Saab 9-3 TTiD owner’s story

The 2008 Saab 9-3 TTiD deliveries began a little while ago and we showed our first known TS-related TTiD delivery back on February 1.

Today we have another TTiD story, this time from Miaik in Germany. I’m telling you, this is a grrrreat engine.


First of all, I’m rather new to Saab, but I must say it was love at first sight.

Long story short, my wife and I went to see an apartment and just across the street there was a Saab dealer. At the time we were also looking for a car, and after seeing (and being disappointed by) the new Mondeo and a Honda Accord, and being incredibly annoyed by the people from Audi, I thought it would be a good idea to just take a look at some nice cars. So we entered the place.

I was instantly conquered by the SportCombi 9-3 (a 2007 model was on display). I know it’s not the traditional Saab design (been observing the cars for quite some time now), but I find it very appealing. The icing on the cake was the dealer himself, who was so refreshingly different from the rather obnoxious Audi lady. This took place in Germany, so I really appreciated the availability and openness to talk to us even though my German is really lousy, and this isn’t exactly frowned upon, but Germans prefer to do business in German not in English.

I signed for a 2008 9-3 with the brand new TTiD engine. It took a little longer to have it delivered (about 4 months actually). But in the mean time I drove a convertible 9-3, with a petrol engine, so I can’t complain about that.

Saab TTiD

Finally the car came and when I first saw it I was almost left breathless. The front is awesome and the back is one of the sexiest out there. I was a little fretful about the diesel engine (had some not so pleasant experiences with diesel X3 BMW). But from the first moment the pleasure of driving was better than with any other car.

The engine’s very powerful, everybody knows that much. Thanks to its incredible torque it is also very elastic. On the highway the sixth gear can be used anywhere between 90 Km/h and 230 Km/h. The advantage is obvious, I made a 500 Km trip with just an idea more than a half tank (the car computer calculated a 6,6 l/100 Km). Ok, the speed was not 200 but still somewhere between 160 and 180. I estimate an average autonomy of around 900 km. Which is exactly the same as a Renault Clio (with a 70 HP diesel engine), only that the Saab is twice as heavy and more than twice as powerful.

I did not notice the infamous “turbo lag” though I must admit I may not be the most appropriate person to judge that. The engine responds almost instantly (as fast as any other car I drove before) and with a lot of force. Maybe in the city the lag is noticeable (yet barely perceptible), but then again, I only had the chance to try it twice or three times. Usually you just don’t have enough space to rev it.

Yes, we all read a number of reviews saying the Saab’s steering is not as precise as a BMW’s but I think this is just rubbish. Yes, it does not feel as nervous as a BMW, yet it’s precise and very easy to handle. It feels like the whole car it’s somehow buffered so that your driving experience is more refined.

I perceived the X3 as a beast I needed to tame, while the Saab cooperates with me like a natural extension of my body. All the maneuvers get a great fluidity, like the car knows what you’re about to do just half a second before you. I prefer this to the surgical precision of some other “fancy” cars. After all I’m not a surgeon and even if I was, surgery belongs in the OR.

Of course, if you really want it, you can drive it aggressively and it will feel aggressive (understandable with 400 Nm @ 1700 rpm).

Usually I experience back pains in the car, right after the first hour. Is not the case of 9-3. Both front seats are very comfortable, giving no discomfort after 6 hrs.

We got our Aero with the nav system and it also came with the Bose Surround Audio system which delivers a great sound.

There are still many things I have to discover about this car so I’ll stop here.

The conclusion is that every time I see a BMW or Audi (together are 80% of the cars in Munich) I’m even happier I bought a Saab. I feel good in my car, I feel good when I see one on the street and that matters.

Of course now we want a convertible as well!

Saab TTiD

25 thoughts on “Saab 9-3 TTiD owner’s story

  1. I like this review – written from an honest perspective from someone with no hithero unknown Saab experience. The candor, the succint recital of the main points and what attracted his attention and the way the short review or let me call it an owner’s remarks is spot on. I hope you have many happy motoring kilometers with it and that every time you feel that grunt of 400Nm, you will be reminded of one of the engineer’s sketch which became famous of what the overall aim was when the 9-3 sport sedan was penned – driving exhiliration.

  2. great story.

    the ’08, 9-3 in black is wonderful. (i just picked up mine–black on black–11 hours ago. when i get some pics, i’ll submit a story, too.)

    anyway, congrats on your new saab. the new 9-3 is a fantastic model.

  3. 9x, I saw that in comments a few days ago but didn’t get time to leave a congratulatory note. Can’t wait to see the pics, and I’m pleased that you sound pleased :-)

  4. Nice car and story.
    I can only confirm everything you write. My Black 2008 9/3 SC Vector Active has the 1,9 TiD engine instead and I am very pleased with this engine so the extra T must be something special.
    I had a 3 hour/260 km drive last night with average speed 120-130 km/h and a consumption of approx 6,0 L/100 km and no back pain when I arrived.
    Good luck with the new car!

  5. You will not experience any turbo lag – that is the major advantage of the twin turbo system. The smaller turbo revs up almost instantaneously and masks the delay in the bigger turbo getting up to operating speed. It works incredibly well, and really does make the 1,9 feel like a much bigger engine (albeit without the heavy fuel consumption!). I’m hoping to get a TTiD in my next car…

  6. I love your SAAB story. I think you nail so many things on the head and love that you really appreciate the true drving experience.

  7. Good luck with your new car. It looks great. I even like the white Saab 900 in the backround. It is very refreshing to read positive comments for Saab.

  8. What a great story!! I wish that we could get the diesel here in the US. Great stuff.

    I wholeheartedly agree about the Saab v. BMW steering. My C900 and my 9-5 are very sure-footed. BMW my be as good, but certainly no better.

  9. Yet another note to GM/Saab. Drove a 09 VW 50 state 2l TDI at the biodiesel expo. They expect these to start at ~$US25K and sell 30K/year.

    Certainly a TTiD starting at $30-3K would be a viable alternative. These engines dont meet US emissions specs simply because no one is trying, Bob.

  10. Interesting story specially the description of the customers handling by the Saab-dealer. His name was it “Autohaus am Goetheplatz” Karl Bauer und Söhne GmbH ?

  11. @saabaudi

    Indeed, it was the dealership you mentioned. Every inch a gentleman, proud to be in business with them.

  12. Congrats Miaik! Looks very good on Black! It sounds like the German Audi dealer is no better than Finnish version. They treat you like a moran and act like they (and they only) know something about cars.
    I fully agree about the 9-3´s handling with sports suspension. But what do you think about the (power) steering of TTiD? I got the feeling that it was better on 1.8t petrol version, though I don´t know if they are different. But that´s my impression. Like there´s not so much feel on a TTiD steering.

    Here´s one pic our of snow silver on a snowy day:

  13. I didn’t really like the SportCombis at first, but they’re certainly starting to grow on me, especially the 2008s. Now, if only I could actually see one out on the road…

    Does anyone know if the new twin turbo unit will fit in a gas-powered Saab in place of the regular turbo?

  14. I’ve had my fusion blue 9-3 TTiD for a couple of days now. This is my 5th SAAB but the biggest step forward sofar. My daughter initially said “no, not another SAAAAB”. It’s a different tune now, she is very impressed.

  15. Jealous. I would love a TTiD though a sedan.

    The new 9-3 looks amazing in black. Congrats on the new car.

  16. MarkoA, what a stunning shot of your 9-3! Beautiful!
    So Audi dealers in Germany and Finland are just as obnoxious as they are here in Canada. I got the “are you sure you are in the market for a car in this class” comment thrown at me when I looked at an A4 a few years back. Seriously! I looked at her and said rather indignantly “um, not anymore lady as I think with a joint spousal income of over $100000 a year I can do better than buy an overpriced Volkswagen.” Turned around walked out having made sure everyone heard what I had said.

    Back on track, Miaik. Nice car! :)

  17. Congratiulations! Nice Package.
    I had the opportunity to testdrive the 9-3 SC TTid as a Scandic version.
    Although I have difficulty accepting a diesel engine in a SAAB, the Engine is quite impressive. On the daily 30 km Trip from Hilders to Fulda (yes that is the hometown of Fulda tires!) the car returned a stunning 4,4* L/100km, whereas my wifes 2007 Golf plus Tdi returned 4,7* L/100km. On the Autobahn at 160 km/h in sixth gear at 3000 rpm the computer indicated 5,5* L/100km.
    Although this is only one aspect of a car (not even the most important for me), it is what putting a diesel engine in a car is all about. Can’t wait to see what this engine can do in a hybrid version!

    * note fuel consumption figures read from the in car computer display.

  18. @Miaik
    Thanks. I`m pleased to have had the right feeling.
    Twice in the last years we had a trip to Munich. As friends of the brand since more than thirty years we visited this dealer only for interest to have a look into the showroom and the place of maintenance. We had small talks with the personel about our experiences with Saab which were not always to our contentment. The dealers people were very kind, competent and well informed.
    I guess you will find that Munich is one of German cities where the domestic premium brand cars are the stars. But also Saab is very well represented.
    I hope you will have a lot of fun with your car. Since two years we are owner of a 195 hp 9-3 SC 1.8t automatic with Hirsch performance step 1. Until now in summary the best Saab we have ever driven.

  19. I got my Polar White Saab 93 ttid Vector 3 weeks ago. When I parked it in front of my house I got quite some compliments!

    I had Beamers, Audi’s and other quick stuff.

    This Saab does it for me. It’s my dreamcar from every perspective. The Saab sports chairs, the incredible engine, the silence in the car while driving a bit faster (let’s say 180 km/hour) and still not above the 3300 rounds a minute.

    I whish every Saab-driver the same blasting experience I will have for the next 3 years in my (company)-car.

    Arnest Dijkstra

  20. Swade – please forgive my ignorance/memory loss but……. are we getting the TTiD in Australia? If so, when?

  21. Great story!
    My wife migrated from BMW to Saab 9-3 TiD SportCombi (black) a bit less than 3 years ago, because, as she said, most Saab drivers are smart people. Now, 60,000km later, I don´t think that she´ll ever buy anything else than a Saab anymore. The car is just perfect, the best one she ever had.

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