You are from quite a car-mad family, right?
Yes, a passion for cars runs in the family. My love for motors began early in my childhood as we had a huge garage in our house back home. It was loaded with all the mechanical and electrical equipment and tools available and my father and uncles would spend a lot of time in there fixing any problems that their cars had. This was way back in the late Eighties and I always used to hang around with them watching what they were doing. I would ask lots of questions and gained a lot of knowledge about how a car works and the function of each component.
What was the first car you bought and why?
It was a brand new Mitsubishi Pajero back in 2008. The reason I bought the car was I wanted to have a 4x4. However, I am not a big fan of dune bashing and desert driving and I felt that the car was absolutely worth the money for day-to-day driving.
You didn’t want something sportier?
I did and I even test-drove a lot of other cars during this time such as the Audi S8, Mercedes CL 65 AMG, Jaguar XKR, Lexus GS 350 and Porsche 911 Turbo. I borrowed some of these cars from my friends for a couple of weeks and rented some just to get a feel of their driving dynamics and performance. I decided the next car I would get would be something a little more grand.
What was that?
It was a brand new BMW 535i F10 which I snapped up in 2010. That is when I realised what BMW meant by that ‘Ultimate Driving Machine’ slogan. The stability and the driving pleasure of that car was just out of this world and the other cars I had driven didn’t come close to matching it even though most of them had a bigger engine than a 535i. I fell for the BMW the moment I took it around the first roundabout during the test-drive at a pretty high speed — it remained totally planted and stable. And the interior quality and comfort put it in a different league.
So the BMW bug had bitten hard by the time you decided to up the ante in terms of performance…
Yes, I decided last year that it was time to own a sportscar and at the back of my mind,
I kind of knew I wanted another BMW. Nevertheless, I started going for test drives again in lots of other cars, and the best thing was, I was no longer restricted by a small budget.
That would have opened so many doors for you…
It certainly did. It allowed me to consider a Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG saloon and coupé, Porsche Carrera, Audi RS5, Lexus IS-F, Chevrolet Camaro and Corvette Z06, Ford Shelby, Maserati Gran Turismo, Nissan GT-R (which was a lovely car but I decided against it because it wasn’t comfortable enough to be a daily driver) a Dodge Challenger and the Jaguar XKR again.
But the last test drive was reserved for the 2011 BMW M3 coupé. The moment I started it, I knew it was special. I took it for a drive and decided I had to buy it. Again, the driving dynamics were way better than any of the other cars’, the stability was out of this world and the high-revving engine gave me such an adrenalin rush.
Did you go home and think about whether to buy it or not?
Nope — I decided to buy the BMW M3 coupé the same day. I ordered one with the Competition Package and Carbon Racing Technology installed. This upped the power from the base model’s 420bhp to 444bhp. I also didn’t want a convertible as I knew this would add weight to the car and upset the chassis. Now I wake up every morning and just can’t wait to drive my car.
You have tweaked it a little since, right?
I have added an Akrapovic exhaust system with carbon-fibre tail pipes as it matches with the carbon-fibre side mirrors, roof, front bumper fangs and rear spoiler. Since this is white, the carbon-fibre trim helps give it an aggressive look. The ECU has been mapped thus taking the horsepower to 510. The only car (within the same budget) that comes close is the C63 AMG coupé.
It certainly has some guts. It must turn a few heads…
People appreciate it wherever I take it and sometimes they even take pictures of it, especially around JBR and Dubai Marina.
Where do you like driving it the most?
I love the road that heads to Fujairah as it has lots of twists and turns and you can really feel what the M3 is all about. I will not be selling this as it’s the last naturally aspirated M3 and I love the high-revving nature of the engine.
Do you venture out on to the track at all with it?
I have taken it, a couple of times, to Yas Marina, where I had the freedom to see
its full potential. I realised that it is a really sober car on the road but it can be a complete lunatic on the track. Once I push the M button on the steering, the car totally transforms. But it really is a great car to drive daily, suitable for any occasion and it has the ability to instantly change personality when you want it to.
What is next on the want list?
Well my next car is most probably going to be the new M5 as I can say that BMW has become my love and passion now. I just love the way the company designs its cars and the way they perform. However, if I hit the big time, I will most probably be looking to buy a Ferrari 458 Italia or a Lamborghini Aventador.
Name: Zeeshan Khalid
Job: IT security manager
Wheels: 2011 BMW M3
In the: UAE 22 Years