Date: 02 Apr 1999 14:28:37 -0800
From: Erik Selberg <>
Subject: Re: Saab 9-3 or a BMW 328i

So I don't know anything about BMWs except that they cost a bunch. But I've actually been looking for a new car with a fair amount of performance, character, comfort, etc. I've actually always liked the idea of a Saab, and thought I'd test drive one to see if driving was as cool as I thought. I drove a Saab 9-3 the other week and it was OK. The instrument panel was a cluttered mess, but the steering wheel controls were nice. Also looked like you wouldn't be able to put in your own stereo (it was all one big unit), but I could be mistaken. I was put off by two things in the Saab. The first was that the seats really didn't adjust very well to me. Your mileage will vary naturally, but when it comes down to it, uncomfy seats just aren't good. The other thing that bothered me was the lethargic acceleration before the turbo kicked in. This was an automatic, so perhaps a stick may be a bit better, but it was _extremely_ weak. It did handle nicely around the city and going up a windy uphill road, and had all the nice things Saabs have. But I dunno, it just didn't say that much to me. On a completely unrelated note, I had an opportunity (which I took :) to rent a Chrysler 300m for a weekend. That was a fun car. It was extremely comfy inside, I could handle the instrument panel without difficulty, most of the options you pay for from Saab are standard (powered leather heated seats, which really are quite nice, CD player + tape player, etc). The trunk was also quite large, which surprised me. The 300m only comes with this automatic / semi-matic 4 speed autostick thing. In truth, after playing with it for a while it felt completely gimmicky, but I was able to pass semis going at 75 with no effort. What's really surprising is that the 300m fully loaded is around the starting price of the Saab 9-3. So... don't know. I'm sure there are lots of pros and cons regarding the BMW, and I'm sure there are tons of cons I didn't notice with the 300m compared to the Saab. But so far, for $30K I haven't seen a deal I liked better than the 300m. -e -- Erik Selberg "I get by with a little help from my friends."

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