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Articles by Jonathan Spira

Los Angeles Auto Show: Plug Me In

Los Angeles Auto Show: Plug Me In

At the 2013 Los Angeles Auto Show, the luxury electric car market was heating up as Audi, BMW, and Cadillac touted their newest models in the country’s most energy-conscious region.
Electric cars, which currently make up 1% of light vehicle sales, are hot and automakers have been closely following Tesla Motors’ …

2014 BMW 328d xDrive Sports Wagon – Review and Test Drive

2014 BMW 328d xDrive Sports Wagon – Review and Test Drive

The first station wagons (which are called estate cars in the rest of the English-speaking world and Kombis in the German-speaking world), evolved from trucks, not cars, and, in their earliest days, were a status symbol.  Indeed, the Chrysler Town and Country wagon was the most expensive car among the …

2013 Audi Q7 TDI: The Drive to the High Tatras Mountains – Review

2013 Audi Q7 TDI: The Drive to the High Tatras Mountains – Review

This is Part 2 of Grand Touring feature on the Drive to the High Tatras Mountains. The first part was The Drive to Vienna.
The Audi Q7 TDI is like an old friend.  I drove the Q7 for the first time four years ago and have driven it and its siblings (the …

2013 Audi Q7 TDI: The Drive to Vienna – Review and Report

2013 Audi Q7 TDI: The Drive to Vienna – Review and Report

The Audi Q7 has been around since 2009 and has been continually updated by Audi with the latest in driver assistance and safety technologies.  With regard to vehicle size, it was a bit of overkill for my trek to the High Tatras Mountains of Slovakia, a range of mountains along …

First Look: 2014 BMW X5 xDrive35d – Review

First Look: 2014 BMW X5 xDrive35d – Review

Back in 1999, when BMW was busy introducing the X5 Sport Activity Vehicle (which was the Bavarian automaker’s way of explaining it was not offering an SUV, at least not a typical one, while emphasizing the car’s on-road strengths), the blue-and-white faithful were in a state of disbelief.  How could …

2014 BMW 535d – First Look and Review

2014 BMW 535d – First Look and Review

This is a review that I first started to write several years ago, when the BMW 335d was my daily driver.  As much as I loved that car, my imagination went wild and I longed for the larger, more luxurious 5 Series as a diesel. The BMW 335d was half …

2015 Volkswagen Golf TDI – First Drive and Review

2015 Volkswagen Golf TDI – First Drive and Review

The seventh generation Volkswagen Golf TDI is a great car and no, you can’t have one – at least not until some time next year when it reaches these shores as a 2015 model.
Earlier in the week, I spent the better part of a day motoring around in a European-spec …

2014 Mercedes-Benz E250 BlueTec Sedan – First Look and Review

2014 Mercedes-Benz E250 BlueTec Sedan – First Look and Review

For 2014, the Mercedes-Benz E-Class family is receiving a mid-life refresh but it’s the most extensive facelift we’ve seen and probably the most ambitious in the history of the marque.  Indeed, the new E-Class looks more like a new model than some completely new introductions in recent years.
In the case …

2013 BMW ActiveHybrid 5 – Review and Test Drive

2013 BMW ActiveHybrid 5 – Review and Test Drive

BMW introduced its first hybrids, the ActiveHybrid X6 and ActiveHybrid 7, back in 2009.  Since then, the luxury segment has seen the introduction of hybrids from a variety of automakers, including Lexus and Mercedes-Benz.
What the ActiveHybrid 5 has in common with its ActiveHybrid predecessors is BMW’s ActiveHybrid branding.   Other than …

2014 Chevrolet Cruze Diesel – First Look and Review

2014 Chevrolet Cruze Diesel – First Look and Review

The diesel market in the United States has been controlled by German automakers, namely Audi, BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Porsche, and Volkswagen, for the past decade or so.  Although the Chevrolet Cruze Diesel is the first diesel auto to appear in the U.S. from one of the Big Three automakers, it has …

Mercedes-Benz E350 BlueTec 18-Month Review and Report

Mercedes-Benz E350 BlueTec 18-Month Review and Report

The 18-month mark of a long-term test car is a bittersweet moment.  In one respect, we’ve gotten to know the car really well over the past year and a half.  On the other hand, we know its time with us is coming to a close.
Our 2011 Palladium Silver Mercedes-Benz E350 …

2014 Mazda Mazda6 – Review and Road Test

2014 Mazda Mazda6 – Review and Road Test

Earlier this year, Mazda, following in the footsteps of several other automakers that were about to introduce a diesel to the U.S. market, entered two Mazda6 diesel sedans in the grueling Rolex 24 (also known as the 24 Hours of Daytona) race.
Mazda will begin selling the oilburner towards the end …