Nearly 10 years ago, SAAB’s chief chassis engineer of the time; Ekkehard Schwartz was asked to describe the new 9-3, his answer; a simple scribble of a SAAB driver with a huge grin experiencing the pure joy of driving.
It is as powerful an image today as it was then, and one that all SAAB owners will have experienced.
10 years is a huge amount of time in car technology terms, but the 9-3 seems to have transcended this. The long test I have vowed to do is of a 2011 TTiD Turbo Edition, and from early driving experience, this is an absolute gem of an engine. In the UK, increasing concern for the environment (and finance) has meant that the clever people at SAAB have created a car that should be held in high esteem. Low CO2 of 119 for all TTiD sport saloon models, and an mpg figure of around 65 combined (I’ll be listing this separately), mixed with 130 / 160 / 180 hp versions, gives you a hugely enticing package.
Evolution has been kind to the car in design terms too; clever nips and tucks have created an exterior that is seriously sharp, refined lighting design front and rear, powerful and extremely recognisable front grille and some of the most beautiful wheels created by any manufacturer.
Ekkehard Schwartz set about designing a car from the ground up with the intention of giving the driver a more involved experience. I can honestly say, he should be proud of his SAAB legacy, which, with the extra combination of Hirsch sport suspension, 18′” alloys and Michelin rubber, has ensured ride and handling are far superior to the other cars I’d test driven recently.
There are, of course plenty of great cars at the SAAB 9-3’s price level, but ask yourself, do you really want to be like everyone else on the road?
A week off work and lots of driving to be done; perfect.