The Spanish coachbuilder pays tribute to its Muslim culture.
Spanish Hurtan Automobiles has introduced the Grand Albaycin UAE Limited Edition, of which only 30 will be made. As you can probably guess, Hurtan incorporated several model-specific features inspired by the United Arab Emirates and its culture.
But before we get to those, a quick reminder of the Grand Albaycin's underpinnings. It's impossible to tell from the outside, but the interior is a dead giveaway. While the materials scattered around the cabin may be way more upmarket, you can easily spot the Mazda MX-5 Miata underneath. In fact, the Mazda's iPad-like screen actually spoils what is an otherwise old-school interior festooned with glossy wood and quilted leather.
Speaking of, the UAE Limited Edition gets taracea (an ancient artisanal technique of blending different woods) ribbons on the doors and a nameplate featuring the flag of the UAE and the car's name written in Arabic calligraphy. You'll also note the double-braided blue stitching on the creamy white leather. Hurtan didn't name the exterior blue hue but says the colors of the sky and the water inspired it.
You might wonder why a Spanish coachbuilder introduced a vehicle paying tribute to the UAE. The secret lies with Al-Andalus, the term historian used for the former Muslim-ruled states in Spain and Portugal. Various Muslim states controlled the territory from 177 to 1492, so there are still some influences in the region, and it's this Arab heritage this particular Grand Albaycin is celebrating.
Hurtan celebrated its 30th anniversary last year, and like any decent manufacturer, it introduced a limited edition. That particular example was the best Grand Albaycin we've seen so far, though the company does have more than one model in its range.
You can still get the Author, though we wouldn't recommend it as it's based on the horrible Chrysler PT Cruiser. The Vintage sedan/SUV is more imposing but based on a Jeep Wrangler. Without the off-road ability, the Jeep has nothing going for it, so that's another hard pass.
The Grand Albaycin has Miata bones, and that's a good thing. While we're used to the fourth-generation ND with the 184 horsepower 2.0-liter naturally aspirated four-pot, you can order a Grand Albaycin with the 1.5-liter engine available in Europe. It only produces 132 hp, but from what we've heard, it's the one to have as it loves being abused and makes the front end even lighter.
The regular Grand Albaycin costs roughly $65,000 for the base 1.5-liter, more than twice what you pay for a Miata locally. Even though the styling is quite remarkable, we'd rather have two Miatas.
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