2008 Saab 9-3 review: AutoExpress

The latest review to hit the news is one from AutoExpress. They’ve taken the TTiD for a drive and like everyone before them, they think it’s a gem.

But the real talking point of the fresh 9-3 is the arrival of a twin-turbo diesel engine. The unit, badged TTiD, uses one small turbocharger and one large one to minimise lag and pro­vide instant throttle response. And with 400Nm of torque available from as low as 1,750rpm, it’s certainly rapid off the line, while in-gear performance is equally impressive.

The 1.9-litre powerplant is fairly smooth, although it can get a little raucous when pushed hard. And, due to its better reactions, we prefer the manual gearbox to the optional six-speed automatic transmission.

This review is pretty similar to previous ones we’ve encountered so far – it’s an improvement, great TTiD engine, over 2,000 changes, cabin needs improvement, still not quite up to BMW and Audi, new clamshell hood, inspired by Aero-X, yada yada yada.

Interestingly, though, there’s no mention of the coming of XWD, which has been standard fare for most reviewers so far.

A worthwhile way to spend 5 minutes, though an even better way to spend 5 minutes is calling your local Saab guy and arranging a test drive so you can get the feeling for yourself!

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  1. “Not quite up to BMW & Audi”. That’s such a standard response from so called automotive “experts” that I hardly expect it will ever go away, no matter how great a car Saab produces. It seems like it’s almost become fashionable for road test “wags” to take a jab at Saab and I hope this trend reverses in the near future. Saab deserves better, and consumers deserve the chance to drive a Saab!

  2. Holy smokes! “Not quite up to BMW & Audi” go´n sit in a Audi A4… Thank god Saab is not like that! Very high quality and as inspiring as a block of concrete. Bmw I cannot compare because I haven´t driven it much. Just because I don´t like RWD. To me it´s just as simple as that.

    In my opinion, you can turn that the otherways. BMW and Audi are not quite a Saab. Where´s the comfort? Easiness of driving? Top of it´s class safety? Killer styling?

    And like Swade once said, you cannot throw a stone without hitting a Bee-eM.

  3. I continue mumbling here alone..
    Maybe that engine cover is because pre-production cars were said to be a bit noisy from the outside at idle? If they´ve added some new insulation..
    Anyway, there seems to be some differencies if you compare the pictures, for example wire (vac hoses?) on the side are removed and there looks like, is a electrical connector of some kind.

  4. Even the oil dipstick is on other side?? And is that a brake fluid container, which is moved copletely to a different position?

    What´s goind on there… ?

  5. I really have problem with these journos: what quality are they referring to which is not on par with the German alternatives? A comparative analysis of the materiel perhaps would have sufficed. Also, no mention is made of XWD. Did AutoExpress not attend the press launch like the rest of the automotive magazines?

  6. MarkoA,

    Good spotting on the engine bay, I too wonder what the story is there.

    Regarding Audi interiors, anybody else notice they are doing the hockey stick thing around the instrument panels?

  7. I made some “research” and found no explantaion yet. But some other interesting details. The fuel consumption figures released have been projected details only. Saab UK website shows now official figures for TTiD, both manual and auto version. Finnish or Swedish site does not show the details yet. If I remember correcty, max torque was supposed to be available at 1750rpm (now 1850rpm) and also combined fuel consumption seems to be a bit higher.

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