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Links Group: post-Brexit UK-GCC free trade agreement set to enhance UAE’s economy

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Britain’s decision to establish a post-Brexit free trade agreement with the GCC has the potential to fast track the diversification of the UAE economy, according to Links Group, the region’s leading provider of commercial facilitation and advisory services.

Led by British Prime Minister Theresa May, Britain is paving the way for a post-Brexit deal for the whole of the Gulf. It will be only the second GCC-wide Free Trade Agreement to be signed with a non-Middle East country; the first was signed with Singapore in 2013. As a member of the European Union, Britain cannot currently sign the agreement, but according to Gulf officials a draft could be ready within months.

The GCC states are currently undertaking the most drastic reforms in their histories to prepare for a post-oil era. Boosting their non-oil trade will require the building of new sectors and introduction of greater enterprise. Britain stands to benefit significantly from its deep expertise in the sectors being prioritised for growth by the Gulf countries – particularly in technology, education, healthcare, infrastructure and retail.

“A free trade agreement with the six Gulf states, coupled by a more open approach to international trade, would see UK exports to the region increase significantly. However, we expect some of the earlier gains to happen in the UAE where the business environement and state of economic diversification are more developed than in other GCC countries,” said John Martin St.Valery, Founder and CEO, Links Group.

“The UAE is already one of the most important trade partners of the UK with the two nations aiming to double their reciprocal trade to GBP 25 billion by 2020. Confidence in the UAE’s post-oil diversification strategy also continues to strengthen – the country’s high level of foreign investment is reflective of the stability within the business environment, despite an unpredictable global economy,” he said.

Recently, the Dubai FDI Monitor revealed that Dubai is among the top 10 global cities for attracting investors, ranking in seventh pace. The UAE was also listed as one of the world’s most improved economies for doing business in the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business rankings for 2017, placing it first in the Middle East.

“In our view a UK-GCC free trade agreement will reinforce the UAE’s credentials as a leading business hub. Its historical trade ties with the UK, coupled by its existing business  infrastructure and the government’s willingness to work alongside foreign investors, will likely see the UAE edge ahead as a preferred trade partner. Continuing to ensure the highest level of corporate governance and overall market transparency, will prove key to the UAE’s ongoing growth and recognition as a leading economic power,” added Martin St.Valery.

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HP Inc.the global leader in printing, today announced its new A3 multifunction printers (MFPs) in the UAE

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HP Inc. launches World’s Most Advanced and Secure A3 Printers in the UAE

HP Inc. , the global leader in printing, today announced its new A3 multifunction printers (MFPs) in the UAE. This next generation portfolio is designed to provide qualified channel partners the ability to offer higher levels of customization that meet a wider range of customers’ printing needs.

The new A3 portfolio transforms today’s copier experience for customers and service professionals by offering advanced security features unmatched in the marketplace, affordable color via HP’s PageWide printing technology, and longer device uptime via HP’s Smart Device Services technology.

“We set out to offer our partners a robust portfolio of A3 MFPs with disruptive technologies and a range of finishing options to meet current and future printing needs,” said Stephane Rogier, Head of Print Business unit, HP Inc. “Today, we’re delivering on that promise, along with our mission to continue reinventing the market. Using the vast knowledge we’ve gained through our large-scale commercial printers, we streamlined our designs, improved print speeds and enabled higher-quality printing for a lower cost.”

HP has signed and on-boarded more than 500 resellers worldwide, representing many of the largest and fastest growing partners in their respective geographies. With the arrival of the A3 portfolio, partners now have new ways to grow revenue and margins in this $55 billion channel-led opportunity.


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Huawei, a leading global ICT provider, is set to host the annual Telecom Leaders’ Summit being held in Dubai on 30 April, 2017. 

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Huawei hosts SAMENA Telecom Leaders’ Summit in Dubai,   aligning visions to meet the digital world demands

  • Huawei to release its annual Global Connectivity Index (GCI) and organize Cloud and UBB forums under the theme ‘Shape the Cloud-Win the Future’

Huawei, a leading global ICT provider, is set to host the annual Telecom Leaders’ Summit being held in Dubai on 30 April, 2017.  Organized by the SAMENA Telecommunications Council, the one-day event is a platform for private and government sector leaders and influencers in the telecommunications sector to discuss opportunities and challenges the industry faces.

Held under the theme “Aligning Visions to Meet the Demands of the Digital World”, the summit will discuss two key topics; how to effectively implement digital enablement for businesses and to create an ecosystem that delivers digital-services and is supported by an open, collaborative industry.

“Today’s industry leaders are looking for a clear roadmap on how to best accelerate digital adoption to drive growth across the region,” said Bocar BA, CEO of SAMENA Council.  “This can be done more efficiently when we, as an industry, align our visions and take a collaborative focus on the development of the digital technologies and work together to enable the whole region to participate in the digital transformation. We are excited that Huawei is hosting the Leaders’ Summit once again, as we work together to identify a common roadmap for all stakeholders to share and contribute to.”

Hosting the Summit for the 4th consecutive year, Huawei will share the latest edition of its annual Global Connectivity Index (GCI) Report, a global study that assesses the connectivity capabilities of key countries across the globe – including ME Region – and highlights the link between ICT investment and indicators such as GDP growth, e-commerce and e-governance. The report serves as an indicator of which countries are best poised for development and growth, and an ICT planning reference for policymakers looking to embrace the digital economy.

“As we enter a fully connected era, digital infrastructure continues to facilitate economic growth,” said Charles Yang, President of Huawei Middle East. “The telecoms industry is in a crucial stage of digital transformation as new technologies emerge to drive a high quality user experience. The digital age is dawning and the potential opportunities for the telecoms industry, which is the primary enabler of industry digitization, are beyond our imagination. Our participation at this Summit is a reflection of Huawei’s keenness to listen, share and contribute to the telecom industry by sharing its Open ROADS strategy for a Better Connected World, in addition to cloudification as the key driver and future success trend of digital transformation, thus we have introduced the “All Cloud” strategy, which focuses on delivering a ROADS experience, to shape the cloud, and win the future.”

On the sidelines of the SAMENA Telecom Leader’s Summit, Huawei is also set to organize two sub-forums to be held under the theme “Shape the Cloud – Win the Future”. Company Analysts and experts will discuss the impact of cloud computing on digital transformation in the Cloud Business Forum, while the second sub-forum, Ultra-Broadband Summit, will highlight growth opportunities for telcos in the video sphere that are brought on by the implementation of ultra-broadband networks.

Huawei continues to invest heavily in research and development (R&D) as part of its vision of building a better connected the world. Earlier this month, Huawei reported an investment of USD 11 billion in R&D in 2016, representing over 8 percent of its annual revenues for the year, which reached USD 75.1 billion. It is worth noting that the company’s net profits for 2016 were USD 5.3 billion, representing an increase of 0.4 percent over previous year.

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Nissan Altima Scoops ‘Best Mid-Size Sedan’ at MECOTY Awards

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The 2017 Nissan Altima has been crowned “Best Mid-Size Sedan” at this year’s Middle East Car of the Year Awards (MECOTY). The Altima faced stiff competition but a jury of senior automotive editors from across the region decided that it was the outstanding choice for the award.

“The 2017 Nissan Altima embodies what a modern, practical and reliable car should be while also being comfortable, well designed and have the right balance of power and control to truly deliver innovation that excites,” said Fadi Ghosn, Chief Marketing Officer at Nissan Middle East.  “This year’s ‘Best Mid-Size Sedan’ winner offers a fantastic blend of styling comfort and performance which regional customers can experience for themselves at Nissan showrooms across the region.”

The 2017 Altima impressed the judges on a number of fronts, including styling which sees the car adopting Nissan’s latest design language. The ‘Energetic Flow’ exterior includes the V-Motion grille and boomerang lamp signatures while the ‘Gliding Wing’ interior displays a level of opulence that’s reminiscent of the premium segment. An unabashed driver’s car, the driver-centric cockpit is as ergonomic as it is intuitive.

Altima is living proof that a sedan can be engaging and inspiring to drive. Whether it’s the 182 hp 2.5-litre 4-cylinder engine, or its 3.5-litre, 270 hp V6 sibling, there’s plenty of performance on tap and with Active Understeer Control and a rear multi-link suspension, cornering with confidence comes as standard.

The MECOTY awards are unique in the region in that they bring together 15 motoring writers from 10 different countries who combine their knowledge and experience to make informed decisions designed to assist the car-buying public in their choices. The addition of public voting means these awards – now in their fourth year – have unrivalled credibility in the eyes of the region’s automotive industry.


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Damas Celebrates Askhaya Tritiya with 77 New Designs and Fantastic Offers This Year

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Damas, the leading jewellery retailer in the Middle East, has once again launched an outstanding promotion and collection in commemoration of Akshaya Tritiya. This year’s promotional offer is the most exciting that has ever been launched in jewellery retail! This ‘first of its kind’ promotion, which starts today, will run until April 29th at ALL Damas stores across the GCC.

Akshaya’ translates as ‘the never diminishing’ in Sanskrit, and this auspicious day is believed to bring good luck and success to all who celebrate. Drawing inspiration from the festival, Damas is launching 74 new designs from their most popular in-house brands including 51 new Diamond Products from Legacy, Rangoli, Ananya, Navaratna and Mangal Sutram; 1 new Pearl Product from Kiku Pearls; as well as 25 new Gold Products from Sampatti, Al Manthourah, Anmol, Harmony, Avani and Maharani.

At all Damas stores across the region with the exclusion of KSA, customers who purchase an item from any category of diamond jewellery, pearl jewellery or watches, will receive a second one free! For those looking to buy gold worth AED4,000 and above, they will be gifted a voucher worth 10% of the total purchase. All offers are subject to specific terms and conditions.

During this period, customers can also benefit from zero to AED10 Making Charges on select gold jewellery, zero making charges on 22k gold coins and zero deduction on gold exchange. To make things even better, there is a 0% easy payment plan in place with all Damas’ partner banks. Other rewards include bonus touchpoints rewards on ADCB cards, bonus Air Miles on purchases and raffle draws. With everything that Damas is offering, this is one promotion you do not want to miss!

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The All-New Kia Cadenza Named ‘Best Family Saloon’ and ‘Best Large Sedan Car of the Year’

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KIA Motors Corp.  – through its sole distributor in the UAE, Al Majid Motors Co., has announced that its all-new Cadenza has won ‘Best Large Sedan Car of the Year’ at the Middle East Car of the Year Awards 2017 (MECOTY) and ‘Best Family Saloon’ at the Wheels Car of the Year 2017.

Mohammed Khader, President of Al Majid Motors Co. – KIA, commented: “We are honoured to be part of MECOTY and Wheels Car of the Year 2017, and given the high level of competition this year we are especially delighted to have received two such prestigious awards for our all-new Cadenza 2017. The awards are a testament to the Cadenza’s unrivalled style, exceptional comfort, intuitive technology and advanced safety features, which make it a favourite for the whole family.”

The Wheels award was announced on 1 March during a glittering event hosted at The Waldorf Astoria Hotel on The Palm Jumeirah, and the MECOTY gala ceremony followed on 31 March at ADNEC, Abu Dhabi. The events are the region’s foremost automotive awards programmes, bringing together leading car brands to celebrate outstanding vehicles in the sector.

The all-new KIA Cadenza has been completely redesigned to offer customers the ultimate in the luxury sedan category, from its bold design to its ground breaking performance and intelligent technologies. The 2017 Cadenza commands attention, featuring bold touches like a freshly-sculpted grille, a sleek, aerodynamic shape, and a refined interior that is meticulous in every detail – from the stitching and surface finish to the panoramic sun roof and strikingly spacious cabin.

Reflecting the Cadenza’s confident, charismatic look, the 2017 model debuts KIA’s all-new 8-speed Sportmatic® transmission, delivering outstanding fuel economy, responsive power, and seamless shifting. Combined with the newly refined four-wheel independent suspension and upgraded body design, this provides improved driving dynamics for an athletic, smooth and quiet ride. While offering the height of comfort, the Cadenza also provides drivers with total peace of mind when travelling with children, family and loved ones, featuring intelligent technologies that maximise vehicle safety including Smart Blind-Spot Detection (SBSD), Advanced Smart Cruise Control (ASCC), Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB), Forward Collision Warning System (FCWS), and a Lane Departure Warning System (LDWS).

The Cadenza puts the driver at one with the road, whatever the conditions, with itsTraction Control System (TCS), Electronic Stability Control (ESC), Vehicle Stability Management (VSM) and Hill-Start Assist Control (HAC) all serving to keep drivers on track and in control.The KIACadenza plays an important role in the KIA Motors line-up, redefining the sedan category and making the driver the master of their journey.

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UAE-Azerbaijan Joint Economic Committee

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  • UAE-Azerbaijan Joint Economic Committee to hold sixth session in Abu Dhabi next week

The sixth session of the Joint Governmental Committee for Economic, Commercial and Technical Cooperation will be held on April 20, 2017 in Abu Dhabi under the chairmanship of H.E. Sultan bin Saeed Al Mansoori, Minister of Economy, and H.E. Shaheen Mustafa Ayev, Minister of Economic Development of Azerbaijan.

A number of senior government officials, representatives of the business community and the private sector of the two countries will participate in the committee’s work.

The Joint Economic Committee will be looking at ways of strengthening the economic cooperation between the two countries, stimulating bilateral trade and investment developments, and strengthening bilateral relations, especially in the areas of industry, culture and tourism, agriculture, energy, renewable energy, environment, natural resources, water management, and modern communications technology. It will also explore opportunities for joint investments and reinforce the two countries’ business ties and cooperation.

H.E. Al Mansoori said that the committee’s series of meetings are an opportunity to strengthen the economic cooperation and increase trade and investment volume between the two countries according to the vision of their respective leaders.

He pointed out that the volume of non-oil trade between the two countries reached USD 605 million by the end of 2015, including trade through free zones. “Despite its importance, it still does not reflect the opportunities and possibilities available in both countries. Therefore, we must work together to explore new opportunities and promising sectors to increase this figure.”

The Minister added: “Despite the remarkable progress in our bilateral relations, we are convinced that our trade exchange and joint investment can still be improved further according to the respective aspirations of our countries.”

H.E. also highlighted the important role played by the private sector and the business community in enhancing bilateral trade and investment cooperation. Numerous investment opportunities and profitable partnerships across different sectors are available in both countries, which, if fully tapped, can boost permanent economic development and sustainability.

The Minister noted that both sides’ eagerness to participate in the meetings of the Joint Economic Committee reflects the common will to push forward their bilateral relations and lay the foundation for stronger economic, trade and technical cooperation. It also illustrates their willingness to develop appropriate frameworks and follow-up mechanisms.

The Minister emphasized that the committee’s tasks cover many important themes, including increased trade volume and stronger private investment cooperation that will ensure the development process of the two countries.

The bilateral economic relations between the UAE and Azerbaijan have seen a significant development over recent years in light of their respective economic growth and common desire to strengthen their relations across various fields. The most important commodities exported by the UAE to Azerbaijan are polyethylene polymers, furniture, and its parts, among others. The re-exported goods to Azerbaijan include car parts and accessories, electrical appliances, telephones, and wireless devices. The UAE imports leathers, metals, weaving, and food and juices from Azerbaijan.

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The Jaguar F-PACE is officially the best and most beautiful car in the world after double success at the 2017 World Car Awards

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  • F-PACE wins two titles at 2017 World Car Awards
  • Jaguar’s first performance SUV takes 2017 World Car of the Year title
  • Also wins World Car Design of the Year prize
  • The F-PACE is Jaguar’s fastest selling global model
  • Jaguar is Europe’s fastest-growing car brand

The performance SUV is the fastest selling model Jaguar has produced and is only the second vehicle to claim the historic double in the 13-year history of the World Car Awards. To win the pair of trophies, the F-PACE saw off the competition in a vote of 75 influential motoring journalists from 24 countries.

Dr Ralf Speth, Jaguar Land Rover CEO, said: “The F-PACE was designed and engineered as a performance SUV with exceptional dynamics, everyday usability and bold design. Winning this award endorses the talent and great work of our teams that have delivered the world’s most practical sports car and Jaguar’s fastest-selling vehicle”.

The awards brace is the first overall success for Jaguar at the World Car Awards. The XE sports saloon was a finalist for the 2016 World Car Design of the Year title. The F-PACE triumphed over finalists the Audi Q5 and Volkswagen Tiguan to claim the 2017 World Car of the Year prize.

Ian Callum, Director of Design, Jaguar said: “The F-PACE is our first ever SUV but it is clearly recognisable as a Jaguar and for it to win the 2017 World Car of the Year trophy vindicates our decision to bring our unique design principles and dynamic qualities to a new sector of the market.”

The World Car Awards jury comprises influential motoring journalists and to win the 2017 World Car Design of the Year prize the F-PACE saw off the Mercedes-Benz S-Class Cabriolet and Toyota C-HR in the final three.

Mike Rutherford, Juror, Director and Vice-Chairman of the World Car Awards/World Car of the Year said: “Jaguar has done the unthinkable by first securing the World Car Design of the Year award, then lifting the big one – the overall World Car of the Year trophy. With F-PACE, the British company and its proud and talented workers have taken on and beaten far bigger, wealthier European, Asian and North American rivals.”

The F-PACE is Jaguar’s first performance SUV and has contributed to record sales growth by attracting new customers to the brand.

Engine options for the F-PACE range from the efficient and innovative four-cylinder 2.0-litre Ingenium diesel, with CO2 emissions as low as 126g/km* to the high-performance 380PS, supercharged V6 petrol model that can accelerate from 0-62mph (0-100km/h) in just 5.5 seconds.

The last 12 months have seen the launch of three completely new product lines, and successful growth across many of Jaguar’s existing products. Sales are still increasing strongly and Jaguar is now Europe’s fastest-growing car brand.

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Centrify appoints new EMEA Channel Director

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  • Plans to select top tier partners in each region and introduce boot-camp style training

Centrify, the leader in securing hybrid enterprises through the power of identity services, has appointed John Andrews as its new EMEA Channel Director. John, who reports to Vice President and Managing Director for EMEA, Andy Heather, will be responsible for setting out and delivering on the company’s long-term channel strategy and building a core set of distribution partners and VARs across the region, including the UK, DACH, Middle East, Northern Europe and Southern Europe.

Centrify, who appointed Exertis as its distribution partner in the UK two years ago following the decision to move to a two-tier model, will visit distributors in each country to involve them in the process and present the new corporate strategy and vision. Other distributors include Infinigate in DACH and France, StarLink in the Middle East, and DCB in Benelux.

John, who joined from BeyondTrust, has spent the last 18 years helping to build a channel presence and coverage in the Middle East and APAC markets for market-leading security vendors, including Juniper Networks, F5 and McAfee. He also spent three years as Marketing Director for Computerlinks Distribution, managing a portfolio of more than 25 security-focused vendors.

As Centrify continues to invest funds and resources into channel marketing, one of the first jobs of the new Channel Director will be to evaluate 250+ partners and focus on establishing a top 10 tier of VARs in each region. Centrify also plans to introduce an enhanced and improved virtual training platform for partners. This will include a one-week boot-camp style delivery into each region, with intensive training to bring partners up to speed on the company’s services capabilities and encourage better cross-selling and customer support.

“We have built up a strong channel network across EMEA over the past few years, but now is the time to assess these relationships to ensure our partners have the right skill set, product alignment and are committed to adding real value to our mutual customers,” comments John Andrews. “We also want to ensure we are working with channel partners that can offer specialist skills and routes into core vertical markets, including banking, retail and telcos.

“Our strength is the identity message, which plays into every part of the security sell, from privileged access management and single sign on to multi-factor authentication and identity as a service (IaaS). My primary goal is to support our channel partners in delivering this message to customers who are struggling to manage identity and access in today’s diverse environments, incorporating hybrid cloud, mobile and data centre.”

Phil Brown, Sales and Commercial Director, Exertis, adds: “We’re delighted that Centrify chose Exertis as its sole distribution partner in the UK and Ireland. The market for identity management/consolidation is growing rapidly as businesses start to appreciate and focus on cyber threats. Mobility continues to play a major part in improving productivity, with users accessing cloud and onsite resources from multiple devices. Centrify’s offering in the market is unique as it combines identity assurance, access control, centralised administration and adherence to the latest regulatory guidelines, so IT departments can improve efficiency and protect their most valuable resources.

“We believe Centrify provides our enterprise and SMB partners with a comprehensive platform to help organisations reduce the attack surface and fight against the threat of compromised credentials associated with cybercrime. Given our strategic relationship with partners, Exertis is committed to adding value to this new initiative by helping to extend their reach and stimulating growth in new markets.”

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New V6 powertrain technology, offering 400 hp, delivers exhilarating drive

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New INFINITI Q60 sports coupe:designed and engineered to perform

  • New V6 powertrain technology, offering 400 hp, delivers exhilarating drive
  • ‘Powerful Elegance’ design philosophy inspires daring exterior
  • Empowering performance from world-first technologies

The INFINITI Q60 is a premium sports coupe that combines a completely all-new design with exhilarating performance and dynamics. The taut, muscular lines of the exterior underline the Q60’s considerable performance potential – reinforced by an advanced all-new 3.0-liter V6 twin-turbo engine.

The high performance 3.0-liter V6 twin-turbo engine from the new and exclusive ‘VR’ powertrain family is born out of the brand’s extensive in-house experience in six-cylinder powertrain development. The new engine available with 400hp in the Q60 Red Sport 400 – has been designed to offer increased power and torque while maintaining high levels of efficiency.

A four-cylinder 2.0-liter engine, turbocharged to produce 208 hp, is also available. As standard, power is channeled through the Q60’s rear wheels for immediate dynamic responses.

The range of active, and passive, safety technologies include:

  • Monitoring for hazards: Around View Monitor; Intelligent Cruise Control with Distance Control Assist
  • Appearance of a hazard: Lane Departure Prevention; Blind Spot Intervention; Moving Object Detection; Predictive Forward Collision Warning
  • Avoiding and mitigating the effects of a collision: Forward Emergency Braking with pedestrian detection; Back-up Collision Intervention

In addition to these safety technologies, the Q60 includes other driver-assistive features such as the Adaptive Front Lighting System and Active Lane Control.

The Q60 is characterized by flowing sculptural lines and strong, muscular proportions. Its sinewy athleticism confidently projects a sense of motion and power, coupled with an effortless, almost weightless stance.

Unifying features such as the double-arch grille and the crescent-cut C-pillars – which arc forward and emphasize the car’s dynamic quality – ensure that the sports coupe is instantly recognizable as an INFINITI. LED headlights, employing ‘light guide technology’ to spread light evenly on the road ahead, are designed to emulate the shape of the human eye, providing an alluring ‘face’ to the car.

The Q60 features newly-designed 19-inch aluminum alloy wheels as standard. The ‘Red Sport 400’ models – more performance-oriented versions of the car – have wider wheels and tires at the rear, contributing to a more aggressive stance while also improving handling and grip with a higher capacity for lateral G-forces. The wheel gaps – the spaces between tires and wheel arches – are tighter than ever, further lowering the visual volume of the car and giving it a low, powerful stance.

The Q60 embodies INFINITI’s dedication to developing new and innovative driving technologies that deliver a confidence-inspiring and personalized experience behind the wheel.

The second-generation of INFINITI’s world-first Direct Adaptive Steering (DAS) is an advanced ‘steer-by-wire’ system that has undergone significant re-tuning to enhance steering feel and feedback without compromising comfort. The Q60 driver can choose from seven personalized modes to customize steering performance according to their preferred driving style.

Developed to work in tandem with DAS, an all-new electronic suspension system, Dynamic Digital Suspension (DDS), monitors the vehicle’s body roll, pitch and bounce rate to deliver a secure ride by further reducing unwanted steering feel and vibrations.

The Q60 includes safety technologies that actively protect people in and around the car. The Q60’s suite of driver assistive safety technologies allows the car to monitor for and identify potential hazards, actively assisting the driver to avoid those hazards, and, if a collision is unavoidable, mitigate the effects.

At launch, the Q60 will be available in 10 exterior colors, with ‘Dynamic Sunstone Red’ and ‘Solar Mica’ completely new to the INFINITI range. The 2.0T will be available from AED 153,900, whilst the Red Sport 400 will be available from AED 235,000.

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