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SAAB 9-3 Aero Convertible

Broadcast dates : 12th June 2005
18th June 2005

Saab is back in business under the General Motors umbrella in South Africa. And for those people who like to be different, or simply canít help being different, the Saab is waiting. From nose to tail this is a car with a distinct personality.

Saab is known for producing cars where form follows function, and even in the convertible, the styling has not been compromised in terms of passenger accommodation. Over those long Swedish winters, life needs to be cosy in the cabin.

The steering wheel is truly multi-functional and includes button operation for the automatic transmission, which is rather awkward to operate.

The dash and console are crammed with serious-looking buttons and switches, and the occasional party-trick design feature.

Engineering is a keynote to the Saab approach, and this is one of the few companies that has embraced turbocharging decades ago and stuck with it.

The four-cylinder turbo engine, producing 154 kiloWatts, is an absolute delight with a jewel-like, free-revving spirit and a flat torque-curve.

Performance is brisk in five-speed automatic form, with 0-100 in just over eight seconds, and a top speed of around 220 kph.

The powerful Saab is a front-wheel-drive car, but the Swedes have dampened down the torque steer of a few years back. Effortless fast cruising is the Aeroís forte, and the cabin is not bugged much by turbulence with the top down.

Sharp-edged styling may look retro in this era of flame surfaces and smooth flanks. But the Saab manages a visual harmony despite a rather prominent rear end. This harmony extends to the cabin.

Itís a pleasingly solid roadster with minimal scuttle shake, or body-flex. Safety-wise, all the usual; traction-control, cornerĖassist and anti-lock braking devices are mapped into the central electronic "brain."

Here are the specs:
  • Saab 9-3 Aero Convertible
  • Engine: Four-cylinder turbocharged petrol, 1998 cc
  • Power: 154 kW @ 3 000 rpm
  • Torque: 300 Nm @ 3 000 rpm
  • Transmission: Five-speed automatic, front-wheel-drive
  • 0-100 km/h: 8,7 seconds
  • Top speed: 223 km/h
  • Fuel consumption: 12,3 litres/100 km (Car Magazine estimates)
  • Price: R463 000

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