Last month we were invited to Dubai by Audi Middle East for a weekend of racing, namely to experience the Dubai 24 hour race – a sports and touring car endurance competition held annually at the Dubai Autodrome, and that happens to be the world’s longest endurance racing series.
Unfortunately, though it rarely rains in Dubai, when it does rain it pours. Seven hours into the race the event had to be called off because the rains were just too heavy, making things dangerous for the race drivers. In fact it was some of the heaviest rain I’d ever seen in the region, which is such bad luck. After months of wonderful Dubai winter weather, the first day of the race we are hit with extreme heavy rain which eventually turned into flooding!
This was a pity, but it didn’t totally spoil the weekend. It may have been raining too much to race on the circuit, but it was still just about okay to drive on the roads. So, Audi had some of their very latest model range available for us motoring journos to drive and experience.
Therefore, we were all able to enjoy a fairly informal weekend, based from our hotel at Park Inn Motor City, being able to pick up the keys for one of Audi’s beautiful new cars, take it for as long a spin as we felt liked, and then return it and swap the keys for another vehicle.
Audi RS5 Sportback
I flew down to Dubai a few days prior to the event as I had some business and errands in town. This meant I got 2 full solid days blasting this rapid car around town. It never ceases to amaze me quite how much the RS/Dynamic driver mode of the RS cars transforms the car into such a sporty machine. Under the hood is a 2.9 litre V6 biturbo engine kicking out 450 horsepower.
I had the Q3 in turbo blue, a colour that gets good attention. It’s a compact SUV with superb everyday utility and plenty of comfort. It looks sporty and has a stylish modern interior. The entry-level comes with a 1.4 TFSI engine with 110 kW (150 hp) and 250 Nm(184.4 lb-ft) of torque.
It was great to get behind the wheel of the standard Q8 again after recently testing the RS Q8 in Tenerife. Whilst it doesn’t have the RS badge and performance, it still packs a 3.0 TFSI quattro engine. The Audi Q8 combines the best of two worlds – the elegance of a four-door luxury coupe and the convenient versatility of a large SUV.
The car I was the most impressed with over the weekend. I’d best describe the new S8 as a missile when it comes to performance combined with total and ultimate luxury and elegance inside the car. Under the bonnet is a monster 4.0 TFSI biturbo V8 high-performance engine that does 0-100kph in 3.8, with a top speed of 250km/h.