Saab 9-3 Viggen vs BMW 335i

As a a Viggen owner myself, and as someone who’s driven a 335i, let me concede up front that the BMW outperforms the Viggen on the road. No questions asked.

Would I prefer to own one? Absolutely not. I much prefer the Viggen’s styling, interior, power delivery and character.

It seems I’m not the only one. This is from Jeremy, who’s got his sights set on a Viggen in the near future:


Just wanted to share a recent experience:

This past saturday, i attended a friend’s Tiki party where the talk was focused on beer/music/ & euro cars. One of the fellas was talking about the car he flew to Munich to pick up before bringing it back to the states. I inquired and he told me about his new 300hp twin turbo BMW 335i.

He didn’t have to twist my arm to go for a ride!

He drove us about 10 miles out….10 miles of roller-coaster/twisty road. He pulled over at mile 10 and asked if i wanted to drive back. I was outside of his driver’s door before he finished asking me. It’s a beauty of a car, btw – 18″ wheels, 6 spd manual box, leather, retractable side mirrors, simple gauges & dials.

A real beauty. The ride was nice, too. Tight suspension, but not to the point of it being a rough ride. It corners like a champ! Now i know why cars come with that lumbar support! The acceleration was neck-straining (excellent!).

The twin turbo units don’t take long to wind up & throw ya. Hardly noticed the turbo lag. The only real dissapointment was how quiet the car was. The engine/exhaust was hardly audible as we pushed that car to high RPMs.

That being said: would i take a 335i or a Saab Viggen?

I’ll take the Viggen. Why? There are thousands of reasons. Individuality is one of the tops for me. You can’t throw a rock around here without hitting
four BMWs. Looks is another. Viggens make me drool.

I’m a bit of a hatchback nut. My first ride: ’78 Pontiac Grand Am. Tons of HP, tons of space to haul stuff. Next ride: ’86 Integra (hatch). Lots of HP, plenty of ability to haul stuff. Next ride: ’91 Mazda 626 (sedan). It was fast (because that piece of shite was made out of tin)…but i couldn’t squeeze a computer box into that car – and that made me decide to get another hatch – but then two big dogs and a job that entailed 70 miles (sorry – too lazy to convert that to kilometers) a day meant i had to get either a truck, or a wagon. Found a 5spd Subaru Outback wagon (’96) in great shape for a great price and that’s what i drive now.

It’s got 170,000 miles on it and it still drives like a champ. Fits dogs + baby + baby stuff w/ no problem. I’m finished with the “wagon” category after this car. Need to get something more sporty. Hence my unwaivering interest in the 9-3 SE/Viggen.


The 335i is an awesome piece of machinery, but my drive in a hardtop convertible 335i didn’t leave me lusting at all. On the contrary, the rawness of the Viggen is something I can’t wait to get back into.

As Jeremy doesn’t have a Viggen that I can show you yet, here’s a picture of mine. I haven’t seen it for nearly 2 months now *sob sob*

Click to enlarge,

Saab 9-3 Viggen

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  1. I’ve owned both (have the 335i now). If there was any SAAB that I owned I wish I had kept it’s the Viggen. These are really different cars. The Viggen rode like a go-cart on bad roads – very jarring experience and one of the reasons I decided to part with it, but the raw edge of the Viggen was also part of its character that was so great for people who like an engaging drive. The 335i is scary fast, but as mentioned above it’s so smooth and quiet the cops could be on you before you even realize you’re doubling the speed limit. The one thing that the BMW beats the Viggen on is build quality. The materials in the Viggen (mmm …. those seats) were pretty close to what’s in my 335i. I can’t wait to have cool enough temps here in Atlanta to be able to drive with the windows open so I can enjoy the sound of the exhaust – it’s quiet until you really rev it at which point it will definitely sing.

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