Saab Vs BMW coming soon….

This isn’t a drive that’s already happened, but I thought I’d give you a heads-up on it.

I’ve just been visiting with our old Saab dealer here in Tassie. He’s now the sales manager at the local BMW Autohaus. Next week they’re having a test-drive campaign and I’ve booked myself in for an hour with the 335i Convertible.

Yep, that’s the new twin-turbo doggie. A$120,000 worth at base spec, but if the cars they had in the showroom are anything to go by, people regularly buy these things as base models. They hit the options list and hit it fairly hard.

Anyway, this will be a convertible, but the interesting part for me from a Saab point of view is that the numbers on this car are quite similar to what we may expect from the much-talked-about Black Turbo model that’s coming for the 9-3.

Specifically, the BMW puts out 306hp and 400Nm of torque through its rear wheels. Rumours for the Black Turbo have put it between 290 and 320hp, so it’s a reasonable comparison on paper.

You don’t drive cars on paper though, and I’ll be interested to get a little more Bimmer experience, paying particular attention to the boost (of course) and the interior. From the little I saw today, the layout’s not that appealing but they sure use some great materials in there for the most part.

I’m not sure if a Black Turbo is going to be ready for Saab Festival or not. I have a feeling, though, that it might be later in the year or early 08.

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Speaking with Tony, he was pretty happy with how things have turned out. The Autohaus building is modern, they have a full range of cars to keep people happy and a good team that love what they do.

I guess Saab need to start with the range….

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11 Comments

  1. Saab doesn’t need a range as much as it needs just one truly competitive vehicle at the premium level. All I hear about at this forum is how Saab has been starved for funding and that is the excuse for the shortcomings of the current 9-3 and its lack of quality interior materials. With that in mind, I think it would be most reasonable to focus on just one respectable vehicle. Why put out a whole range a cars that are embarrassing?

  2. Because you need that range to get customers in the door. Yes, quality needs to improve but the range also needs to expand.

    You should have seen Tony today. Grinning from ear to ear with his current situation. He knows that whoever walks in the door – he’s got something that’ll most likely suit their needs. And they don’t balk at the prices either, because BMW have now built in so much brand equity.

    Saab don’t need the same sized range as that, but they do need a bigger range than what’s on offer now. Quality is a given. It has to improve regardless.

  3. Jesus, I’d sure as hell balk at those prices. 90K for a convertible? I could buy a Z06 Corvette for that and have about 15K left over for upgrades. Actually, if I had that kind of money, I WOULD buy a new Vette, but I’d use the leftover cash for bringing my Saab back to showroom quality, but that’s another story.

    This is why I don’t get Bimmer buyers. You can get the same car in a Saab 9-3 vert for, what, 50K less? Ok, add in the hot engine when there’s a Black Turbo vert. 35K less. I mean, Christ, with that kind of money, why go for the 3 series at all? Bah.

    Anyways, I’m glad Swade is getting out and actually testing these things himself, because, to me, BMW is Saab’s biggest competition, simply because Saab is seen as a weirdo’s cheapo BMW, and that needs to change. If Swade drives one, it gives the argument that Saab > BMW a lot more clout.

  4. I’ve driven a 335i coupe.

    It’s quick, very quick! The twin turbo setup eliminates any lag. The car also handles superbly, sticks the road and provides oodles of feedback.

    Definitely much more fun to drive than the 9-3.

    But, I hated the ride. I found it almost bone shattering at times and the ergonomics of the dash are horrible. The material quality is better than the 9-3 though. The seats aren’t as nice as the 9-3 eaither. Over a long distance I’d still pick the 9-3 as it is just so much more comfortable, and the handling difference isn’t massive in real world driving terms. On a track there would be a massive difference yes, but on real roads? Not much. One would have to be travelling at insance speeds to see a major difference.

    The clincher for me is something that happened on a journey to work on Monday.

    There I was happily travelling along in the fast lane of the motorway here (70mph), when out of nowhere a large object was blocking the road (blocked from view by vehicles ahead), I had to swerve at a sharp angle, AT 70MPH!!, heart stopping moment indeed. I actually thought the car was going to flip over, but no, the safety gizmos kicked in and looked after me. The 3 series would have kicked its rear drive tail out and probably have spun me across all three lanes into a truck.

    I love my Saab 🙂 And it loves me 🙂 🙂 🙂

  5. I envy the handling of a BMW.. a lot. They have that lower to the ground, stuck to the road kind of feel that is really unmatched. I bet you’ll find the 335i quite a car. I do however find the interior styling unappealing, and I think that Saab’s verts have always trumped everyone else in looks. Give me a Saab that handles like a BMW and I’ll be in love.

  6. sethsev7n: it’s not just the interior styling, I think the exterior styling is awful too. The BMW 3 series coupe and the new Audi A5 coupe are both sooooo boring to look at. And the 3 Series coupe convertible is also woeful, the size of the boot makes it look ungainly and dare I say it…..ugly? Please Saab, NEVER go with the hard top roof if it will make the car look woeful!

  7. I had the chance to drive the new BMW conv. and I have to admit it gives you the best ride you can get on a dry road… the interior styling is spartanic, though with better defined materials… every time i turn the wheel and try to blink I am afraid the stick might be broken??? on the other hand, the saab is at least still built around the driver! the seating is so much more comf. oriented… given the better price tag and the way better look, it’s no question where my clients will spent there money on….. on the bimmer 🙁 for I live in Germany and no matter what, they will take this or an audi a4 vert. – I sometimes simply have no arguments – as if safety and comfort do not count?? ridiculous! we had a chrash test lately only concerning the seats and Volvo and Saab were just the best! You won’t survive some chrashs in a bimmer – where Saab stands tall!

  8. Saaboy: I know, I converted Swade’s AU$120K into US$90K. That’s what it converts to (actually, 89K, but whatever). A brand new Z06 costs US$75 (with the higher trim level and the two-grand-a-set chromed wheels). I mean, hell, for US$90K, you can buy a Porsche 911 if you don’t like the Vette (blasphemy!) and have enough left over for a motorcycle :p

    …Of course, none of that matters, since in reality, the 335i vert only costs about US$60K fully optioned here in America (I just checked because 90,000 sounded really high for a 3-series). Of course, that means you Aussies are paying a gigantic premium for your Bimmers.

  9. Why are things so much more expensive in Australia, it can’t be the shipping? I mean a $50,000 premium for shipping a few thousand miles further? Also, why do you guys get TV shows months after they come out in the U.S? Hey, that’s what Bittorrent’s for:)

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