First Drive: BMW 123d

by Jonathan Spira
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 …

The First Diesels

by Paul Riegler
The First Diesels

Many people don’t realize that diesel-powered passenger cars date back to the mid-1930s.
Although the Mercedes-Benz 260D and the Hanomag Rekord Diesel Typ D 19A were both introduced at the 1936 Berlin Automobile Show, the Mercedes was the first to go into production so it is generally regarded as the first …

First Drive: Volkswagen Jetta TDI

by Jonathan Spira
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

by Jonathan Spira
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

by Jonathan Spira
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

by Jonathan Spira
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

by Jonathan Spira
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 …

BMW Diesel Wins 1998 24 Hours Nürburgring

by Paul Riegler
BMW Diesel Wins 1998 24 Hours Nürburgring

A diesel-powered BMW was the winner of the 1998 24 Hours Nürburgring, a GT and touring car endurance race.  The winning car was a BMW 320d (internal code E36) equipped with Robert Bosch’s diesel Common Rail System  high-pressure diesel injection technology.
The BMW’s low fuel consumption and resultant long range, which …

Alfa Introduces First Common Rail Diesel Car

by Paul Riegler
Alfa Introduces First Common Rail Diesel Car

1997 Alfa Romeo 156 1.9 JTD First Passenger Car to Have Diesel Common Rail System
The first passenger car to use the diesel Common Rail System was the 1997 Alfa Romeo 156 1.9 JTD.   The 156 (known internally as type 932) was a replacement for the Alfa Romeo 155 and …

Peugeot introduces the 1967 240BD

by Jonathan Spira
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.

Mercedes introduces 260D, new for 1936

by Paul Riegler
Mercedes introduces 260D, new for 1936

In 1936, after years of engine development work, Mercedes-Benz unveiled the 260D, the world’s first diesel passenger car, at the Berlin Automobile Show.
The Hanomag Rekord Diesel Typ D 19A was also introduced at the show but it wasn’t immediately available for delivery.
Based on the 200/230 model, the 260 used a …

Rudolf Diesel Invents Diesel Engine

by Jonathan Spira
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 …