Aero Convertible Reviews

It was nice to approach Sydney airport last Saturday and see one of these billboards facing all coming traffic…..


Personally, I was a little lukewarm towards the special anniversary electric blue colour, but it certainly seems to have found a few fans, enough to sell out of the anniversary model in the US quite quickly and they seem to be moving pretty well here in Oz too. With summer on the way here, I’m sure demand will be even stronger in the next few months.

Having spent some time in one a few weeks ago, I’m now much more partial to the colour scheme, which seems even better from the cockpit. The white leather’s absolutely magnificent and the blue upper door trims, which protrude into the cockpit are a very nice compliment.

The Saab 9-3 truly is the Icon-vertible.


Car and Driver seem to agree, recently publishing a short review of the car:

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

…..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…..

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


There’s also been a recent review at the Paramus Post (New Jersey). Our writer, Mark Maynard, like the V6 Aero quite a bit:

Buckling up and hitting the top-down switch in the 9-3 is like pulling off a pair of tight, hot shoes after a long day and feeling the freedom and relief. That’s how I’d like to start every day.

But he also manages a few paragraphs of criticism, centered around one of those Trollhattan Saab bugbears:

And as Saab is integrating technology, it’s time to rethink the ignition in the center console idea. At one time that odd placement for the key was, in part, a safety feature. The low placement kept the key out of the way of a knee in the event of a crash. Now, however, that placement occupies prime territory for a better cup holder…..

….Then for safety’s sake, get rid of the complex, pop-out cup holder that’s up high in the center of the instrument panel. It may be handy for a passenger, but in the event of a crash or evasive maneuver, that cup becomes a messy missile.

For the record, in Sydney last week I saw a guy in a 9-3 Sport Sedan with a very decent size cup in his central cup holder. He looked very happy, uninjured and blissfully unaware of me leering into his cabin to assess the condition of the beverage-conveying appliance.

I have to remember that my 7-minute commute renders me unqualified to comment on cupholder complaints (but they still seem needless to me).

It’s not all about caffiene, however. What convertible is?

The Saab’s near-$50,000 price will raise eyebrows, but it is more reasonable than some of the comparably equipped competitors. And it is an enjoyable convertible to drive, mostly.

Airflow is excellent with the top down, even on the interstate. No flimsy back-seat air deflector is needed. The top powers back quickly, in about 20 seconds, and lowers the windows, all four. Back seat space is limited. None of the riders I chauffeured raised a complaint, but they were 12 years old.

The top headliner is finely finished and insulated with no trace of a rag top. Sightlines aren’t bad when the top is up and there’s decent luggage space when the top is down.

A worthwhile read for those interested in the Iconvertible.

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  1. “The low placement kept the key out of the way of a knee in the event of a crash. Now, however, that placement occupies prime territory for a better cup holder…”

    no offence to our learned yankie breatheren, but f**kin’ hell, americans!

    the fact that the only cup holder in my car is my girlfriend is occasionally annoying, but i’d rather not have a place for my drink than Saab lose probably its last remaining “iconic element”.

    of course, last time i was in a 9-3 ‘vert, i counted two very nice cupholders. not counting my girlfriend.


  2. Yeah… I seen cars without the ignition key in the center console, and they still hadn’t any cupholders there.


    “…but in the event of a crash or evasive maneuver, that cup becomes a messy missile.”

    I may not have a doctorate in physics, but why should a paper cup of coffe be a missile when it’s placed in the cupholder on the dash and not when it’s placed in the center console? I rather have that mess in case of an accident, then having my elbow tipping over the cup in the center console every now and then…

  3. My last saab had two cup holders – 34D was the build code I think.

    They were crash safe in that they only popped out if you pressed the external actuation device…

    They were especially trimmed in white lace. Rather clashed with the blue leather trim I am afraid old boy…

  4. Here Here Ben W.
    They realy haven,t got a clue.
    On that matter did any of you Ozzies catch a glimpse of shock docs last night with the overtly mega obese people on it.I am still traumatised,they dont need a cup holder they need a trailer to tow they’re arses in.
    I must admit that the 93 SS cup holder in the front is a tad flimsy and i’m sure its ballet entrance from the dash is for show,perhaps they should fit it to a BM

  5. We I hope the reviews are good cause I just bought one (for a friend – booooo!)

    Pleased to note: The Anniversary Edition here in the land of the big horny Roo is only available in Linear (again, boooooo!)

    Lance, I’ve been looking for that model for a while now….. bastard!

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