Date: Fri, 23 Aug 2002 11:05:39 +0100
From: "Lee Marshall" <leenopsamvespamenigma-it.com>
Subject: My hopes for the new 9-3


As some of you may be aware from reading my posts elsewhere in this group, I am the (mostly) proud owner of a '97 9000 Aero. Due to some ongoing problems with my car, I have been fortunate to have been able to test most of the current Saab range as courtesy cars. Although to be honest, I have not been too impressed. I have found that the build quality across the whole range has been totally sub-standard for the market in which Saabs compete, especially compared to my 9k. The current 9-3 has typically great engines, apart from the awful 2.2 Turbo Diesel. This is without doubt the worst diesel car I have ever driven (maybe excluding a Peugeot 106 1.5D), although the engine was quite powerful the noise and vibration (particulary through the clutch pedal) was unacceptable. The 2.0 LPT is the best engine in the range, the full blown turbo being too powerful for the chassis. The sound system on the coupe was exceptional though. My current courtesy car is a brand new 9-5 Linear 2.0 LPT, but this too has many faults. Again the build quality is poor (particularly the lid on the cubby hole between the front seats). There is also a general lack of storage space, the door pockets are far too small and there is only one cupholder, albeit a very nice one. However the main problem with the 9-5 is again the chassis. Even with the base 150bhp engine, you can lose traction pulling out of junctions and going around roundabouts. I admit my 9000 doesn't have wonderful traction but it is better than 9-5, even with 75bhp more. I have also found the 9-5 to be "loose" and prone to lift-off oversteer, not nice in a car this big. I have high hopes for the 9-3, although being based on the new Vectra (Epsilon) platform isn't going to help (if past experience is anything to go by). If Saab can improve the build quality and find a way of taming 200+bhp I sure it will sell well. My other immediate concern for the new 9-3 is a lack of what Saabs usually have, excess power. The new 9-3 is going to be a heavy car and I think the new Aero will not have the power to compete with it's main competitor, the BMW 330. It seems to me that Volvo is taking the lead in the Swedish power stakes, and that can only be bad for Saab. Sorry if I have droned on too much about this, but this has been burning away inside for some time. I welcome your counter-comments! Lee --- Outgoing mail is certified Virus Free. Checked by AVG anti-virus system (http://www.grisoft.com). Version: 6.0.384 / Virus Database: 216 - Release Date: 21/08/2002

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