Thursday Snippets

Be careful what you wish for – part 1.

Jalopnik, like Autoblog, are at the Frankfurt Motor Show (the power of doing a multibrand car blog, I guess – they get to go themselves). Like Autoblog, they’ve also covered the Cadillac BLS and got the following in comments:

Somehow this thing gives me wagonlust. Could be the 400lbs of twist, I dunno. Maybe it’s because I can’t have it….forbidden fruit or something.

The only condition I feel when I see the BLS is nausea, and that’s not just an anti-Caddy thing. It’s horrid.


Be careful what you wish for – part 2.

I wrote earlier, and still believe, that Saab would have benefitted in a marketing sense if they’d made the Turbo X a 300hp vehicle. It would have diffused the only substantial criticism it’s received and lent some more exclusivity to the model.

The main reason for all this, of course, is because a lot of people place an over-importance on numbers. They shop by numbers and they want those numbers readily available.

A new aspect to that phenomenon in the US market is the new standard for disclosing fuel economy standards. Autoblog Green have a post outlining the new sticker that cars are supposed to display in the showroom.

Getting more info up front is fair enough, but I can’t help but think PG Aero is spot on when he writes, in comments:

As for the new Turbo-X… I like it. My 9000 Aero’s 225 HP never draws too much respect, until someone is sitting in the car during a WOT third gear overtaking maneuver.

It’s too bad that a lot of people comparison shop #’s and not driving experiences.

Right on. Shop by experience, not by numbers.


One for the Aussies in particular, though there’s a few pics that might interest the rest of you too.

Lang Lang, Holden’s proving ground here in Australia, is turning 50 years old. For the Aussies, this article from AutoSpeed has a bunch of photos that should stir up some nostalgic juices.

For the rest of you, how about these….

Holden’s Aussie version of the moose test:

Roo test

Aero-X inspiration from down under, the Holden Hurrican concept, circa 1969:

Holden Hurricane

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  1. I don’t see that the Turbo-X will suffer at all from not having 300 hp. The car is going to sell-out so fast that many people who would drop money on the spot won’t ever have a chance to get one.

    What I think is that it’s flat-out silly that SAAB finally has a marketable “winner” that everyone seems to love and they limit it to only 2000 copies. Imagine if they made just as desirable model without the limited run. What if they made the “regular” 9-3 just as desirable?

    If SAAB made an unlimited edition 9-3 equivalent to the “Turbo-X” I’m sure they’d break that 200K or whatever global sales target they want to hit in order to get back into the black.

    The really sad thing is that they wasted such a desirable model on a limited edition. Is it merely the fact that it’s a limited edition at all the reason why everyone seems to want one? If you could go to your SAAB dealer and be guaranteed to buy one would it not be as attractive?

  2. “The only condition I feel when I see the BLS is nausea”

    Hilarious, and that says it all. That car is simply tragic and maybe Saab got some development money because of the thing, but whatever. I hope it never crawls over here to the USA – we already had to live through the Cimarron in the 80’s and Catera in the 90’s.

    As for the Turbo X not having 300hp, I still think that 2.8L V6 will be blessed with direct gasoline injection within a year or so and that will really boost performance on that engine easily into that range. The fuel economy benefits as well as the improvement to cold start emissions are just to beneficial to pass up – especially with current changes in fuel economy standards in the USA.

  3. Great, GM is wasting more money on the BLS by making it available in a wagon. The low sales numbers of the sedan wasn’t proof enough that nobody in Europe wants the BLS? What a joke..

  4. Kroum, don’t think I’m getting down on the car. The step between 280 and 300 would probably make sweet FA difference to how the car would drive. I’m talking purely from a promotion and accpetance perspective here – that it’d remove a hurdle for them.

    Gripen, I agree. These will sell without a doubt and the owners will adore them. But just in terms of building brand cachet I still think it would have been a good idea.

  5. Um, numbers DO dictate things. Maybe not the HP numbers when overtaking, but the TORQUE is pretty important… i think if you have enough numbers, and know what to look for, numbers can give you a pretty good idea of what’s going on…

    Now, if the 9-3 went from 280->300 hp, and got 20-40 extra ft lbs of torque, me thinks it would be noticeable…

  6. Never underestimate numbers. Take the 0-100 acceleration time (or 0-60 mph). People read them, remember them and eventually use them to benchmark cars.

    And, after all, the 0-100 is probably one of the least necessary acceleration tests considering real-life driving and performance.

  7. I’ve read numerous places including here that Saab’s manual 6-speed is rated at 400Nm torque. Since the 280hp engine is also rated at 400Nm torque, I wonder if the horsepower is just being limited until the transmissions are uprated.

  8. Swade,

    you might even try to search the web to find the Dodge Charger III concept car from 1968.

    It also had a canopy a’ la Aero-X (though opening rearward) . Anyway, I think it was (sort of) Aero-X’ ish as a concept and possibly worth introducing to your readers (?).

    Why am I writing this ? Well, because I still have a Matchbox Superfast version of that car…

  9. @Saaboy:

    I absolutely agree with you that numbers do matter. Since HP is figured by multiplying engine speed by torque (there’s a constant in the equation too), they are totally related. I think that too many people see a figure for HP and think it is the final measure of a car’s performance. If people started looking at numbers like torque (and where in the RPM range it is acting) then Saab’s would figure into the stats nicely. When you start looking at this, you’re beginning to consider the actual potential of the car to accelerate. Now, if we could start looking at the AREA under a torque curve, that’d be something. That would be like actually investigating the effect of the engine’s characteristics on the car’s speed… which sounds a lot like what you’d learn through the course of a test drive.

    So, as you said, “i think if you have enough numbers, and know what to look for, numbers can give you a pretty good idea of what’s going on…” The question remains, how many people “know what to look for”?

    Maybe, as Ted Y said, the torque is limited by the transmission? That locks in the HP #’s unless you re-design the engine to rev higher, which gets expensive.

    I think we agree that numbers matter, but that all the numbers are important… not just peak HP.


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