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.
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!