Tuesday Snippets

Turbin picked up an article currently featuring at Automotive World. Unfortunately it’s subscription only so we can’t get access to the full banana, but the teaser paragraph is enticing for you diesel owners:

General Motors will soon follow the likes of Audi, BMW, Ford, Hyundai and PSA Peugeot Citroen by adopting CGI for a new high performance diesel engine. John Mortimer reports.

General Motors’ decision to equip European Cadillac, Opel, Saab and Vauxhall cars with new V6 diesel engines marks an attempt by the North American OEM to play ‘catch up’ in Europe with rivals Audi, Ford, PSA Peugeot Citroen and, to a lesser extent, Hyundai, which are well established users of 60 degree V6 diesel engines with compact graphite iron cylinder (CGI) blocks.

Another teaser that Turbin sent me via email mentioned that the engine would be sourced from VM Motori and Turbin wonders if it could be a variant of this engine, a V6 that produces 184kW and 500Nm of torque.

It’ll be a butt-kicker if it is. I’m sure Saab’s turbocharging specialists could do something special with that engine, perhaps in a new 9-5 in a few years time….

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Saab GB are contributing to a vehicle safety check program for owners of cars no longer under their factory warranty. The program is for cars three years old and older, and involves a visual inspection of brakes, electricals, clutch and transmission, steering as well as other bits and pieces. Findings will be written up with a fixed cost estimate for anything that might need work.

The cost is £32 and this includes 12 months AA roadside assistance (very handy for alcoholics stuck on the side of the road).

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Ben Oliver from Car Magazine makes a point I have to try and be mindful of all the time. I spend so much time writing about Saab the company that it’s easy to forget why this blog exists – for the enjoyment of driving the cars.

I’ve just had two days of mental recalibration on this point. I was driving the new Alfa Spider in rural Morocco. In the UK, once the initial novelty has worn off, the Spider will be just another customer for all the cameras, lost in a sea of me-too posh cars. We have one car for every three people. But in Morocco, it’s one to 33 and most of them are knackered Peugeots. To the eight year-old Moroccan goat-herds who leapt up and down and waved as we passed, a red Alfa Spider is the most desirable, exciting object they may see all year, bursting with the promise of speed and adventure and sex, if they knew what the latter meant.

It’s all about the sensation of driving.

Ben’s column is about the fact that he’s forced to write more and more about the issues surrounding cars and less and less about the joy of driving them.

I’d feel quite comfortable extending this to having a look at the way more and more modern cars are built towards a lack of intrusiveness rather than providing a raw and connected experience between man and machine.

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Finally, Michael over at True Delta has another look at why Consumer Reports isn’t all its army of consumer/readers cracks it up to be. He runs a critical eye over their lack of disclosure when it comes to weighing values applied to models reported on.

Each consumer’s priorities are different.

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5 Comments

  1. I’d like to know when I can buy a diesel-powered Saab in the states. My 90+ mile commute every day would make me appreciate a bit of economic relief at the gas station.

    Michael from “True Delta” is absolutely right…why all the secrecy? If nothing else, it opens them up to the possibility that they’re really not as unbiased and objective as they claim to be. The parallel to Ben Oliver’s point here is striking–I’m not too sure if CR would know what to do with a family sedan that was not a Camry of Accord, say something unique, fun, and thoughtfully designed. Oh, wait, yes I do–they’d say that some of the features are “unusual” and “quirky” like the ignition key between the seats.

  2. Kraig:

    You need to write your congressman and/or state legislator if you live in California, New York, Massachusetts, Maine or Vermont.

    The tight air emissions requirements for cars sold in those states basically outlaws diesel cars, therefore most importers are gun shy about importing those cars, since the people that live in those states are the ones that are the best market for diesels!! Certainly, those states comprise a very, very large portion of Saab sales, for sure.

    Environmentalists get in their own way all the time. They simply will not listen to engineers, they just want to ram-rod numbers down our throats.

    Numbers are meaningless unless context is taken into account.

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