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Date: Fri, 17 Mar 2006 10:38:43 -0500
From: Fred W <Malt_Houndnospamm-me-not*>
Subject: New(er) SAAB for an old SAABer

OK, as some of you "regulars" know, I have been a long time enthusiast of both SAAB and BMW cars. I've owned 6 different SAABs and 4 different BMWs over the years. Most recently I had been leaning toward the "blau mit weis" primarily for handling performance reasons. I still prefer the feel of RWD in a performance car and do not find it a major detriment when the going gets sloppy. But after reading (in this news group, among other places) about how much improved the chassis and handling on the 9-3 Sport Sedans I finally went out and test drove a few of them this past week. Actually, I started out by looking at a new 9-2x with a 5 speed. They are being attractively priced and dealers are taking $3000 off the top before negotiations. I was underwhelmed. I thought it was seriously underpowered (at least in the normally aspirated versions) and the engine was far buzzier than what I expected, considering the boxer 4 design. For about the same price, I started looking at some off-lease, low mileage 2003 9-3 Linear Sport Sedans. I was suitably impressed. The engineers have done a darned good job eliminating most (if not all) of the complaints that I had with the prior 9-3 chassis. There is none of the prior torque steering, sloppy shifting in the manual, or the delayed throttle release that drove me crazy with my prior 2000 9-3 convertible. It also has much better road manners at highway speeds and in aggressive cornering. I was intrigued. Then I drove an '03 Vector. Wow. ...I pick it up tomorrow. -- -Fred W

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