I got an email in overnight from a young guy named Ross. He lives in Michigan and is currently 15 but will be turning 16 and hitting the road in the latter half of this year. He writes:
I will be turning 16 in August and I really, REALLY want a Saab. I love the 2008 9-3, but cannot afford one, obviously. Which Saab should I get? I should rephrase, which is the best Saab for the money now. Which would give me the best performance and give me the most joy. Between the 900, 9000, OG9-3, 9-2x, 9-5, which would you recommend?
Your advice will be GREATLY appreciated.
Firstly, I think it’s commendable that this young guy can see through all the Gone in 60 Seconds stuff and knows what a Saab is. It’s a good start. Ross also mentions that he’s looked at a few older BMW’s as well.
I recall that in my teenage years my ability to drive a car was vastly outstripped by my opinion about my ability to drive a car. I wrote my first one off after just 6 months but the ironic thing was that it wasn’t hooning that caused my downfall, it was some very thick rain. The point being that you’ve got so many new situations to get used to when you first hit the road that a potent engine can be little more than a catalyst for disaster in the hands of a young driver.
That said, Ross has asked about bang for the buck, so here goes. He’s currently got a budget of around $8,000 for the purchase, but that could grow by later this year. In my thoughts below I’m not counting any insurance restrictions that might exist for 16 year olds and turbos in the US as I’m not familiar with the rules there (forget about a turbo here in Oz at that age unless you want to pay a gargantuan hefty premium on your insurance).
Assuming a budget of around $8K and that insurance is OK, I’d suggest either a Saab 9000 Aero or one of the OG 9-3′s that were sold in the US with the HOT engine. With those you have some money left over for advanced driving school, you get a pretty decent safety record, some of the best seats in the business, a great base for tuning the car later on if you’re a gear head but with great performance right out of the box.
Your esteemed suggestions, people?