Aussie Aero Assault (pt 2)

As mentioned yesterday, the earlier write up of the 9-3 V6 Aero was little more than a rehashed press release.  Today, Carpoint have published an actual road test of the vehicle.  It seems the car has garnered some real interest from the motoring press here in Oz as the V6 engine is assembled in my old home town, in Melbourne.

Alex, I’ll gladly give some space to your perspective on the drive you took yesterday, too.

Firstly, Carpoint want to get their readers familiar with Saab’s current position.  It’s fair to say that a lot of Aussies would be somewhat unenlightened about the brand (except us Taswegians, who are enlightened in all things).

Let’s establish a baseline of knowledge, you and I. We know Saab is wholly owned by General Motors, and administrated by Holden in Australia. We know GM and Holden are committed to making Saab work in the long term, despite groundless ‘shut-down’ rumours in the tabloid press. We know there’s a raft of new models around the corner for the prestige Swedish brand, including a GM-sourced large four-wheel drive and a sweetly-styled Sport Combi wagon based on the 9-3.

I’m putting that one in the news to check out – the 9-7x coming down under??  Surely not.  I can’t see them doing a RHD version of it unless it’s a possibility for the UK.  It’s nice to see that GM and Holden are committed to making Saab work though, despite the fact that one of Holden’s recently retired senior execs recently spit out a comment to the effect of "Saab? That company with more models than customers…."

But I digress…..

The review continues with the following categories and highlights.  The full article is located at the link above and it’s a worthwhile read, especially for the Aussie Saabisti.


What’s not to like? Refined, well built and with a touch of class; about the only complaint is that the interior’s a bit, well, black.

That’s sort of, intentional.


Active safety features go beyond the inherently docile front-drive chassis…..Basically everything currently possible with Bosch’s latest generation 8.0 system to help you maintain control in adverse conditions.

And yes, they also mention the award-winning SAHR head restraints.


This version’s a well travelled engine even before new owners turn the key. The block was cast in Mexico before coming to Port Melbourne for assembly, then off to Sweden for installation into the 9-3 Aero before boarding the boat back to Australia for sale in Saab showrooms across the country. Phew!

For the record the 2.8-litre V6 produces 184kW of power and a robust 350Nm of torque, up a substantial 29kW and 50Nm. What this means is the 9-3 Aero is more ready than ever to respond to your needs, but more about that in the ‘On The Road’ section.

Not sure why, but they slotted in a word about the competition between the ‘Mechanical’ and ‘On The Road’ sections.  So, a bit about the competition….

The Aero model plays in the rarefied air with higher-performance compact prestige cars like the six-cylinder BMW 330i and turbocharged Audi A4 2.0T, but with an estimated price of $73,000 it presents a stronger value for money argument.

All you NA folk that pay substantially less than A$73,000 for an Aero can now consider your good fortune.  That number goes a fair way to illustrating how committed you’ve got to be in order to be a Saab Nut here in Oz.

Now, down to the nitty gritty….

On The Road

Right. Forget all those purchase justifications like ‘value for money’ or ‘Swedish individuality’ or ‘I didn’t want a BMW’. If the new Saab 9-3 Aero isn’t a bloody good drive then installing this new engine has been a complete waste of time for all concerned. Lucky, then, that it’s a ripper engine….

….Elasticity is the term we’ll use to describe the forceful surge this turbocharged V6 unleashes with every push of the throttle pedal. It’s a gathering storm which hurls the Aero down the road, full of zeal and very appealing…..

….Some of the credit must go to the Aero’s new six-speed automatic which renders the manual irrelevant…. 

And finally,

…..the Saab 9-3 Aero gets our vote. It benefits hugely from a wonderfully strong new engine, and presents itself as a refined and capable sports sedan – a viable alternative to German dominance in the prestige sedan market.

As mentioned earlier, it’s a good write up from the Aussie perspective and well worth your read:  Carpoint Review of the 9-3 Sport Sedan Aero V6

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  1. $73,000 !!!?

    If my currency converter is right, that’s about $55,000 U.S. Wow – is it all sales tax or tariffs?

    I was saw an Aero SportCombi with most options except Auto Transmission last weekend. The sticker price was $35,000. In New Jersey you would have to pay another 6% in sales tax. A few states – New Hampshire for instance – don’t have any sales tax.

  2. I’ve never looked into it closely, but I’m pretty sure there’s a luxury car tax or something that’s included in the price (or maybe that was dropped when they brought in the GST??). There’s also the additional freight etc that has to be built in to the price as well. All Euro cars are comparatively expensive here because of that and all except perhaps Porsche lose a lot of value as soon as you drive them off the yard.

  3. The luxury car tax applies to cars above A$57,000 and is 25%. This is in addition to the %10 g.s.t. It adds a fair wallop to how much you pay. Freight to Oz is high of course and the market is smaller and different to the US and European cars tend to be higher priced. Growing up in the UK i still find it odd to find marques such as Peugeot,Citroen,VW and the unmissed and truly awful Rover/MG to be classed as Premium here.

  4. Just checked the swedish price on a 9-3ss aero and with the pilotpackage it would be 341.000 swedish crowns, about US$42.625

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