Me And My Car

Have power, will travel

Mr Baha Walid bought the Audi S5 in 2011 and it has since clocked about 100,000km.
Mr Baha Walid bought the Audi S5 in 2011 and it has since clocked about 100,000km.PHOTO: SARJEET SINGH

Businessman Baha Walid has had his Audi S5 for seven years, but is still having a blast

Businessman Baha Walid's preference for performance cars is born out of necessity.

As he traverses the North-South Expressway in Malaysia frequently for work, he says a performance car makes each trip less arduous.

His current ride of choice is an Audi S5 4.2FSI quattro coupe, a 354hp/440Nm two-door, which he bought in 2011 from a director at Audi agent Premium Automobiles.

Mr Baha says he was fortunate to buy the car, which was only about a year old and had clocked only 1,000km or so, at a 25 per cent discount.

The 52-year-old, who deals in telecommunications equipment, has other less practical reasons for picking the S5.

"I love the sound of the V8 rumble and the handling. It has also been reliable," he says. "If I want a comfortable and quiet drive, I switch to Comfort mode. But if I feel like playing with the paddle shifts, I switch to Dynamic mode and enjoy the louder exhaust sound."

The car runs on 21-inch wheels, which he changed up from the original 19-inch ones.

On one of his many drives across the Causeway, he was pulled over by a Malaysian policeman.

"I thought I was going to be fined for speeding, but he said he only wanted to take a look at my car," Mr Baha says, adding that the cop even got into the Audi. "Because he did not see any key even though the engine was running, he asked me where the key was. I told him it's in my pocket."

Apparently, he had not come across a keyless system, Mr Baha says.

The performance car fan prefers the S5 over his last sporty car, a Mazda RX8. "The RX8 tended to float at higher speeds, whereas the S5 grips the road, even around bends," he says.

Even though the Audi is a two-door, no one in Mr Baha's family of five has complained about a lack of space in the rear seats. His wife Yanie, 46, is a company purchaser. They have two daughters - Fina, 24, and Liana, 17 - and a son, Faiz, 23.

Everyone in the family except Liana has a driving licence, but only Faiz has driven it.

Mrs Baha's daily commute is a Mitsubishi Outlander SUV, which was purchased last year. It is also the family workhorse because it is roomier and more versatile.

But Mr Baha says he is quite happy with his steroidal ride. "I am not even thinking of changing it."

The S5 has clocked about 100,000km, but looks almost like a showroom car, save for a couple of Flying Lizard Motorsports decals.

"I think the stickers make the car go faster," he says with a laugh.

• The writer contributes to Torque, a motoring monthly published by SPH Magazines.

What's in the boot?

Mr Baha Walid bought the Audi S5 in 2011 and it has since clocked about 100,000km.

• a car cover

• an umbrella

• a prayer mat

• a box of car-grooming stuff

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 19, 2018, with the headline 'Have power, will travel'. Print Edition | Subscribe