C&D and the 47-Letter Convertible*

Car and Driver are improving their coverage of Saab with every review they do.

Their last Saab review of the 9-3 SportCombi was very engouraging and this quick writeup of the 9-3 Convertible is just as good.

I’ve had a quick look at their website but I don’t think it’s been posted there yet. This transcript has been emailed to me from Saab.

Saab 9-3 Aero Convertible: Better in Every Way – Car and Driver
By Barry Winfield, November 2006

The 9-3 Aero is a huge improvement over previous Saab ragtops in every way imaginable.

Power from the 2.8-liter Australian-sourced V-6 is smooth, sophisticated and abundant, thrusting the 9-3 Aero to 60 mph in just 6.4 seconds, making it a bunch faster than the last Saab convertible we tested, back in December 1998. That car, with a turbo four-banger, needed 7.8 seconds to reach 60.

The torque steer and fairly vicious wheel fight that plagued older Aeros have been largely dispelled, replaced by a helm that is pleasingly devoid of driveline vibrations and course deviations in all but full throttle, when slight corrections are still necessary.

But since the turbocharged V-6 engine is so flexible and responsive in use, excursions to the power peak are seldom likely to occur, and the steering is mostly calm and accurate.

With a body structure that is claimed to be three times stiffer than the 9-3’s predecessor, improvements in perceived solidity are significant, with no discernible windshield or cowl shake and only the slightest steering-column quiver over bad surface breaks.

Much of this is due to a supplementary reinforcement that links the front, rear and side structures for better support and crash protection. Rear hoops pop up automatically in the event of a rollover accident.

The softtop is a one-touch, fully automatic mechanism that takes about 20 seconds to deploy, and it seems a thoroughly developed system in use.

All in all, the 9-3 Aero strikes an intelligent balance between luxury and high performance.

Yeah, I know it’s the diesel, but it still looks nice!


* 2006 Saab 9-3 Convertible 20th Anniversary Limited Edition – Hmmm. Seems like 50 letters now, and I haven’t included “Aero” or “2.8l V6”.

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  1. It’s the same car as they didn’t like in the desert comparison back in 2005 — except that it’s less structurally rigid and has far less cargo capacity. (that is, they reviewed a 9-3 Aero V6 sedan in late 2005).

    Car & Driver’s motto: Consistency is the hobgoblin of foolish minds.

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