Well, the big news is in. The largest allocations of what is arguably Saab’s best production car, the Turbo X, will go to the US market. And the price is in. The sedan version will sell for $42,510 and the Sport Combi version will sell for $43,310.
There’s one proviso on this whole article – make no mistake about it, all these cars will sell. I have no doubt about it. Die-hard Saabists will buy them and a few converts will come over as well. Come Spring 2008 these cars will have a substantial waiting list. I’m quite sure of that.
The XWD vehicle that I drove in Sweden was a pre-production model but was fitted with the full XWD kit, including the eLSD that will be standard on the Turbo X but an option on subsequent XWD vehicles. This IS one awesome car to drive. Its not going to be the most powerful car in its price range, but it’s more than adequately powered and incredibly sure-footed.
The other thing to note is that even at $42,510 this is an incredibly good value proposition. I’ve got no doubt that the fact will be completely lost on US Saab buyers because the market there is all about cheaper cars and they’ll compare the Aero-X to other cars in the US market. But that price in Aussie dollars is around $48,500 and you can’t even get a Vector trim Saab 9-3 for that money here.
The big questions that remain will be how they’re received by the US motoring press and whether or not SaabUSA will have to revert to special pricing to clear the last of them. The big factor that will come into play here is, of course, competition.
At $42,510 the Turbo X is going to draw some pretty strong competition. Saab has cited in their own material that the prime competition consists of the following vehicles:
- BMW 3-series
Mercedes Benz C Class
That’s impressive company and the Turbo X is well above the price of the entry models for those vehicles. So taking a look up the model tree, here’s what you can get from those marques for less than $42,510.
- 2008 Audi A4 3.2 Quattro, Automatic – $38,400
2008 BMW 330xi (AWD) – $40,800
2008 Volvo S60 AWD – $32,735
2008 Mercedes C300 Luxury 4MATIC – $34,700
There’s a fair range of prices there, some of which are substantially lower than the Turbo X price. All of those vehicles have AWD systems, but those systems won’t be as advanced as the XWD system in the Turbo X. I’m quite sure that even though some of them will be more powerful, they won’t outperform the Turbo X in the twisties or have the same level of safety as the Turbo X.
All of those vehicles are sedans that are probably a bit bigger than the Turbo X.
And the real kicker for me, is that all of those vehicles will most likely have a more premium interior finish than the Turbo X. The Turbo X has a couple of splashes of carbon fibre and some great analine leather seats, but other than that it’s basically the same as the rest of the Saab 9-3 range. If only they’d fitted the carbon leather dash from Hirsch.
Obviously, the main selling point of the Turbo X is the mechanical package, which at the end of the day, is how it should be. But if you’re going to price the car above the big players in the market, you’ve got to bring your A-Game. Mechanically speaking, they have. In terms of the total package? I’m left wondering a little.
I have a feeling that when the motoring press in the US do this comparison they might be quite savage in terms of the total package. But then again, this is a limited run and their main point of comparison will be the Aero XWD version, which will be the biggest seller of XWD in the next 12 months or so.
I was expecting a price a little north of $40,000 US dollars and that’s exactly what happened. But secretly I was hoping they’d keep the price right on the $40,000 mark.
The one thing I’d hate to see is Saab’s mechanical yardstick being sold with incentives when it’s a limited edition model.
It just wouldn’t be right.
They’ll all sell. No worries. And at US$42,510 it’s a bargain that I’m sure every Saabist in countries outside the US will cry over. But at this price, will the model be able to do what Saab need it to do – win some conquest sales?