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The Hidden Dangers of Driving in Dust Storms

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With increased concentrations of quartz, soot and germs within cars, commuters should be aware of the dangers of unclean air within their cars explains TR Ganesh, General Manager, Blueair Middle East.

Whether it’s commuting to work and back, dropping kids off on the school run, or simply doing the grocery chores, people in the UAE are spending more time on the road than ever before. Globally, we spend 10 hours a week travelling inside vehicles, and in Dubai, nearly two of those hours is spent in traffic jams each week.

Beyond the frustrations of tailgaters, lane breakers and badly-behaved drivers, however, is a hidden but more dangerous problem: air pollution. Not only does vehicular air affect commuters’ health, but the dust storms blowing in from the UAE’s deserts bring an additional host of particulate impurities.

TR Ganesh, General Manager, Blueair Middle East.

While the largest particles are filtered out, those under 10 microns in width easily get lodged in the lungs, from where they can enter the bloodstream and reach the heart. The WHO describes air pollution as the most dangerous health threat, estimating that it caused nearly 4.2 million premature deaths in 2016, from stroke, ischemic heart disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, lung cancer, lower respiratory infections, and diabetes. The transport sector is a major source of this health burden through its contribution to elevated fine particulate matter (PM2.5), ozone, and nitrogen dioxide concentrations.

Compounding the dangers are the fact that the air inside your car may be up to 15 times more polluted than the atmosphere outside, according to researchers from King’s College London – contrary to common belief that the air within their cars is safer than that on the street. Meanwhile, scientists at the University of Surrey have found that vehicles stuck in traffic jams contain airborne impurities up to 40 times higher than moving cars. Taken together, that’s a potent health risk for anyone – adult or child – spending hours on the road.

Commuters would do well to consider the breadth and impact of these aerial dangers – and how their risk might be mitigated. What exactly are these invisible particles? Typically, air within a vehicle is composed of a variety of pollutants. Particulate matter in cars here in the UAE could take the form of ultrafine aromatic hydrocarbons, carbonyls, semi-volatile organic compounds, microplastics and microbes, in other words, soot and germs, according to research from the American University of Sharjah.

On dusty days, meanwhile, primary pollutants in the air include quartz and other silica compounds, calcite and gypsum and sea salts. In new cars in particular, there is also the risk of volatile organic compounds such as benzene, toluene and formaldehyde, which come from off-gassing of the materials and finishes of the vehicle interior, including plastic, polyester and leather.

Inhaling these impurities unleashes them onto our respiratory system, where they can cause havoc in different ways. Coarse particulate matter – with specks of over 10 microns in diameter are associated with nasal and upper respiratory tract issues, while finer flecks reach deep within our bodies to trigger longer-term ailments including cancer, and alarmingly, impaired brain development in children.

Before you shrug away those threats, consider this research from Emission Analytics. As the leading global testing and data specialist for the scientific measurement of real-world emissions, the organisation examined 11 different car models currently being drive on UK roads – with many of the models being sold in the UAE – and found that air-conditioning system in most cars are unable to filter out particulate matter and other impurities.

Some makes block out just 1 per cent of all pollutants, while others manage between 35 and 40 per cent. People inside such cars are likely to inhale as many as 13 million particles with each breath. The risks only multiply in a sandstorm-induced traffic jam. WHO data shows that the air in Abu Dhabi has nearly treble the number of ultra-fine particles of less than 2.5 microns than London’s atmosphere. In London, or biking to work could help, in Abu Dhabi that’s not as easily done.

An easy solution would be to supplement your vehicle’s cabin air filtration system with a cabin air purifier. The best products offer high-efficiency cabin air (HECA) – preferably with activated charcoal to filter odours and gaseous pollutants ­– and offer 95 per cent filtration of particle pollutants down to 0.1 micron in size. Supplementing your vehicle’s cabin air filtration system with a cabin air purifier may help reduce your exposure to harmful air pollutants.

Civic-minded citizens could go one step further and press the need for regulation of in-vehicle air filtration and global enforcement to improve their own lives and those of their children. Our health is too important to be taken lightly.

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Al Majid Motors Launches the 2022 Kia Cerato

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Bringing the latest innovations in a compact car to life, the 2022 Kia Cerato is now available at Al Majid Motors, the exclusive distributor of the KIA range of vehicles in the UAE. The latest edition of one of the world’s best-selling compact cars, the Kia Cerato blends together a sporty character with a firm foundation of powerful performance.

Swift suspension and responsive drivetrain, along with spacious interiors that set the car apart by an enriched dashboard, metallic trim, and sleek design, and aerodynamic contours, make the 2022 Cerato a head-turning vehicle. Available in 1.6-liter gasoline engine and available in four-door sedan or five-door hatch-back variants, the new Cerato is capable of doing much more than just deliver an exceptional driving experience for you — it is designed to bring the best out of a driver.

The 2022 Cerato also comes equipped with higher trim levels, the extensive smart audio system features with Android Auto and Apple Car Play, and wireless charging options, giving you the power to stay connected to all that matters. Additionally, a vivid 8-inches color LCD touchscreen ensures smooth navigation and the rearview camera features dynamic guidelines for easier parking.

Other features include a wireless charging tray, smart trunk, remote engine starting, and Power Driver Seat. Safety-wise, Kia Cerato is loaded with Kia’s safety features viz all-four disc brakes, Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS), six airbags, ESC, and Front and Rear warning system. A smart and ideal option for those searching for a compact car, the 2022 Kia Cerato is an ideal choice. Price starting from AED 67,000 till AED 82,000, it is now available across the UAE at all Al Majid Motors showrooms.

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MG Motor Launches MG RX8 Black Edition in the Middle East

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MG Motor has revealed a new special edition of its popular seven-seater SUV the MG RX8 in the Middle East this September. The MG RX8 Black Edition introduces a bolder, more assertive look to the range, with a raft of all-black interior and exterior style changes in comparison to other RX8 models. Customers can now purchase the car from the MG distributor in their area. The Black Edition model confidently displays a sleek, stylish black exterior look, that evidently makes it stand apart from other models in the range.

The bold new look is supplemented by black side mirror covers, side mouldings, door handles and roof rails, and rounded off by the Black Edition badge and black chrome finish exhaust and bumper at the rear. The MG RX8 is also powered by an electric side-step that is triggered when you open the door to ensure stepping in and out of your car is convenient. Stunning midnight black 20” alloy wheels further elevate the limited edition RX8’s style.

Naturally, the black theme extends to the cabin. The interior of the spacious seven-seater MG RX8 Black Edition is clad in high-quality all-black leather, provided by German company ‘Bader’, one of the leading premium leather suppliers in the motoring industry. The highest trim (LUX) comes with ventilated seats to ensure passengers experience nothing but the best comfort. The MG RX8 is robust and spacious, its ample wheelbase and large third-row space clearly set it apart from the competition in its segment.

With MG’s newest model, customers can embody who they are by doing what they love without any compromise. Tom Lee, Managing Director of MG Motor’s Middle East operations, commented: “The MG RX8 is a 7-seater flagship that continues to play a leading role as customer’s favourite MG model ever since its introduction to the region. We continue to work very hard with our partners to deliver the best and most exceptional MG products our customers deserve, and that caters to their needs here in the region. We are confident that with an exclusive special edition from the MG RX8 – in an all-black trim with 13 unique upgrades – customers will experience individuality, exclusivity as well as uniqueness in this special edition.”

MG’s seven-seater SUV, the RX8 is a flagship model that is extremely well equipped and spacious. A truly capable 4×4, the RX8 offers a real-time 4×4 Torque on Demand (TOD) System, as well as an advanced 4WD system with six different driving modes. The RX8 is powered by an efficient 220HP 2.0-litre turbo petrol engine that features Net Blue Technology and develops a maximum torque of 360Nm. It is mated to a six-speed automatic gearbox with paddle-shift gear change.

The car also offers wireless phone charging and smartphone connectivity with Apple Carplay and Android Auto enable to a 10-inch colour touch-screen. The car offers a ‘theatre-style’ seating design that incorporates a shallow front-to-rear gradient that means passengers in the third-row benefit from an exceptional view with unrivalled 884mm of legroom (the largest third-row space in its class).

The MG RX8 Black Edition is now available for sale across the Middle East. This comes at an extremely exciting time for the brand in the region, where it has seen sales rocket over the past couple of years. The car will be available in one trim at $28,900.

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Mercedes-Maybach Shows Off Concept EQS

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With the Concept EQS, Mercedes-Maybach is providing a clear preview of the first fully electric series-production model for the tradition-steeped luxury brand. The SUV concept vehicle is based on the modular architecture for luxury- and executive-class electric vehicles from Mercedes-Benz and takes the exclusivity of Maybach into a locally emission-free future. The near-production one-off shows identifying features that are characteristic of Maybach – such as the elaborate two-tone paint finish – but with its innovative drive technology, also takes a step towards a significantly more progressive way of presenting the brand.

In the interior, the rear becomes a comfortable place to work or rest thanks to Executive seats and the Chauffeur Package. Added to this are exclusive details such as the new door panels, the armrests of which are designed like high-quality sideboards. There are also trim elements in white piano lacquer and materials in deep-sea blue, which create a feel-good atmosphere on board as if on an elegant yacht. The Mercedes-Maybach brand has always stood for state-of-the-art technology, handcrafted precision and exclusivity.

It is considered a pioneer in defining luxury, style and status. Mercedes-Maybach is a legend that is constantly reinventing itself. In 1921, Wilhelm and Karl Maybach began building cars with the goal of creating “the very best of the very best”. It is this claim that has been defining the unique aura of Mercedes‑Maybach for 100 years now. Maybach customers are looking for something special, and the aim here is to exceed their expectations with the highest standards of exclusivity and individuality, elegant design and consummate craftsmanship as well as state-of-the-art technology.

Because customers in the core markets of China, Russia, South Korea, the U.S. and Germany are becoming younger on average, the definition of luxury is also changing. “Many of our Mercedes-Maybach customers are digitally connected to a high degree and place the highest demands on our digital solutions. They also expect the brand of their choice to stand up for sustainable values and take responsibility for the environment. The Concept Mercedes-Maybach EQS fulfils all these points and embodies sophisticated luxury in a more progressive way: the all-electric powertrain not only makes consistently sustainable mobility possible, but also enables a new level of calm and relaxation for passengers,” said Britta Seeger, Member of the Board of Management of Daimler AG and Mercedes-Benz AG, responsible for Marketing & Sales.

“The Concept Mercedes-Maybach EQS represents the transformation of the tradition-rich luxury brand into a more progressive, all-electric future. Like every Maybach, it stands for Sophisticated Luxury in all its facets. The near-production concept car represents proof that state-of-the-art electric drive technology and pioneering infotainment with MBUX Hyperscreen combine perfectly with hallmark Maybach craftsmanship and an exquisite interior. This passionate combination of meticulously perfected details creates a unique automotive luxury experience. With the future all-electric SUV series model, we’re extending our leadership aspirations in the high-end segment to the area of electric mobility, too,” says Philipp Schiemer, Head of Top End Vehicle Group at Mercedes-Benz AG and Chairman of the Board of Management of Mercedes-AMG GmbH.

The concept car is instantly recognisable as a member of the Mercedes-Maybach and Mercedes-EQ families and provides a preview of the first all-electric SUV in the luxury segment. Based on purely electric vehicle architecture, the design consistently follows the concept of “purpose design”. A dynamic silhouette extends the entire length of the vehicle, starting with a low front end, flowing tautly over the sloping A-pillar and roof contour and incorporating the airflow break-away edge of the rear spoiler. The transition to a new technological era is recognisable at first glance.

Continuous transitions, without breaks and edges, characterise the seamless design. The expressive surface modelling and muscular shoulders are further characteristic features. And numerous chrome applications set brand-characteristic accents. The pronounced wheel wells with cladding in high-gloss black emphasise power and emotionality.

Gorden Wagener, Chief Design Officer Daimler Group: “With the Concept Mercedes-Maybach EQS, we’re transforming the brand into an electric future after 100 years. The futuristic design consists of an emotional integration of surfaces and shapes. The front, with its progressive Maybach grille, follows the principle of integration and gives the brand a completely new appearance. In conjunction with the new-style aerodynamic SUV proportions, we’re completely redefining the luxury SUV of the future.”

The upright black panel front also flows seamlessly into the wraparound bonnet and headlights. The LED light units showcase the lighting with individual diamond blocks framed with a fine-knit mesh of the Maybach emblem. The filigree, vertical Maybach pinstripes in an elegant, three-dimensional effect are chrome-plated and characterise the cooler with its new, innovative Black Panel technology. Elegantly chrome-plated, filigree louvres are also found on the air intake in the bumper. This eye-catching design element is taken up again below the licence plate holder in the bumper at the rear. The classic Maybach lettering on the front bonnet, the upright Mercedes star and the longitudinal chrome-plated trim strip in the centre of the bonnet are a tribute to tradition.

Another key distinguishing feature is the brand’s signature two-tone paint finish in obsidian black metallic and zircon red metallic with a fine pinstripe in chrome as a visual dividing line. Generous chrome surfaces not only extend over the air intakes and diffuser at the front and rear, but also frame the side windows with a dynamically flowing chrome surround in a 3D design. The B-pillars are also chrome plated and have been exclusively finished with a subtle brand emblem pattern. The Maybach “M” can also be found on the D-pillar.

The aerodynamically optimised side running boards bear a customised inlay with the Maybach emblem. Generously dimensioned 24-inch light-alloy wheels in the Maybach “bowl” design – with five short spokes and a flat centre section – as well as Maybach lettering, emphasise the exclusive appearance of the all-electric SUV.

At the rear, the sparkling highlight is provided by the rear lights with their continuous helix light strip. The animation here runs from the outside in. The chrome roof spoiler acts as a sporty, aerodynamic trim element. Another exclusive equipment option is provided by the automatic comfort doors front and rear. When the user approaches the vehicle, the door handles first extend. As the driver approaches further, the driver’s door opens automatically. Via MBUX, the driver also has the option of opening the rear doors remotely.

The interior of the Concept Mercedes-Maybach EQS is just as emotional and stylish a statement as the exterior – realised completely virtually. The lounge character promises luxurious travel at the highest level. The front seats show parallels to the Mercedes-Maybach S-Class. The First-Class rear suite with two generous individual seats – also inspired by the S-Class – as well as the High-End Rear Seat Entertainment System guarantee the highest level of comfort on board. And because the SUV concept allows for more seat height, the calf rest could be made even larger. It lets the passenger’s feet float above the “faux fur” floor covering.

The centre console appears to float like a continuous ribbon from the cockpit to the rear seats, creating a particularly light and elegant impression of space with plenty of freedom of movement. In combination with many indirect and direct ambient lighting features, the impression of space and interior components appear visually lighter and also seem to float. The standard vase insert invites you to bring seasonally appropriate floral decorations and thus nature into the interior of the Maybach. Underneath, a large storage area offers plenty of space for utensils or for individual equipment options such as folding tables, a box of champagne goblets or a refrigerated compartment.

Newly designed door panels with floating armrests and controls with the appearance of elegant sideboards emphasise the simultaneously luxurious and modern character of the interior. The concept for colours and materials has been inspired by the world of fashion. Perfect craftsmanship, high-quality materials and extraordinary details show a new level of exclusivity. The colour combination of white and a deep, dark blue creates a spacious and technically sophisticated environment. A special highlight is the trim element in a white chrome look. Its rosé gold-coloured pilaster strips follow the shape perfectly. Additional rosé gold-coloured accents create an ideal contrast and contribute significantly to the luxurious feel of the interior.

Another unexpected contrast is brought to the interior by a fashion-inspired, progressive textile of the highest quality. It is used generously around the rear-seat area, while flashes of it also appear in further details in the interior. A progressive graphic printed on leather in the roof liner area demonstrates the perfect fusion of a traditional luxury material with modern technology.

MBUX Hyperscreen with Maybach-specific display styles

Another special eye-catcher in the interior is the MBUX Hyperscreen with Maybach-specific display styles and content. This large, curved screen unit extends almost from A-pillar to A-pillar. Three screens sit under a glass cover and appear to merge into one. The 12.3-inch OLED display for the front passenger gives them their own display and control area. There, the entertainment functions are only available while the car is being driven in accordance with the country-specific legal regulations. If the interior camera detects that the driver is looking at the passenger display, this is automatically dimmed when certain content is showing.

With adaptive software thanks to artificial intelligence, MBUX adapts completely to its user. It makes personalised suggestions for numerous infotainment, comfort and vehicle functions. With the zero layer, the most important applications are always offered on the top level within the field of vision, according to situation and context. Searching through submenus is no longer necessary.

In the high-resolution display of the infotainment system, there is an EQ tile in the main menu that serves as a central access point to the specific displays and settings. These include the charging current, departure time, energy flow and consumption histogram. In addition, the navigation and driving programs can also be operated via the media display. EV-specific navigation services and functions are also offered in conjunction with Mercedes me connect. These include, for example, the display of charging stations, the electric range and optimised route planning, taking into account the charging status, the weather and the traffic situation.

In addition, round air vents in high-gloss chrome, galvanised trim elements and the multifunction steering wheel from the VISION EQS with flattened top and bottom sections emphasise the high-quality and sophisticated look. The ambient lighting system, which can be adjusted in many ways, also creates a stylish atmosphere. The Concept Mercedes-Maybach EQS is based on the modular architecture for luxury- and executive-class electric vehicles from Mercedes-Benz. A further all-electric model is also set to appear on this basis, the EQS SUV, which will go into series production in 2022, even before the Maybach. Here, too, the electric powertrain ensures exceptionally smooth and quiet running and provides for a new level of calm and relaxation in the interior. According to WLTP, ranges of around 600 kilometres are planned for the Mercedes EQS SUV architecture.

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