Is 4 better than 1?

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A couple of years ago, I embarked on a Saab tuning journey with my 9-3 Aero convertible. On its first appointment with the Saab gurus at Malcolm Miles I took the leap and had them install a Stage 1 ECU upgrade by NoobTune. For an exceptionally reasonable cost, it has to be one of the most noticeable and worthwhile things you can do to an already rapid Saab, I enjoyed the benefits for a few months before getting the urge to do a little more.

Fast forward 2 years, a complete engine rebuild with a 2.3 bottom end, new suspension and brake set up and a good few thousand pounds later, it went in yet again for its final tuning (for now).

This time it had a large Do88 intercooler, MapTun pipes, BSW Induction kit, 3” handcrafted ‘Albert’ downpipe, big bar full pump and its 4th remap by NoobTune. I’m reliably informed it’s now running at around Stage 4 / 5, but is it really that much better than the initial Stage 1 upgrade?

Hell yes, the moment I got a clear B road and pressed my foot down a little further, I knew it had all been worthwhile, this is a seriously quick car with all of the rawness and grin inducing torque I wanted it to have and more. The induction kit and downpipe have managed to add the missing audio and now has a satisfying grunt to compliment the surge of never-ending power.

The turbo dial spools into the red with absolutely no lag and the speedo seems to match the rev counter, spinning up at ridiculous speed until you quickly realise this Saab could get you into serious trouble, fast. I now appreciate all of the effort that went into changing the brakes to 308mm’s from a 9-5 Aero, you need them. All of the suspension upgrades also mean it handles as it always should have done, it sits lower to the road and holds turns beautifully, you still have to concentrate to keep control of the front end as you accelerate but that really is part of the Saab experience “if you can’t handle it, don’t drive it” my Dad always used to say.

So, is Stage 4+ better than 1, speaking personally, I’d do it on every Saab I ever own, yes, it’s worth it.

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11 thoughts on “Is 4 better than 1?

  1. Alan does downpipes for your 9-5 too Paul…I see the cogs turning, “how can I get another downpipe past ‘Gertrude’ without her knowing?”
    It’s easy! Drop the car off for a service with Jay, Drew an the boys at MM. Presto! It comes back feeling much better…”obviously the cat was in a worse condition than we thought Gert!” job jobbed, so to speak, no stress, no bother at home and a 9-5 ready for more power 😉
    Kent

    • A mighty fine plan, it just becomes a little too obvious after many unmentioned £’s have already vanished and refurbished wheels just appeared, although I might or might not have mentioned something to Al already 😉

  2. We need a video!!! Love the work and attention you have lavished into this car. I’m on the look out and have spotted a nice grey one the same as you have but just need to put the wheels in motion so to speak…

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