Home » Archive by Author

Articles by Jonathan Spira

BMW and VW Diesels Among 10 Best Engines for 2010

BMW and VW Diesels Among 10 Best Engines for 2010

Two clean-diesel engines were among the ten best engines for 2010, as selected by Ward’s, an automotive news and data provider.
Six editors from Ward’s nominated a total of 34 engines available in regular production cars in the United States priced no more than $54,000.
The two diesel winners were BMW, for …

Audi Q7 TDI Review

Audi Q7 TDI Review

The Audi Q7, first introduced as a 2007 model, shares a platform with the Volkswagen Touareg and the Porsche Cayenne and is definitely the best looking of the three.  Resembling more of a tall station wagon than anything else, it appears smaller than it really is.  Its mammoth proportions (it …

The Diesel Engine

The Diesel Engine

Invented by Rudolf Diesel in the 1890s, the diesel engine is a type of internal combustion engine that uses the heat of highly compressed air to ignite a spray of fuel introduced after the start of the compression stroke.
It is highly efficient in converting heat energy into work.
A diesel engine …

First Drive: BMW 123d

First Drive: BMW 123d

The BMW 123d may be the most powerful two-liter diesel ever offered, producing 204 hp and 295 pound-feet of torque at 2000 rpm.  This is enough to get the car from zero to 100 kilometers in 7 seconds.  Fuel consumption as measured by the European Driving Cycle is 36 mpg …

First Drive: Volkswagen Jetta TDI

First Drive: Volkswagen Jetta TDI

On a round-trip to Philadelphia from New York City for a meeting, the Jetta averaged 43 mpg on the highway (with speeds ranging from 55 to 80 mph).  The Jetta provided a steady supply of power with just a hint of turbo lag and its torque made passing easy.
The easiest …

First Drive: Mercedes-Benz ML320 BlueTec

First Drive: Mercedes-Benz ML320 BlueTec

Mercedes, which pioneered diesel-powered passenger cars back in the 30s, has continued to demonstrate its commitment to diesel in the United States with a variety of models over the years including the legendary 240D and, more recently, an E-Class sedan with a diesel engine.
With the introduction of Mercedes’ BlueTec technology, …

First Drive: BMW 535d

First Drive: BMW 535d

With its 3-liter inline six-cylinder engine with twin turbochargers (small one for low revs, large for high revs) that work in sequence to eliminate turbo lag, the 535d has so much power that you simply would have had to look at the model badge on the trunk to confirm it’s …

First Drive: Audi A6 TDI

First Drive: Audi A6 TDI

During four days with the A6, the fuel gauge barely moved.  I consistently got 22-24 mpg in town and up to 40 mpg on the highway.
The engine’s 332 pound-feet of torque (50% more than the gasoline version) made driving (and overtaking) a pleasure.  The Audi cabin is a pleasure as …

König Diesel: Driving the New BMW 7er Series

König Diesel: Driving the New BMW 7er Series

The 7er Series, as BMW’s flagship, may cocoon its driver and passengers in Teutonic luxury and is clearly automotive royalty.  While I was somewhat ambivalent about the exterior of its predecessor, the new 7er is a true blue blood, and not just because of its Bavarian heritage.
To me, it looks …

Peugeot introduces the 1967 240BD

Peugeot introduces the 1967 240BD

In 1967, Peugeot introduced the world’s first compact, high-speed diesel car, the Peugeot 240BD. Its 1.3L XL4D engine produced 46 horsepower (34 kW) at 5,000 rpm.

Rudolf Diesel Invents Diesel Engine

Rudolf Diesel Invents Diesel Engine

Without Rudolf Diesel (1858-1913), this publication might not exist.  Diesel, a thermal engineer born in Paris to Bavarian parents, invented the engine that would come to bear his name, an internal combustion engine that doesn’t require a spark to ignite the fuel-air mixture.
His goal was to design an internal combustion …

The BMW 335d: Can A Diesel Be The Ultimate Driving Machine?

The BMW 335d: Can A Diesel Be The Ultimate Driving Machine?

To many people, diesels are slow, noisy, and belch black smoke.  If that’s your recollection too, you’ll be surprised to find out that diesels in Europe currently account for roughly 50% of the new car market.  In the United States, the market for diesel automobiles is miniscule, thanks largely to …