Exotic car rental in Dubai
Everything you need to know when renting a luxury or sports car in Dubai
Dubai is a desert metropolis offering high-end experiences that create the sphere of luxury and lavish lifestyle. It is best known for the glare of its ultra-modern architecture, opulent hotels and shopping malls, and if you look beyond the shimmering skyline, you’ll also discover hidden treasures such as ancient mosques, historical districts, camel-colored sand dunes and much more.
Dubai is also one of the best places on the planet to hire an exotic vehicle. Rental companies offer a wide range of cars, from sports convertibles to luxury SUVs and minivans. You can find the newest models available, including Ferrari F8 Tributo & 488 Pista, Lamborghini Huracan Evo Spyder and Aventador SJV Roadster, Mercedes-AMG S65 L, Rolls-Royce Cullinan and the variety of new BMW, Porsche and Audi models.
To accommodate a strong gear-head ethos of the UAE, this city has an excellent road system that is continually being upgraded. The roads are well-maintained and easy to navigate, which makes Dubai an attractive destination to explore on wheels. When you drive down Sheikh Zayed Road, a Ferrari or Bentley at stoplights are quite a common sight.
So, while you’re there, why not rent yourself an exotic car and enjoy all the wonders this amazing city has to offer in the lap of luxury? Let go through some essentials to get you all set for the exciting part of your Dubai adventure.
How to rent a luxury car in Dubai?
There is no place that better than Dubai that reflects the saying — It’s all about the journey, not the destination. It’s great road network is a real pleasure to drive on. In Dubai, a car is not just a vehicle that takes you from one place to another, it’s a crucial element of the extravagant lifestyle it has trademarked. So it’s no wonder there are numerous car hire companies that offer exclusive luxury, exotic and sports cars for you to choose from.
Before you hire a car, you need to understand the general rules and policies of the car rental company you’ve chosen. Make sure you choose a reputable company as many shady businesses operate on the market.
What do I need to consider before choosing a rental company
Choosing a rental company that is reliable can be a real challenge in Dubai. There is a great number of companies providing rental services, however, only few are well-know and trustworthy. A lot of shady companies operate on the market. While some of them are legit, a lot of them are better to avoid. So, make sure you check the reviews before making a decision.
If you’re already in Dubai, asking for a recommendation form the locals is very convenient. However, you might miss out on the best deals as most of the cars are booked in advance, especially in the high season. A few rental companies in Dubai offer online booking. The competition among service providers lies across the exclusivity factor, rates and fleet condition. This doesn’t seem to diminish thanks to the impressive models available in their fleets and the convenience brought by the emerging technologies.
The most convenient way is to book your car in advance. Find a reputable service provider and make a reservation online. You can easily schedule a delivery to your hotel, usually at no additional cost, or you can pick the vehicle up at Dubai International Airport.
In order to provide security to both the customer and the service provider, the payment method most companies apply is the credit card, due to diverse deposit and no-show policies. Once you have selected your luxury car, to confirm your reservation a payment is required.
How old do I have to be to rent luxury and sports cars in Dubai?
You must be at least 21 years old to rent a car in Dubai, but the minimum age for renting a high-end vehicle is 25. Some rental companies offer additional insurance for young drivers, but that comes with an increased excess deductible. Make sure you confirm the additional cost and the insurance excess amount with the rental company in advance to avoid surprises.
Required documents to rent a car in Dubai
Unless you are a resident of the UAE, you need a valid passport in addition to your IDP/drivers license to rent a car in Dubai.
You’ll need to have held a full and valid driving license for at least one year and and, if required, International Driving Permit (International Drivers License) both issued in your country of residence.
If you’re making a reservation from abroad, you will be asked to send photographed images of the documents to confirm your rental. That’s a common practice and helps luxury car rental companies to combat fraud. Some companies will ask you to provide photos of your credit card. That should be avoided but if you choose to do so, get a contract or check rental terms and conditions first to avoid hidden fees.
Do I need an International Driving Permit to drive a rental car in Dubai?
If you hold a valid drivers license issued in: Australia, Austria, Bahrain, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Kuwait, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Oman, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Romania, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, United Kingdom, United States you do not need to hold an IDP. If your drivers license has been issued in any other country, you will need to obtain an IDP before renting a car.
Note that if you license was issued in Greece, Cyprus, Poland, Turkey, Japan and South Korea an official translation of the drivers license is required. Sometimes it’s easier to purchase an IDP, in which case the translation is not required.
Insurance — CDW and Theft protection
The insurance amount differs depending on the rental offer. All offers include a comprehensive insurance with specified excess amount (insurance deductible for comprehensive cover). The protection includes Collision Damage Waiver and Theft Protection, which are basically designed to reduce the renter’s liability if the hired car gets damaged or stolen. In case of an accident dial 999 or 112 (if calling from a mobile). Don’t leave the scene of an accident without the police issued slip (green slips indicate the accident was not your fault, red slips indicate it was). This way you’ll be able to proceed with the insurance claim.
Insurance deductible and deposit payment
Before your drive away you’ll have to leave a deposit in form of a credit card pre-authorization. The amount differs depending on the car type. For luxury and sports cars it ranges from AED 2.000 to 20.000 (€ 500 to 5.000). As with budget car rental, the deposit is intended to cover additional rental costs, traffic fines and any potential damage to the car, its loss or theft.
Note that it might take up to 60 days to get your money back — some rental companies will keep your deposit for a longer period to make sure that all traffic fines have been received and processed. The best way to go is to confirm the deposit release time frame before you take the car.
You might be offered to leave cash for the deposit. That’s a common scam — in most cases you will never receive your money back, or you will pay a hefty fee for the Western Union transfer to get your money back. It’s highly recommended to pay the rental and the deposit with your credit card. Doing so, in case any problem occurs, you can dispute the charge.
What does the rental cost include?
The rental costs usually include daily vehicle rental rate and delivery to your location. Additional costs apply for airport pickups and returns, as most companies are located far from the Dubai International Airport (DXB).
In 2018 Dubai introduced Value Added Tax (VAT) and the rate is 5%. Check if the VAT is included in the rate or not before paying for your rental. Also check the total cost as some companies will add payment processing fees and/or exchange rate markup on top of the communicated rate.
Dubai traffic regulations, violations and fines
Traffic regulations in the UAE are very strict, particularly in the main urban areas such as Dubai. In order to enjoy its spectacular road network make sure you are fully aware of the local driving standards before you set off.
UAE has a fantastic motorway system with highways that can stretch across 10 or even more lanes for you to glide on. However, this gear-head paradise can easily lead to the fast and furious driving that is often witnessed on certain arterial roads. So, first and foremost keep an eye on the speed limits.
On the main motorways and highways the speed limit is either 100kph or 120kph. In the city area it usually varies from 40kph to 80kph, depending on the zone. Dubai police is strict when it comes to enforcing speed limits — for exceeding the speed limit by less than 20kph you’ll be charged AED 300 (€ 75) and if you’re caught driving more than 80kph above the speed limit, the fine is AED 3.000 (€ 750).
Drive on the right and overtake from the left. Passing a vehicle from the right side is a traffic violation in the UAE and penalties apply. Fines for tailgating, hard shoulder overtaking or any form of aggressive driving that endangers the lives of others can reach the amount of up to AED 2000 (€ 550). Also, try not to lose your temper on the road, as you may find yourself facing a charge for insulting behavior caused by a gesture or an outburst of strong language.
The fine for running a red light is AED 1.000 (€ 250), but, bare in mind this amount can get much higher depending on the circumstances — in some city areas where the Dubai Tram is located, running a red light and causing an accident with the tram can lead to fines as high as AED 30.000 (€ 7.500) and far more serious consequences. Trams in Dubai take priority over cars and other vehicles so make sure to always give way to them.
You’ll be fined with AED 800 (€ 200) for using mobile phone without a hands-free kit or car connection. It’s better if you leave your smart phone on the side and not use it at all while driving. It can wait until you’re safely parked.
All passengers in the car must wear a seat belt, and in case you’re on a family holiday with children between 4 and 8 years of age, you must be equipped with a booster seat. This can be provided by a rental company upon request. Also, children under 13 are not allowed to sit in the passenger seat.
And last but not least — don’t even think of drinking and driving! While this is a general rule, many countries have a low permissible blood alcohol level but in Dubai and the rest of the UAE, it is zero. If you’re caught with even a nanolitre in your bloodstream, it can lead to very severe consequences, with maximum fine up to AED 20.000 (€ 5.000), jail and deportation.
Driving in and around Dubai
Whether you’re on a luxury holiday or visiting Dubai for business, driving on its spectacular road network is an amazing experience that will most certainly add an extra layer of pleasure to your stay. To make the most out of it, you should get familiar with the traffic pace and the daily routines of Dubai’s drivers.
If you hit the Sheikh Zayed Road (E11), you will enjoy the dazzling views of colossal skyscrapers as it passes through the very center of Dubai. With six lanes running in each direction, it is one of the main roads of Dubai. To experience Dubai Marina and admire the exclusive Palm Jumeirah, take the Jumeirah Road (D94). Along this beach road, you’ll be able to catch a glimpse of important landmarks such as Jumeirah Grand Mosque, Mercato Mall and Dubai Zoo. And for a more relaxed traffic pace you can always choose to cruise down Al Wasl Road to avoid the haste on the E11.
To explore other Emirates, the E11 will take you to Abu Dhabi if you head south. Heading north, the road leads you to Sharjah, Umm Al Qawain and Ras Al Khaimah. And if you decide to experience the charms of an inland oasis, the E66 will take you to Al Ain.
Bear in mind, no matter how spectacular the UAE road network is, there’s a great number of cars using it every day. So, if possible, avoid driving in the rush hour — between 6:30am and 9:00am from Saturday to Thursday, or 5:00pm and 8:00pm on the same days. The Emirates Road (E611) is another good option for those who are less experienced in driving in Dubai. It links Abu Dhabi with the Northern Emirates without passing through the city area of Dubai.
Toll fee “Salik” — a cashless transaction
Salik is Dubai’s automatic road toll collection system. Put in place more then 10 years ago, the scheme consists of 7 toll gates set up around the city. All rental cars are equipped with a Salik Tag, which is attached to the windscreen. Each time your vehicle passes a Salik toll station a fee applies. After the return of the vehicle the applicable cost will be charged. Moving or removing the Salik tag is not allowed and a penalty charge will be applied for this.
Parking and parking tickets in Dubai
Parking zones use pay and display machines or you can use the mParking service and pay for parking by sending an SMS from your mobile phone. Zones are divided into three main categories — commercial, non-commercial and special areas.
Fuel costs in United Arab Emirates
The fuel in Dubai is quite cheap, ranging from AED 2,26 AED to 2,37 per liter (diesel from AED 2.35 AED to 2.42 per liter). The car rental company will provide you the vehicle with a full tank and you should refill it prior to return. If that’s not the case, return the vehicle with a same fuel level. Otherwise, the current prices per petrol or diesel will be charged in addition to a refueling fee, so the final cost may be much higher than it would be at a local petrol station.
The best time to visit Dubai — Consider seasons and weather conditions
As a modern city rising from the desert, Dubai is a great escape all year round.
Winter season is always welcome in the UAE, when the temperature starts cooling down to the average of 20°C after summer heats. It’s the period when all the attention turns to the outdoor activities and a perfect time to visit places like Dubai Miracle Garden, Dubai Garden Glow or sail the Dubai Creek.
If you’re traveling in November or December, make sure you book your car in advance. It’s the peak season for supercar rental and most of the cars are booked in advance — the rates get higher and the selection of available cars is limited.
Winter also brings along tricky weather conditions such as fog and, surprising as it may seem, occasional rain, especially in December and January. So, watch out for slippery roads and take extra safety measures if you plan to venture out when the fog rolls in.
In both winter and summer season you can explore some of Dubai’s main attractions like the world’s tallest building — the iconic Burj Khalifa, the magnificent Jumeirah Mosque that also welcomes non-Muslim guests, visit the artificial archipelago — Palm Jumeirah, or go luxury shopping in some of the most opulent malls in the world.
On hot mid-summer days additional caution is advised when you’re on the road. High temperatures can cause drowsiness, lack of concentration and irritability. Practice defensive driving — be more patient and careful on the road. Also, take care to prevent tyre-related incidents. Intense high temperatures can cause overinflation leading to a tyre burst.
If you want to escape the heat, we recommend leaving the city behind and traveling south-east to Hatta. It is located 130km form Dubai and the best way to get there is by Sharjah-Kalba Road (E102). Due to its relatively mild climate high in the Hajar Mountains, the picturesque ambient of Hatta has become a perfect summer getaway in the UAE. This Dubai exclave offers plenty of activities, from kayaking on Hatta Dam to visiting the stunning rock pools. But if you really want to relax, we suggest staying in the luxury JA Hatta Fort Hotel and enjoying the breathtaking scenery of the surrounding Hajar Mountains from your private balcony.