Comprehensive 2008 Saab 9-3 Review

Thanks to Turbin, this is the best and most comprehensive review of the 2008 Saab 9-3 I’ve seen so far. And it’s from Australia. I’m so proud.

The review is published online at Go Auto and is well worth the time it’ll take you to read it.

Our reviewer, Byron Mathioudakis, takes you step by step through all the design changes and then all the technical changes in the new 9-3. There’s some especially good stuff in there about the XWD system and the time taken to prepare this piece is evident in the quality of the material written.

Being an Austrlian article, there’s also a fair bit of attention to Saab’s place in the market here, and what the new 9-3 might mean for it. The good news for Saab in Australia is that we’re likely to eventually get all the new features, from XWD to the new TTiD and perhaps even BioPower – and all three got a resounding thumbs up in this instance.

Even after all that, which is about as much as what many publications have offered, Byron then takes us for a drive:


Pre-production examples of the XWD ‘Cross-Wheel Drive’ SportCombi wagons, powered by the new 206kW version of the 2.8-litre V6 petrol turbo engine, shocked us with its much higher levels of wet, slippery and rough-road surface grip and control…..

On the TTiD:

…..Much more impressive is the TTiD 132kW/400Nm turbo-diesel number. Adding a two-stage turbocharger, with an extra turbine to help plump out the already healthy torque curve, has resulted in a rip-snorter of a 1.9-litre engine.

In no uncertain terms, this premium powerplant puts Saab right up there with the diesel engine leaders……

On BioPower:

….Any doubts about the driveability of E85 vehicles will be dealt a blow in the 9-3 2.0t BioPower. For simply getting people to consider the implications of their actions, we say ‘bring it on.’

That last quote about BioPower is particularly encouraging as E85 is still facing a groundswell of ignorance-based negativity as a possible alternative fuel. The only way people are going to get past fears that it’ll hurt engines etc is to read first-hand accounts like this one of how good it is and eventually, drive it for themselves.

This is a highly recommended read for all people interested in the new 2008 Saab 9-3, and especially those Aussies visiting here.

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  1. “The only way people are going to get past fears that it’ll hurt engines etc is to read first-hand accounts like this one of how good it is and eventually, drive it for themselves.”

    But are you throwing out the problem that it IS ‘hurting’ our engines in terms of corrosivness?

  2. It’s not hurting engines that are set up for it properly, and I’m not advocating the use of it in any vehicle that’s not set up correctly. For Australia that’ll mean vehicles like BioPower that are brought in with the capability to run on either E85 or gasoline built in.

    The problem here in Oz is that there’s a whole big load of ignorance about it, which it can do and which cars could use it. We’re about 10 years behind Sweden in this regard, as opposed to everyone else’s 5 years.

  3. About BioPower – I know you can switch between gas and biofuel, but in all honesty, why would the common man?

    Sure, no emissions, but doesn’t it get horrible gas mileage? Wouldn’t that alone stop people from switching? Can someone explain this?

  4. You are correct, E85 does not get as good a mileage as E10 (which is really what we have almost EVERYWHERE here in the US). I’m not sure one could say horrible mileage, it is more like about 10-15% worse or similar to what you’d expect with an engine that is in need of good tune up and if you had tires that are a bit low on air (geting silly now). But a number of areas also sell E85 for less that gasoline. So that does help some…. But E85 CAN give you more HP!

    So yes, you will most likely will get worse overall fuel consumption with 1 gallon of E85 vs 1 gallon of E10.

    The “idea” is to use less fossil fuel (which has another whole set of pros and cons). Just think of it this way, if you were getting about 25MPG with gasoline, you would expect to get only about 21-22 MPG on E85. BUT (silly alert) you are really getting about 146 miles per gallon of GASOLINE!!!! The fuzzy math comes from this: 1 US gallon of E85 is 19.2 ounces of gasoline and 108.8 ounces of alcohol. So you have to use 6.67 gals of E85 to actaully use 1 gal of gasoline. At 22MPG, 6.67 gals would get you 146 miles down the road (see, I told you it was SILLY!)

    In my opinion, there really seem to be a lot of folks who want to argue about this whole E85 thing and a lot of folks think that have all the facts, but they don’t. Just becasue corn is not the best solution does not mean E85 is not one of many good ideas that we can use to increase the use of renewable fuel sources.

  5. Steven has a good point… the biofuel haters seize on the fact that corn is food and isn’t the most ideal source for ethanol and refuse to see the bigger picture… the sooner cellulosic ethanol production begins using environmentally friendly purpose-grown biomass, the better. Butanol also holds promise; it doesn’t have quite the octane rating of ethanol but consumption per km is less and the fuel is not quite as hard on standard fuel systems.

    This Google presentation by Vinod Khosla should be required viewing for those wanting to know the facts ->

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