CAR Magazine think the 9-3 isn’t a BMW

The carousel of 2008 9-3 reviews continues, and this time it’s UK’s CAR Magazine.


They tout the new look as having “presence”….

They mention the NVH tweaks underneath, which is significant in itself as it’s a major complaint of 03-07 owners. That they noticed during their test must be a good thing, yes?….

They rate the development of XWD as “big technical news”….

The power delivery on the new TTiD “stands out”….

They even say it’s a pity the UK government hasn’t taken action on E85 so as to take advantage of the 200hp 2.0 BioPower engine….

Pricing is competitive with the stated rivals….

The gearchange is improved and the seats are fabulous….

Of their drive in the XWD: “Bring it on”….


And then there’s:

….it isn’t a patch on the BMW for driver appeal.

but the 9-3 is still no driver-centric sports saloon. You rather get the impression Saab ran out of funds to really turn the 9-3 into something special…


Well, let the BMW drivers have their BMWs and I’ll be happy in my Saab. Thanks.

Personally speaking, after doing three circuits in the XWD car and an afternoon in the new TTiD SportCombi I’m of the opinion that it’s a great driver’s car. Especially the incredibly surefooted XWD if you like the twisties. The TTiD was brilliant at speed on the highway and no small of fun in the bends, either.

What is it with journos and BMWs??

And finally, with greatly reduced interior noise, XWD and TTiD, as well as the improved and more aggressive look, I’d hazard the opinion that for a mid-cycle job Saab have actually done quite a lot.


It’s actually quite a positive writeup, but with all that positivity, why then finish on a note like that where you state that you think they haven’t done much. At the very least they’ve just unveilied a world premiere all-wheel-drive system!!!!

How much do you want from a MCE?


Thanks JWL for the tip.

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  1. What is a BMW?

    Sounds like a trendy sandwich, like: Bacon, Mutton, and Worcestershire sauce.

    Shouldn’t we be discussing real cars?

  2. If a journo “”writes”” anything bad about a MBW,they get shafted by the rest of the “”journos”” as if to say they do not know what they are talking about.
    How can you possibly not like the new 3 series,you obviously haven’t had your frontal lobe removed yet.
    Knuckle dragger’s.

  3. Saab defines “driver’s car”. Powerful, agile, comfortable, minimal frills, and a wraparound dash. They’re the most driver-centric cars on the planet. BMW’s have too much extraneous crap to have that title.

  4. I don’t think we are ever going to win the race over with some jurnos that keep on referring BMW as the de facto standard and bench mark. In OZ some of the bias towards BMW and German Cars is sickening weather the models out there are good or not. Anyone that does not consider the new generation 9-3 as a huge step forward in particular the XWD options needs to get their heads reared as nothing that Saab does or makes will ever change their minds. Keep driving BMWs as they are becoming more and more ordinary whereas Saab continues to be unique for unique drivers !!!!

  5. Let’s just hope Matt Master from Top Gear magazine doesn’t get hold of any Saabs in the future, the man so blatantly HATES everything GM that it wouldn’t matter if the 9-3 out drove a Ferarri, he would still slate it :-(.

  6. Saab has more character. And there is more to a car than just handling ability.

    Would I buy a BMW? No, because I don’t like its image. I may swing to a Merc, and used to swing to Audis’ but my heart always drags me to Saab 🙂

    I was following a Merc SLK 55 AMG the other day, the exhaust burble was lurrrrvly :), if only Saab offered a roadster in a similar vain, a black turbo Sonnet with 320bhp? YES PLEASE!!

  7. It isn’t a BMW. The folks at CAR have an astute grasp of the obvious.

    What they should have wrote, was the new 9-3 isn’t everything a SAAB should be. And that would be true. And yes, funding troubles is the reason.

  8. Ummm…. the guy admits he only got to drive it for a FOR A BIT ON THE GRAVEL!!

    Obviously VERY biased; what a rock-headed imbicile. No doubt he owns a BMW. He doesn’t get it because he won’t allow himself to get it.

  9. The interesting point the reviewer made was “bring it on….” when talking of the XWD. He is insinuating that this will be one helluva sporty drive (swade should know). The “Black Turbo” is gonna be very, very interesting.

    This car looks more like a new car than a MCE!

    Rock on Saab!

    PS I Have a soft spots for BMW, btw. (Runs for cover)HOWEVER, having seen the 08 9-3 my ball is FIRMLY back in Saab’s court! Mercs look like over-priced Kias, Audi’s are VW’s with a major attitude problems.

  10. First up I think we need a bit of perspective. The article was generally positive and only 2 parts of it seem to offend.

    The press do seem to want 3 series clones when it comes to how a car drives and Audi and Mercedes are both starting to give them what they want. SAAB do things differently and if anyone here wants positive press then GM should pull the front drive Vectra platform and give SAAB a dedicated RWD chassis. But the problem is that we would have a BMW not a SAAB. Getting positive press will not lead to the car I want – I have a BMW and if I wanted another I would not have bought my 9-3.

    When I talk to the people who bought BMWs they never mention the handling or the image and they are rarely tossers (and they seem to have quite a bit of respect for SAABs). They talk about the interior being a quality item, the great engine and the refinement. In the real world handling is not an issue – most of us spend the day sitting in traffic

    The reason BMW is so successful is because they have a core set of values – Small and Medium RWD sport saloons. When they step out side this – 1 Series, X3 etc they get it wrong. Mercedes is the same except in their case the core cars are the E class and the S class. SAAB must stick to their core values and not be side tracked into trying to build a better BMW to please the press.

  11. Because of the rear-wheel-drive and the purely theoretical possibility to drive sideways in a curve, which gives nice pictures for their magazine covers, that’s why the BMW is so dominant visible – and many years of touring car sporting competition history might ad some image-branding.
    I must say the recent 330 xd coupe is tempting, even some understated elegance is mixed in the cocktail. A purist statement and a first sign of a coming post-Bangle era? It’s about time Saab should come up with a “newaday-900- aero/spg-coupe” …

  12. “You rather get the impression Saab ran out of funds to really turn the 9-3 into something special…”

    I feel exactly the same way, especially concerning the vehicles appearance anyways. It sounds as if the vehicle is much improved mechanically, but overall, I have given up on this generation 9-3. I’ll just keep waiting for this business to get its act together.

  13. 1st post here – just visited my local Saab sales person. She seems to be an enthusiast – says that word from the Trollhattan plant is they are ahead of schecdule re: the assembly of MY2008 9-3’s, which is good news (should be able to easily make the new model release for this coming September). She is also going to visit the plant, etc., this August,to get a better perspective of what’s new, take pix she will post & what to expect for her customers. Should be interesting…

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