I am back again with another ownership thread. As mentioned earlier, I have now changed my work base to UAE and used to shuttle between Dubai, Seoul and Mumbai the whole of 2014. I have taken almost 45 flights in the past one year so had practically no time to read any posts or add my own posts. Sorry folks for that.
In 1998, I had obtained a license in UAE. Unfortunately
I misplaced this license. Moreover, it expired in 2008 and I was trying to find out how to obtain a new one without going through the travails. Those of you who are familiar with license obtaining in Sharjah will definitely understand this. One fine morning in November, I went to the traffic department to find out how to get a new one. It was a very simple process and in less than 50 minutes my expired license was renewed and now I have a license valid up to 2024! The best part is one does not need any "agents" to get this and "no-extras" are required
Armed with my license the next stop was various showrooms. The experience is entirely different. In India buying a car is still considered a special occasion which is not so in UAE. One does get test drives, however, you have to visit the showroom and not the way in Mumbai / India where the guys get the car to your doorstep for a test drive.
The first obvious halt for me was the Beemer showroom and I was almost ready to book a 328i. My family, however, persuaded me to look for other options as I already have a Beemer. Since I was travelling again, I decided to wait for a few days. After my trip I once again went hunting and tested the following cars
1. Audi A3
2. Audi A4
3. VW Golf GTi
4. VW Tiguan
5. Lincoln MKC
6. Lincoln MKZ.
The first 3 cars were amazing, however, I was put-off by the fact that they do not offer Navigation even as an option. With some many new roads in Dubai, I knew it would be difficult to drive without navigation. The Tiguan and the Lincolns did have Navigation. I was bowled over by the Lincoln MKZ and it had every feature which one can think off. The gears are buttons like what one sees in a sci-fi movie. Car loan in UAE is fairly easy and I was ready to go for the Lincoln.
During the next few days one of my close friends suggested that I take a look at the MB C class. He advised that the Lincoln will have a much lower resale value. He himself drives an S350 and was a very happy MB customer. Taking his advice I visited the MB showroom to test the new C200. One look at the car and I was sold. It was much higher priced than all the above cars. I opted for the new 2015 model with the "works". The choice of color for the Merc was obvious as white provides the perfect contrast to the black panaromic glass roof. I was given a 800 Dhs voucher to buy MB merchandise and I opted to buy two bags for my children. The only other free-bee was 3 year service pack (3 years / 45000 kms). A huge box of Patchi chocolates was also given during delivery.
After taking delivery I went to the V-Kool showroom to get the vkool film for the glasses, paint protection, seat protection and engine bay coating. Yes, in UAE you can install film (30% opaqueness) for expat owned cars. I have posted some pictures and invite comments from fellow TIANs. Currently the car is in the parking lot as I am travelling. I have done about 550 kms and still to learn few things.
A quick comparison with Beemer
1. Pickup and driving excitement - Beemer (the diesel 320d with 185 horses has much better pickup than the petrol C200 with 185 horses!)
2. Suspension and ride comfort - MB
3. Ease of use of ICE -Beemer
4. Connectivity options - MB (2 USBs + 1 SD + 1 DVD)
5. Navigation ease of use - Beemer
6. Not yet tried the cruise control on MB so I will not compare now.
The MB does have a aura even in the Gulf and hotel valets generally treat the car as well as you with more reverence.
Enough of words, let the pictures talk.