Thanks Chris for forwarding this one….
Canadian auto writer John LeBlanc has written up a quick comparison piece looking at three European convertibles:
Audi A4 convertible
Saab 9-3 Convertible, and
All were 2007 models and here therefore concedes that writing about the Saab in this context seems a little like yesterday’s news. That doesn’t stop the love shining through, however.
As mentioned, it’s a short comparo, but here’s a few of his notes:
Third Place – Volvo C70
As attractive visually as the C70 is, its supermodel looks don’t accurately tell the Volvo’s driving story. Despite employing the most power in the trio – plus the perceived advantage of the stick – the Volvo is slightly slower than the less powerful Saab in the 0-to-100 km/h run at just under 7.5 seconds.
Grip from the optional Pirelli P Zero Rosso rubber may be tenacious. But the Volvo’s lack of suspension travel and soft suspension only amplifies the limp chassis on less-than-perfect roads.
Second place – Audi A4
Maybe the A4’s biggest surprise is its less-than-absorbent suspension. Potholes and dips unruffle the A4 at every opportunity.
Where the Saab absorbs the hits and continues along its merry way, the Audi’s suspension clomps and makes a bunch of un-premium noises in the process.
First Place – Saab 9-3
Although not in the Audi’s rarefied league in build quality, the 9-3 interior’s controls are well defined and simple to use…
…But where the Saab separates itself from this trio is in its predictable road manners. The Saab rolls more in the corners than the Volvo or Audi, while dealing with midcorner bumps with aplomb. The elasticity of the suspension means that where the C70 and Audi skitter over rougher roads, the 9-3 delivers a composed ride.
His 3-point summary:
WHY BUY? Real-world handling prowess, real-world pricing, supportive seats.
It’s long been a contention of mine that Saab deliver one of the best real-world driving packages out there. The combination of performance, utility, comfort and safety is second to none. It may not always get through Car and Driver’s cones in the quickest time, but in the real world – I’ll take the Saab ten times out of ten.