and a top speed of 300 km/h. The BMW M3 was introduced next and Seibert said that no other manufacturer had ever come closer to developing motorsport technology for everyday use. The M3, he said, has maintained its dominance with “supreme handling, vicious power and business-like good looks”. Its 3L M twin powered turbo engine delivers 425 hp and can go from 0 to 100 km/p in 3.9 seconds.
Despite the general decline of the Middle-Eastern automotive market, the brand closed its Q1 sales for 2017 slightly above the previous year at 6837 deliveries. “We continue to outperform the market, because during uncertain times customers look for a strong brand, future proof products and excellent retail services,” he said.
Luxury with a human touch
The latest Lexus model, the LC 500, was unveiled for the first time in Qatar during QMS. Inside its spectacular exteriors lies the heart of a sports car.
The new LC 500 was introduced to visitors in the presence of Nasser Abdulghani Al Abdulghani, Chairman at Abdullah Abdulghani& Bros. Co., and Yugo Miyamoto, General Manager for Lexus Middle East. They extolled the virtues of the car, calling its attractive shape and contemporary style representative of the future design of the Lexus brand. “We would like to be a luxury lifestyle brand that doesn’t just provide cars but also appeals to human emotions, stimulating the imagination and offering a sense of surprise,” Miyamoto said.
The Lexus LC 500 features a 5.0-liter V8 engine with 471 horsepower. This engine takes its place in the centre of the car, behind the front axle and in front of the passenger compartment, to actually be a vehicle with a front-facing engine. This gave the LC 500 the perfect weight distribution, with 52% front and 48% rear, which Lexus believes will lead to the perfect driving experience.
Lexus Qatar had dedicated a zone for hybrid vehicles at QMS where they displayed the RX 450h and GS 450h, which are characterised by smart technology and fuel-saving capabilities. Lexus Hybrid vehicles switch smoothly and automatically between the electric motor and gasoline engine. Lexus also brought humour to this edition of the show, with comedian Hamad Al Amari presenting tailor-made educational stories about the car maker and its history at their stands.
Maserati moves into the SUV segment by showcasing its latest entries at QMS 2017.
A name associated with a niche community of buyers in the country, Alfardan Sports Motors, the official dealers of Maserati in Qatar, showcased a stellar ensemble of its models at the Qatar Motor Show 2017, which comprised of its first-ever SUV, the Levante, the executive sedan Ghibli S, the sporty GranTurismo, and the new Quattroporte GTS, the brand’s flagship model.
A turning point in the brand’s history, Levante’s distinctive design combines spaciousness and coupé lines, while its range of cutting-edge technology administers new levels of safety and entertainment on the road. The model’s sporty demeanour is powered by the 3-litre V6 engine with twin turbo, making it to 100km/h in just 6.0 seconds with a top speed of 251 km/h. The Maserati V6 petrol engine with latest GDI and twin turbo is available in two versions: the top-of-the-range 430 hp and the exciting 350 hp. Both variants of the Maserati Levante adopt the eight-speed automatic ZF gearbox that provides seamless comfort and fast gear shifting, depending on the selected drive mode: “Normal”, I.C.E., “Sport” or “Off-road”. The Ghibli S is powered by the twin turbo V6 engines is a combination of style, power, sporty handling and comfort, encapsulating the soul of the brand. It boasts the highest levels of agility, delivering a powerful drive with a torque of 550Nm with an acceleration of 0 to 100 km/h in 5.0 seconds. The GranTurismo features a fascinating 4.2 litre V8 engine; it produces a maximum power of 405hp and a torque of 460 Nm.
With over 50 years of race breed engineering advancement into a sophisticated luxury sedan, the sixth-generation Quattroporte GTS is top of the range. Its powerful V8 engine achieves a maximum speed of 310km/h, sprinting from 0 to 100km/h in 4.7 seconds. “Maserati achieved incredible growth in the region, especially in Qatar, and this reflects our commitment to offer our clients the exclusivity, luxury craftsmanship, Italian design and performance that Maserati is renowned for. We are pleased to showcase our top-range models at this world-class platform, providing clients and fans the opportunity to experience the brand’s Italian finesse,” said Charly Dagher, General Manager, Maserati Qatar, Alfardan Sports Motors.
A trusted brand
Toyota unveiled the Kikai and proved its commitment towards hybrid technology; and showcased its most popular models at the Qatar Motor Show this year.
Working under their guiding principles of customer-first philosophies – fairness, integrity, respect, superior performance and teamwork, Abdullah Abdulghani & Brothers Company introduced the new Toyota KIKAI. As a true concept car, the Toyota Kikai’s appeal is simultaneously free from and reliant on the core concepts of automobiles. The Toyota Kikai (Kikai means machine in Japanese) aims to highlight elements such as the beauty, precision and mechanical workings of a car by literally providing windows that are normally out of view. It has got minimal body panels to show the interesting and finely-crafted mechanisms inside; all those exciting oily bits of a car that are normally hidden. The Kikai’s standout feature is a pair of windows at the front left and right of the driver’s foot area through which the movement of the wheels and front suspension can be seen. The look and feel of the booth was in line with the recently announced brand campaign “Go Share the Fun” with the all-new 2017 Toyota.
The visitors explored more about Toyota’s most popular models – Toyota Yaris, Toyota Corolla, Toyota Camry, Sporty Toyota 86, Toyota Prius, which is the largest selling hybrid model in the world along with the three variants of Toyota Land Cruiser – GX, GXR and top-of-the-range VXS. Also on display was the Toyota Fortuner 2017 which was awarded with the title of “Best Mid-size SUV” Middle East Car of the Year during the Mecoty 2017 Awards recently in UAE. The brand demonstrated the hybrid technology through different activities, showcasing its unique features, where visitors enjoyed a unique personalised experience. Dr Nasser Abdulghani, AAB Board Chairman, said, “I would like to take this opportunity to thank our loyal Toyota customers for their support, helping us to maintain our position as the No. 1 automotive brand in Qatar, thanks to the excellent products that Toyota Motor Corporation had introduced in the market.”
A versatile show
UCA, the authorised sales and services dealers for Chrysler, Jeep and Dodge in Qatar, showcased the diversity of its offerings at the seventh edition of the Qatar Motor Show.
Taking a look at the Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT, its tight-to-the-road stance, wide footprint and bold blacked-out front-end give the vehicle a look on its own. The 6.4L HEMI(r) V8 engine delivers a massive 475 horsepower through an efficient eight-speed automatic transmission. Eco Mode and Fuel Saver Technology complete the equation for both power and efficiency.
“The Qatar Motor Show is one of the most important events on the calendar and is the perfect platform for us to display our vehicles,” Gurdeep Multani, UCA General Manager, said. “The show has allowed us to showcase models for the first time. The Ram 1200 is introduced for the first time in Doha and we are excited a complete a new range of Ram 1500: Sport, Longhorn and Limited. What sets our brands apart is that they come with Mopar accessories, allowing you to customise your car while staying under warranty. 2016 was a great year for us and we have hit our first quarter business plan for this year, witnessing a 91% growth for Ram.” The Wrangler Rubicon boasts a powerful and efficient 3.6L Pentastar V6 engine with 17 city/21 hwy mpg+. This 285-horsepower engine provides with power, satisfying fuel efficiency with up to 472 highway miles on a tank of gas+ and will deliver up to 260 pound-feet of torque. The Command Trac(r) 4×4 system splits torque 50/50 between the front and rear axles for conditions where more traction is required. The Rock-Trac(r) 4WD system helps deliver more control and more torque at the wheels.
812 SuperFast: Redefining speed
Alfardan Sports Motors, the official dealers of Ferrari in Qatar, unveiled the brand-new 812 Superfast at QMS 2017.
Amidst a glamorous ceremony that marked the inauguration of the high-profile motor event, the fastest from the race brand, the 812 Superfast was launched. True to its name, the 812 Superfast is indubitably the fastest road-going Ferrari ever built. Powered by a new 6.5-litre V12, the vehicle achieves its maximum power output at 8,500 rpm with a maximum speed of 340 km/h, racing from 0-100 in 2.9 seconds. Designed as the flagship V12 Berlinetta, the model embodies Ferrari’s revered V12 heritage that sprung to life in 1947, with the birth of the brand. “It is the newest V12 engine at the moment. What’s special about the car is not only the power of the engine, but the fact that Ferrari develops the technology to exploit the power on the track as well. The goal is to make the driver feel the thrill of Ferrari and the confidence that he’s enjoying the car. This is definitely not a surprise for us as Ferrari will always deliver the best,” said Charly Dagher, General Manager, Maserati Qatar at Alfardan Sports Motors. Its timely world premiere at the Geneva Motor Show, followed by the Qatar Motor Show, coincides with Ferrari’s 70th anniversary celebrations this year, building on its recognition as the only manufacturer to have continuously produced sports cars with 12-cylinder engines throughout that time. The celebration was unique with a parade showcasing the latest vehicles from Doha to Zubarah. “In the future we will have more tracks coming up for clients and Ferrari owners to drive around. We also take our clients to Italy to improve their skills by signing them up for training courses to compete on international tracks.”
“I’m passionate about cars and absolutely love this brand. I’ve been with Ferrari for the last 11 years and seen how this brand has developed in its speed, technology and visibility. I started as an after-sales agent and worked hard in my journey to become the general manager three years ago,” said Dagher, speaking about his journey with the brand. “With Ferrari, I always want more and I know that there’s always going to be more that the brands will offer. We are extremely thrilled to be part of the Qatar Motor Show. This is an incredible opportunity to connect with fast car aficionados and offer them a unique perspective of the Ferrari world. The 812 Superfast is a significant model in the Ferrari history. It’s not just the fastest, but also the most powerful production car up to date. We are eager to demonstrate Ferrari’s superior technological advancements and impeccable craftsmanship that make the brand a leader in the luxury sports car segment,” concluded Dagher.