Welcome to wheels, Jonathan. We love your S2000 and Golf R; you clearly love mountain carvers!
Thanks for featuring me in the magazine! I love hot hatches and about two years ago I was looking for a replacement for my Clio RS 200.
I considered all options possible such as a Mini Cooper JCW, Ford Fiesta ST, Mercedes A-Class AMG and the Audi RS3 however the VW seemed to be the best compromise.
I didn’t specifically want the R but I was able to get a very good deal on a used one and so I took the chance. This is what I like about Dubai, if you look at the second-hand market and have the cash you can really make good deals if you know what you are doing.
These have such a good chassis and drivetrain — how much fun is it to drive?
The R’s grip is really excellent and more than enough for the road. Overall it is a really well balanced car and very fun to drive. Surprisingly it tends to oversteer when driven aggressively but the traction is very impressive.
It has a 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder that makes 290 horses which is a lot for a 1,400kg hatch. It has a lot of torque and sounds great — but has huge turbo lag which I kind of like as it feels like an old turbo car. I daily drive it but also use it for longer drive to go to Fujairah and Al Ain.
It is really a car you can travel with and have fun with anytime any day but you won’t see me showing off at JBR — I’ll be at Jebel Jais or Jebel Hafeet or a race track. I just care about the driving experience. It looks like a pit-bull with its proportions. When you park your car and don’t look back, you’ve bought the wrong car. Well I look back every single time.
It’s just a bit better than your first car then, a Fiat Panda 750 Fire!
Haha, yes, just! That has an amazing 0.75-litre engine boasting 34 horses! A real beast! What I remember the most about it is the absence of power and the absence of brakes! Still, it was practical, economical and fun to drive.
I like the overall usability of my Golf R. It is impressive the progress made in the car industry. 290 horses is as much as a Porsche 987 Boxster S from 10 years ago — except that I can put my friends and groceries inside! However, the turning radius is really limited, probably due to the 19in wheels. It can be challenging while parking. I am also jealous of the rear wing that the GTI Clubsport has and mine doesn’t. This MK7 is a tiny bit too discreet in my opinion. The MK7.5 addressed this issues with a subtle restyling.
Let’s move on to your awesome S2000, where did you find the Honda?
I bought mine in 2010 but my first experience with an S2000 was on the south coast of France in 2001. A woman was driving it like a total psycho and I fell in love with the car and had to have one!
I love the way it drives and how analog it is. You really drive the car and not the other way around, this is a feeling that is becoming rarer by the day. You feel the road, every bump, every curve and because of that you don’t need to drive fast to get a good sensation. I love the engine — it’s a 2.0-litre that has 240 horses at 9,000rpm. It’s a screamer!
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There’s so much to like about these cars — not least the manual gearbox! How much fun is it to drive?
It is a very driver focused car, not a lot of people know that it is a mid-engine car with a perfect 50/50 weight distribution. A pure blessing for any petrol head.
It is not fast by any modern standard but it is not the point, the point is to enjoy driving it and the car does give you amazing sensations, from a very reactive naturally aspirated engine to one of the best and shortest gearboxes in the world and I am not exaggerating; a Porsche 911 GT3 owner told me the gearbox was as good if not better than his. It is also a car you can easily tune and modify to your liking.
It would be great to drive along the mountain passes in France…
Oh yes, I miss that and the coast roads from the South of France as this is where you would enjoy this car the most but I drive it pretty much everywhere in the UAE from Jebel Jais, Jebel Hafeet, Dubai Autodrome and Yas Marina Circuit.
And being a Honda, it should be easy to service…
We are lucky enough to have some good Japanese car experts here in the UAE and I have been servicing my S2000 at Lap57 since 2010. Apart from a faulty brake master cylinder, it has never given me any issues. If you don’t supercharge or turbocharge it and do a regular maintenance, it just does not fail.
It must turn a few heads…
It all depends on the crowd! For non-petrol heads, they tend to ask “Is that a BWM?” From passionate people, they say “Ohhh, you got an S2000! Sweet, it is an awesome car don’t sell it!” I don’t think I will ever sell it. I love it too much and it will always have a special place in my heart and my garage.
You have a third car in your fleet that’s pretty special too…
Yes, I have a KTM X-Bow that I will be happy to show you.
We’d love to see that! What’s the best car you have ever driven or had a ride in?
As a ride, without a doubt it’s a Ferrari 458 Speciale; this was a fantastic experience for my ears! I really loved driving the Lamborghini Gallardo LP540 Spyder and I was lucky enough to drive a Jaguar F-Type Project 7 too. I fell in love with the V8 sound.
Finally, what are your dream cars?
Pagani Zonda Cinque Roadster, BAC Mono, 458 Aperta, F40, Lancia Stratos, SLR Sitrling Moss, Carrera GT, Diablo GT and a 1966 Corvette Stingray.
Got a hot ride? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org with a photo and description and you could be our next my wheels star!