My wife, Elle, is a life-long Saab driver. She's been driving Saabs and only Saabs since she drove her fathers 1983 900 Turbo when she was 16 and she currently drives a 1999 9-3 Turbo. She tried to find a 1992 or 1993 900 turbo for about a year but could not find one that had low enough mileage... at this point in our lives, we were no longer able to find ourselves able to be purchasing ten year old Saabs with 125,000+ miles already on them. She wanted something that still had some of those primo miles left in it. After a long fruitless search and leaving business cards on windshields (nobody who did have a nice lower mileage C900 would sell it), we test drove and bought the 99 9-3T. It had 35K and two years left on the warranty and we really got spoiled by that great service even though the only thing that went wrong with the car was a failed water pump, but at 78K miles, it's still driving like it did at 19K miles. We both find it to be strikingly not that different from our 83 900T which went 210K miles on an original turbo. Anyway, when a tree fell on our 92 900S during a windstorm, I put the 73 Sonett III into daily driver use while we decided what to get next. Elle test drove the Mini Cooper, but it was a little too boxy and, to use her words, "too much of a retro interior", and she expected it to be a little more nimble than the much larger 9-3. It was her only possible temptation away from Saab. So we waited a good bit longer to check out the 9-2X Aero - we didn't bother trying the Linear because we're both turbo fanatics. When she does test drives, she really does test drives. We took out the 9-2X Aero at around 6:30 pm and drove it a few miles down to a corporate parkway which was now abandoned as most folks had gone home. This gave us a nice two mile, four lane divided 'raceway'. Elle even surprised me with how, uh, swiftly she got things going. Anyway, to make a long story short, the test drive sold the car to us. The turbo reminds us of the 83 turbo and for me especially, it reminds me of a cross between the 83 turbo and the Sonett's higher RPM needs (Sonett's love higher RPM and are sad little cars if you don't drive 'em that way - same with the 9-2X). I spec'ed out pricing on both the SaabUSA website and the Subaru site and found the price difference that everyone seems to be assuming, just isn't there. The Saab came out at $100 more than the comparable Subaru, then there was the $1k Saab owner loyalty, plus another $2k in dealer incentives (it ended up being about $3500 in incentives at the end of July when Saab was clearing out lots - I mean they also had $8K in incentives for 9-5 Aero's - those were killer deals, but incentives are a way of life for new Saabs for a decade now). So, we got the 9-2X Aero with Sport package because I wanted a sunroof and that only comes with the Sport package along with 17 inch sport alloys, which I didn't really care for, but now I really love!
So, we've put 1,000 miles on it so far and it has been the most fun 1,000 miles I've driven in a long time. I still love the 9-3 and the Sonett III, which is now getting the attention it deserves in the garage with the carb fully disassembled, but the 9-2X is wonderful. It's a smaller car, so by that fact alone, it seems to be tighter than the larger 9-3. With the 9-3 (and a Viggen probably solves this one), you have to be a little more thoughtful going into turns at higher speeds as there is some sway, but nothing a decent driver cannot anticipate. The 9-2X is on rails (like the little Sonett in a way) with the AWD and it just literally sticks to the ground through turns. Yesterday, coming home from my sister's place in the city, we tagged up with a 9-3 Sports Sedan and we did a tag-team "we own all you other cars" down the highway at about 105 together. The 9-2X was quiet, smooth, almost driving itself at 105... Awhile back on a long empty stretch of 101 south of San Jose, I took it upto 115 and it was just purring along... I don't have the nerve to really drive any faster than that, but it had way way more room to go and run if I had wanted.
It is most definitely a high RPM car. The red line is 1,000 RPMs higher than the 9-3 and it pretty much drives in all gears at 1,000 RPMs higher than the 9-3. You can get in trouble (just like in the Sonett and in the 83 900T) if you are shifting up to early and get caught with too low RPMs and demanding too much power too soon. The car is very comfortable at 4,000 RPMs and will deliver power asap, but if you shift into fourth at 35 mph and stomp on it, you're going to get the same thing as you would in the 83 900T... a bit of a wait before the exhaust builds up and spins up the turbo etc. Our experience with C900 turbo's is really paying off, but the 9-2X Aero would've taught us how to drive it anyway by rewarding us with power at higher rpms and dinging us when we shifted too early... if you see what I mean.
All in all, with a 9-3 Turbo, Sonett III, and 9-2X Aero in the driveway, I feel like the luckiest Saaber around... now I just need a 99 Turbo ;-). All these cars have such unique things about them yet they all feel So Saab and each one is so much fun to drive.
As for quality... we've either been terribly lucky with all seven of our Saabs or Saabs are just good cars.. they've done very well for us. The 9-2X Aero only just broke 1,000 miles last weekend, so I don't know what to say other than... nothing is wrong with it so far... The 6 CD in dash changer is really very nice and I like the performance of the stereo. The climate controls are very easy to adjust while driving. They are a big improvement over our 9-3 manual controls. The dash is a bit sleeker with nice metal trim and metal on the pedals, but the 9-2X Aero Sport is the top of it's line vs our 9-3 Base Turbo which is the bottom of its line... Certainly, we can no where near haul as much stuff in the 9-2X as the 9-3, but there is a lot of room in the 9-2X when you fold down the rear seats.. Like the 83 900, it's flat from behind the driver's seat all the way back to the rear bumper. I did a big run to Home Depot the other day and bought a new 32 gallon garbage can and a huge tub for doing the iced drinks thing for a picnic. Everything fit in the car easily without even putting the seats down.
All in all, we give it a big thumbs up for the first 1K.... Now we just have another 199 to go.
posted by 64.139.3...
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