Acura NSX

Post by Mark

The local Acura dealer now has an NSX in stock. It’s by far the most interesting car in the Acura lineup but at the asking price, they just have too many great and more exciting competitors *cough* McLaren 570s *cough*.

The dealer is selling the NSX for KD65,000 and it’s just the one displayed above. They’ve only ever imported three to Kuwait, one was sold to someone in Dubai and the other two were sold locally.


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Rectangular Car Plates Just for Kuwaitis?

Post by Mark

A reader emailed me complaining about a new rule he recently found out from his dealer. The reader had purchased an Audi and the dealer had installed the regular square plates on the front. The problem was his car had a radar in the front grill for collision warning, and the square plate started interfering with it. So he took the car back to the dealer and asked them to install the rectangular “Euro” plates on the car but the dealer told him couldn’t get those plates because he was an expat.

According to the Audi dealer, the rectangular car plates are now only being installed on cars registered to Kuwaiti citizens and as an expat, he wouldn’t be able to get them. I told him it was probably BS, that the dealer messed up and was coming up with random excuses but the dealer showed my reader five other cars that were ready for collection, three were for expats and had square plates while two were for Kuwaitis and had the rectangular plates.

If this is a new rule then I think it’s an incredibly stupid one. Has anybody else faced this issue?


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Local Mercedes-Benz Dealership Might Be Changing

Post by Mark

There have been rumors for some time now that Mercedes-Benz was planning to leave the current dealership in Kuwait and yesterday a letter started making its way around social media which confirms it. According to the letter which was sent to employees, the dealership agreement between Mercedez-Benz and Al Bisher & Al Kazemi Group of Companies will be terminating on December 31st, 2018.

I’ve already contacted my source at the dealership to confirm the authenticity of the letter and once they get back to me, I’ll post an update here. But, if it is actually true, then the next question is who will be taking over the brand? Currently, the rumors are pointing towards Al-Mulla Group who are also the dealers for Acura and Mitsubishi, but I had also heard that Al-Sayer were interested in acquiring the brand as well (but I’ve been told that’s not happening).

Al Bisher & Al Kazemi have been the dealers for Mercedes-Benz in Kuwait since the 1950s. The last time a big change like this took place in the local car market was when Arabian Motors Group lost the Ford and Lincoln dealership to Alghanim in 2016.


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The Vault Vehicle Management and Storage Solutions

Post by Mark

I’ve had a few friends ask me about places to store their cars and I didn’t have any I could recommend until I found out about The Vault, a hidden underground parking that provides vehicle management and storage solutions.

Parking in Kuwait is a mess, majority of homes and apartment buildings have outdoor streetside parking that’s usually overcrowded and messy. Unless you live in a pretty fancy area, you usually don’t want to park your nice car out on the streets. Kuwait’s weather is also pretty harsh so you also don’t want to leave your car parked outside all summer long especially if its an older classic car. That’s when a service like The Vault comes handy.

Accessing The Vault is an experience by itself since to get down to the basement you’ll have to take your car via one of the two car lifts. When I arrived at the complex someone was waiting for me outside and helped me take my car down. Once the doors of the lift opened up in the basement, I drove into The Vault to find a bunch of interesting looking Porsches parked on one side, and then a line of Ferraris parked on the other. I instantly knew I was in for a treat. I love cars so it’s always exciting to check out other peoples special cars, no matter what they are. Special cars don’t have to be expensive, they just have to be interesting or unique. Since The Vault can only hold 45 cars, the owner is being choosy with what cars he accepts, think of it as being a boutique parking lot. And like I said, it isn’t about how expensive the cars are. Inside The Vault I spotted the super cute Nissan Figaro and a 1975 Land Rover Defender, both of which aren’t that expensive. But then you also had a like-new-condition classic Ferrari 348 and Zaid Ashkanani’s championship-winning Porsche GT3 Cup car parked nearby.

The Vault stores both cars and bikes and their “promotional” prices right now are as follows:

Cars
1 Month: KD75
3 Months: KD213
6 Months: KD408
12 Months: KD720

Bikes
1 Month: KD38
3 Months: KD108
6 Months: KD204
12 Months: KD380

They offer trickle charging for your car so the battery doesn’t die, they also offer car washes and they’ll check your car routinely and notify you in case your car develops a leak or something. Anytime you want to take your car out you can come to the facility, park your current car and drive off with the stored one. Really practical especially since The Vault is located near three major roads, the 6th Ring Road, Highway 30 and Gulf Road. If this is a service you’re interested in you can contact them on 94083166 or send them a DM @vmskw

Update: Their promotion is over and the prices have now changed.


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The All-New Lincoln Navigator

Post by Mark

When the all-new Lincoln Navigator concept car was previewed two years ago with its butterfly doors and futuristic looking seats, Lincoln brought the Navigator back into the spotlight. The Navigator was a pretty popular car for Lincoln when it had originally been released, but over time, it started looking dull and outdated (along with the rest of the Lincoln line up). The concept car was a way for Lincoln to show the market they were still relevant and it worked. A year later they released the all-new Lincoln Navigator and although it didn’t have the butterfly doors or the cool looking 3 piece fold out steps of the concept car, it pretty much retained everything else including the cool looking seats.

I’m generally not into large sized family SUV’s, but when I was asked if I was interested in reviewing the new Navigator I had two questions, did the test drive car have the cool seats and, did it have the cool car unlock light show? When I was told it did, I decided to borrow the car for the weekend.

First impressions, I was extremely impressed with the interior. The dashboard was pretty sleek with a large digital display that had super minimal but premium looking graphics. The buttons were all nicely laid out in the center console along with another large information screen. Even the gear change buttons were beautifully laid out in the center console. The interior oozed luxury and I wasn’t even in their top of the line “Presidential” model that used a more premium quality leather.

One of the things I was looking forward to were the seats because of how customizable and comfortable they supposedly were and I wasn’t disappointed. The seats had 11 different parts I could individually adjust as well as a built in massage feature and cold air ventilation. It had 30-way seat positioning so finding the most comfortable setup was super easy to achieve. Shorter people are also going to love the fact that the foot pedals are electronically adjustable and so can be brought in closer to the driver. The car I drove had a large panoramic roof which brought in daylight that lit up the incredibly large interior. Large is an understatement actually, the car is huge! The second row passengers have more legroom than most people do in the front seats of their cars, and then you have the third row seats to hold more people and you still had room behind those seats for your luggage. There is loads of storage space all over the car for your stuff as well as a huge storage compartment under the armrest and below the center console. The car also had multiple USB ports everywhere and even a wireless charging area.

The model I drove had a bunch of driver assist technologies including a lane keeping system, parking assist, brake assist, 360-degree cameras and adaptive cruise control. The combination of all these technologies made driving the humongous Navigator a lot easier and made driving, in general, a lot more comfortable. The adaptive cruise control works like cruise control on regular cars where you set a speed and the car would stick to it, with the Lincoln it also applied the brakes and slowed down for you when the car ahead would slow down or stop. Combined with a lane keeping system that can control the cars steering to keep you in your lane, you basically end up with a fairly autonomous vehicle when on the highway. The parking assist also made parking super easy. The car can perpendicular or parallel park for you and based on my short experience with the car, it worked pretty well all although it still scares the crap out of me everytime I let a car park for me. As you can see in the video above which I shot, the car takes full control of the steering and acceleration and all you need to do is apply the brakes to stop.

After spending a long weekend with the car I had to give it back and I was fine with that. The car was just too big for me and is clearly meant for large families. For a single guy like me the car felt overwhelming although I do miss the comfort and the serene interior. I had the car on the first day of Ramadan and even with all the traffic, I wasn’t bothered with the chaos that was taking place outside the car. It felt like I was sitting in my living room which is anice feeling to have while stuck in traffic. I do have some issues with the new Navigator though, none major but still worth mentioning. I really dislike the rear of the car, although I think the front of the car looked good, the back just looked super boxy and not in a cool way boxy, but more like the 90s outdated way. Then the stereo, even though the sound system in the car was pretty good, my issue with it was how the dashboard and doors rattled with the bass, and I’m not talking about rattles when I’m blasting the music really loud, I was hearing rattles at low volume as well. Not something I would expect from a premium car. Finally, I thought the suspension was too soft, it made the ride comfier obviously, but the car also tended to bounce a lot after going over a speed bump or hitting a pothole.

The price of the all-new Navigator starts at KD27,000 but the model I drove was the “Reserve” edition and that retails for KD29,000. For more information you can check out the Lincoln Alghanim webiste [Here] or their instagram account @lincolnalghanim


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F1 TV in Kuwait Update

Post by Mark

In my last post on accessing F1 TV in Kuwait, I wrote about how you can access it if you used a VPN and that it would probably start working with SmartDNS soon. Well two weeks later and my prediction came true, F1 TV now works in Kuwait using Smart DNS!

You no longer need to use a VPN which in my case improved streaming speed considerably. I’ve only tried it with my smartdnsproxy.com service (the same one I use for Netflix, HBO, Hulu, etc..) so not sure if it works with another provider. [Link]


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Random List of Car Prices in Kuwait

Post by Mark

I passed by a few dealerships last week to check out some cars with a friend of mine and below are some of the ones that interested me. These are approximate prices since they will vary depends on the options fitted, but it should give you a general idea of what the cars cost.

The best deal? Has to be the Alfa 4C pictured above. Used to be priced at KD24,000 but now selling for KD18,000. The most disappointing car, on the other hand, had to be the Volvo XC40. The local dealer got the most boring color combos and basically turned whats supposed to be a fun car for young people, into a boring looking car for my parents.

Check out the prices below:

Alfa Romeo 4C KD18,000
Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio KD28,799
Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio KD34,000

BMW M2 KD23,000

Jaguar E-Pace KD14,990

Lamborghini Huracán Performante KD100,000
Lamborghini Aventador KD153,000

Lexus LC500 KD33,000

McLaren 570S KD75,000
McLaren 570S Spider KD85,000
McLaren 720S KD120,000

Mercedes C43 AMG KD20,100
Mercedes E43 AMG KD25,900

Porsche 718 Cayman GTS KD22,900
Porsche 911 Carrera T KD32,000
Porsche Cayenne KD24,600
Porsche Panamera 4 Sport Turismo KD35,000

Rolls Royce Ghost KD138,000
Rolls Royce Wraith KD141,000

Volvo XC40 KD13,450


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The Ferrari GTC4Lusso

Post by Mark

Around six years ago, Ferrari launched the Ferrari FF model. It was a hatchback Ferrari with rear seats that could comfortably carry two large adults, but could also be folded down creating a ton of storage space for those ever important trips to IKEA. It was a very practical Ferrari and quickly became the daily driver for a lot of serious car guys including Chris Harris and YouTube car blogger Shmee. Then two years ago, Ferrari released an updated FF and called it the GTC4Lusso. The car pretty much looked the same with just a minor exterior facelift and the biggest changes coming under the hood and the interior.

People either loved or hated the way the FF looked like and it’s the same with the GTC4Lusso. Personally, I think its a great looking car and it reminds me a lot of the now classic BMW Z3 Coupe which was also controversial in the looks department.

Five minutes after driving out of the dealership I felt right at home in the Lusso. The car didn’t feel intimidating at all and I right away understood why so many people chose it as their daily driver. This is going to sound strange but the last time I remember a car being this comfortable to drive was the Mercedes S-Class. The way the Lusso drove over potholes and road imperfections, the way it took speedbumps and ate up cobblestone roads was just incredible, beyond anything I would expect from a high-end sedan let alone a Ferrari. Then you have the interior cabin which is fairly spacious, quiet and really comfortable to be in. The model I drove also had the panoramic sunroof which beautifully lit up the interior space. The most visual change in the GTC4Lusso over the FF is the interior since the center console now has a very large and sleek looking screen.

Oh yeah and my favorite part of the interior is probably the small screen in front of the front passenger, right over the glovebox. The touchscreen allows the passenger to control the stereo but also allows the passenger access to information like the speedometer, RPM and other car related information. A gimmick of course, but a well-executed one.

I had the car pretty much the whole day to do what I wanted with it, and yet I spent most of the day looking for traffic to drive into or backroads that might prove to be too rough for the car. I wanted to see how good a daily driver the Lusso was, and it just ate whatever I threw at it. In traffic it was comfortable to drive and no backroad turned out to be too much to handle. I completely get it now why a lot of people previously chose the FF and now the GTC4Lusso as their daily and sometimes their only car.

After spending the day with the Lusso I fell in love it with, so much so that I want one now. I test drive a lot of cars and not a lot of them capture my heart the way the Lusso did. Even when I took out the Ferrari 488GTB in January, it was a great car but I didn’t really want one. The way the Lusso made me feel reminded me a lot of how the Lotus made me feel when I first test drove it, and I eventually ended up getting one. The only problem in this case is the GTC4Lusso costs around KD100,000. That’s a lot of money to spend on a car and it would only make sense if I was in a much higher income class. But there is hope! I was at the Ferrari dealer a few days back checking out their used cars and they actually have 2 Ferrari FF’s for sale including a gorgeous silver one. Sadly the interior was a really bright red and gave me a headache so that’s a big no. But I’m not in a rush, and four or five years from now they’ll hopefully have a reasonably priced second hand Lusso for sale.

If you’ve got the budget and are looking for a sports car that you can drive daily, you really can’t go wrong with the GTC4Lusso. At 100K it’s in the price range of the extremely fast Huracán Performante and the hottest looking sports car right now, the McLaren 720S. But, unlike the GTC4Lusso, you couldn’t really drive those every day nor could you have them as your only car. If you’d like to find out more about Ferraris in Kuwait then you should follow the dealer on instagram @ferrarialzayanikuwait.


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F1 TV Access in Kuwait

Post by Mark

There are a lot of companies or brands I don’t like, and only a very few I really really dislike or hate. To get me to really hate you would take a lot of effort (suing me is one way *cough* Benihana *cough*), and somehow beIN have managed to really piss me off. I’m not going to spend a lot of time dwelling on this but to summarize, I only use them to stream Formula 1 races, and when I’ve run into problems, they had extremely horrible customer service. But, I finally found another way to legally (kinda) watch the F1 races… F1 TV.

Before I continue, yes I am aware there are multiple ways to stream the F1 races illegally. Personally, I always try to go the as legal way possible route, unless I hit a wall and then I resort to piracy.

If you’re a Formula 1 fan and you follow the news, you might be aware that Formula 1 just launched F1 TV. Depending on where you reside, you’ll be able to subscribe to F1 TV and have access to their full archive of races as well as being able to stream their current races live via their website.

F1 TV in Kuwait
Kuwait sadly isn’t one of the countries where F1 TV will work. I think that has to do with the agreement F1 have with beIN but since beIN is so buggy, I had to find a way to get F1 TV working in Kuwait and I managed to do just that. To get F1 TV working in Kuwait you need two things:

– VPN with an American server
– Credit card issued by an American bank

The first is easy to get, there are hundreds of options available online and my guess is that pretty soon you’ll also be able to use smartDNS to access F1 TV like we do to get access to US Netflix and Hulu. The credit card on the other hand is much harder to get. I got mine while vacationing in the States but I think there are ways of getting one online although I haven’t tried them. Once you’ve got these two things you can just subscribe to F1 TV and get access.

What’s F1 TV Like?
There are two F1 TV packages, F1 TV Access, and F1 TV Pro. Access doesn’t allow you to stream the races live but with the Pro package you can. If you pay month by month, Access is $3 a month while Pro is $12. If you sign up for a year then the prices drop down considerably with Pro coming to $8 a month, the same price beIN charge for one day access.

This past race was the first time F1 TV went live and it was super buggy. It was so bad that F1 TV sent out an apology and a refund because they weren’t able to cope with the load this past weekend. But, thats fine, it was their first weekend live and nobody was expecting them to be perfect.

When it did work though the service was spectacular, more than anything beIN could offer or any other channel for the matter.

– During practice, qualifications and the race you get access to the cameras inside every single car. So if you’re a Verstappen fan, you can choose to view the camera in his car, and then watch him race until he crashes into something.

– During practice, qualifications and the race you get access to different audio channels. When watching the main stream you can choose to listen to commentary in different languages, or you can choose not to have any commentary at all and just have car sounds. While watching the race from inside the car of your favorite driver, you get an additional option of being able to listen to the team radio.

– With F1 TV you get access to 68 seasons of races! SIXTY EIGHT seasons of Formula 1 racing, that’s just insane. Last night I was rewatching the 1998 Belgian Grand Prix when half the cars crashed at turn one of the race. I then watched a documentary on one of my favorite drivers of all time, Mika Häkkinen. Even if F1 TV didn’t include the archive, I would have easily forked out $8 a month just to stream the races live. The fact that they’ve included so much content with this $8 is an incredible bonus.

As you can tell, I’m very excited about F1 TV. If you’re an F1 fan and have any questions about the service let me know. There are some negatives right now with F1 TV including the lack of an Apple TV app being one. Currently I’m using the browser on my iPad to watch F1 TV which is annoying, but they only properly launched a few days ago so they’re still super busy working out all the kinks and I’m expecting them to launch an app soon. Things will only keep getting better from this point onwards.


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You Do Not Want to Renew Your Drivers License

Post by Mark

Previously, whenever you renewed your driving license it would get renewed for 10 years. I’m not really sure when that law changed, but now you have to renew it every year. Last year it took me 2 hours to get my license renewed, and that’s after I got super lucky when an officer ended up signing my papers for me without me having to wait in a line that was easily 100 people long.

I usually get all my car related paperwork done at the Jabriya Traffic Department. They’re really organized and every year when I go to renew my car registration, they would have changed something to make the experience smoother and faster. I was expecting the license renewal process to be easier this year because of that but boy was I wrong.

The line when I passed by yesterday to renew my license was crazy crazy long! The picture above was taken as I was walking to the back of the line, around half way to the back (check map above for exact location). The line stretched down a super long corridor and then turned around the corner because it was so long and it wasn’t even people standing in a single file, it looked like a complete mess.

Clearly the traffic department isn’t capable of handling this many renewals, so why don’t they just revert to the older system and have people do this once every 10 years? I ended up leaving but now I’m trying to figure out if I should get there early and line up or what exactly. The renewal for expats only starts at 4PM and they only take so many requests before telling everyone to come back the following day and line up again. So stressful!

Update: A reader just told me about a company that can handle your license renewal process as well as other things. They charge KD10 to renew your license which I think is so worth it. Here is a link to the [Flyer]


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