2007 Jaguar XK

by Jonathan Spira
2007 Jaguar XK

Stunning – my thought upon first seeing the Jaguar XK coupe.  Let’s add breathtaking, just for good measure.  And that was before starting the motor.
This cat purrs.
I immediately headed off to a meeting some 45 miles away, wondering if I shouldn’t just keep going past my exit and skip the meeting.  I was too busy noticing the powerful, naturally aspirated 4.2-litre V8 motor, the fast throttle response, and the tight …

2007 Audi A8 L quattro AT6

by Jonathan Spira
2007 Audi A8 L quattro AT6

Someone who sits in an Audi A8 quattro L will inevitably feel like a VIP as this auto offers all of the conveniences and amenities one might expect if one were, for example, the Bundeskanzler (Federal Chancellor) of Germany.
In fact, former Bundeskanzler Gerhard Schröder picked a very similar car for his official vehicle (the Kanzlerwagen), although his had substantially more armor and security devices than mine did.  (Until that point, …

Hotel Imperial, Vienna, Austria Review

by Jonathan Spira

The majestic Hotel Imperial, built originally as the residence of the Prince of Württemberg in 1863 and transformed into a hotel in 1873 in time for the World’s Fair, is for business travelers accustomed to staying at the best addresses.  It is renowned for impeccable service and discretion.
Guests are treated like regulars, even on the first visit.  The hotel is also the official residence for visiting heads of state. Charlie …

Lexus RX 400h AWD

by Jonathan Spira
Lexus RX 400h AWD

While celebrities in Hollywood may drive themselves to glamorous openings in 50 mpg hybrid Priuses, the business traveler can show up in style at meetings with a clean, green conscience driving.
Lexus bills the RX 400h as the “world’s first luxury hybrid utility vehicle” and it’s clearly at the beginning of a trend for luxury alternative-fuel vehicles. Ultra-low-sulfur diesel fuel is making a comeback in diesel-powered passenger cars (expect more from …

BMW 335i Coupe

by Jonathan Spira
BMW 335i Coupe

Our love affair with the automobile, despite dramatic swings in oil prices, continues to intensify – as does the amount of technology in the vehicle.  The first computer appeared in the 1968 Volkswagen 1600, controlling the air-fuel mixture in an electronic fuel injection system.  Since then, automotive computers have become ubiquitous, in fact cars even have local networks which allow different computers to communicate with each other.
One of the leaders …

What If the Well Runs Dry?

by Jonathan Spira

I’m writing this at the Tacoma Sheraton where I am speaking at a conference.
The hotel is tired and faded but it boasts wireless Internet in every room.  What the hotel doesn’t promise, however, is that there will be working Internet.
Yes, here we go again.  As I sat in my room with a colleague, preparing for my presentation, every tab on my browser was replaced by a Sheraton “Connect to the …

Hotel Review: Tacoma Sheraton

by Jonathan Spira
Hotel Review: Tacoma Sheraton

Built in 1986, the Tacoma Sheraton appeared not to have been vacuumed since opening day.  I had an uneasy feeling about this hotel from the moment I walked into the lobby and I was not disappointed. As I checked in (I was a speaker at a conference, and my room was to be part of the master bill), I verified the billing arrangements only to be told I was to …