Poll: The Saab ‘Aero’ name

There’s been some discussion in comments and I thought I’d bring the topic up to the front page.

The question at issue is the status of the “Aero” badge on Saabs.

In many markets around the world, you can currently buy a Saab Aero that doesn’t have the most powerful engine Saab offer under the hood. The Saab 9-5 2.0T Aero is the main case in point.

A brief and undocumented history of the Aero.

The Saab 900 didn’t officially have an Aero model, as far as I know. The name was conferred upon some versions of the turbocharged 16V model. I had one from 1985 that I constantly referred to as an Aero on this website, yet there’s no documentation that I’ve seen referring to it as such at an official level.

The Saab 900 did have a model called the SPG (Special Performance Group) in the United States and equivalent models elsewhere in the world were called a Turbo 16, or Turbo 16S. These had a full body kit, the 16v engine and some suspension tweaks. Many had an “Aero” graphic on the stereo system inside the car, which may be where the name came from.

A quick Googling for 900 Aero brochures and official namings that returned zero results supports this view, but I’m happy to receive evidence to the contrary.

Regardless of the particulars, the fact that the Aero moniker was attached to this model of the 900 started the trend of Saab’s performance model being referred to under the Aero name.

The first car to officially be badged as an Aero was the Saab 9000. This model was equipped with every electronic convenience available at the time, had the most incredibly comfortable seats and of course, the 2.3 HOT engine. It looked as good as it went and had all the amenity that Saab had become known for.

Following the 9000, the Saab 9-5 also came with an Aero model. Again, it was the best performing model in the range and was as close to fully loaded as a Saab came.

Shortly after the 9-5 Aero came the first generation 9-3 Aero. This is possibly the first time when Saab allowed some confusion to creep in with regard to the Aero title. At the same time they were selling the Saab 9-3 Aero, they were selling a Saab 9-3 Viggen, with similar top-flight equipment levels. The Aero had the 2.0HOT engine and the Viggen the 2.3HOT, as well as exclusive colors and interior trim.

With the advent of the new Saab 9-3 Sport Sedan, Saab brought in a new model range consisting of Linear, Arc, Vector and Aero. Typically, the Aero had the more powerful engine, something that was reinforced with the introduction of the 2.8T V6.

A few years down the track, however, Saab dropped the V6 engine in a majority of markets and this is when the Aero became something more akin to just a trim level, with body kit, suspension and interior being the differentiators.

Today, in the US, you can buy a Turbo4 Saab 9-3 with XWD that is not an Aero model. You can buy a car with the same engine, but as an Aero model, for around $6,000 more. Both cars have the same 210hp engine. The difference is in the level of trim and equipment.

The 2011 Saab 9-5 sedan with V6 is also available in the US as both an Aero and non-Aero model (known as the Turbo6 XWD). Both share the same V6 engine and XWD system with differences being in trim, gadgets and suspension. Outside the US it’s even more flexible, with some markets offering a four-cylinder car with an Aero trim level.


Saab will argue that this type of nomenclature gives people choice. If people want the best trim package they can have it, and in the case of the 9-5, they can have it with the engine of their choosing.

What I’ve read in comments, and what I think personally, too, is that the Aero designation should be for something special. The top of the range model not only in terms of trim, but in terms of engine output as well. It should be distinct.

Perhaps, if Saab had access to more engine options and tuning levels in all countries, this might be the case.

To the poll, then…….

[poll id=”10″]

99 thoughts on “Poll: The Saab ‘Aero’ name”

  1. There was a classic Saab 900 on the UK market in the early 90s which was known as an Aero. This was a light-pressure turbo 16v engine, body kit and three-spoke alloys. It was 145bhp – less than the 175bhp/185bhp models of 900 T16S with black / red ECU respectively.

    • I just got one it has the B202 engine, LPT and all the body kit, the blurb that came with it says it is rated at 160bhp, 145 being for the B202 normally aspirated version. its funny how this “Aero” was not official and was 2nd best to the true T16s yet its name went on to mean the best….untl the Viggen which really was a special edition
      Saab are in need of a nomenclature heierarchy-without it people just won’t know where thay stand with brand recognition/specification…they may aswell just de badge everything.

  2. The problem is here equipment vs. power…
    If Aero follows power only – some countries will never get the Aero model on the road.
    I like the equipment, but I will not have the high-power engine.
    Mine 9-5 looks like an Aero, has all the Aero equipment – but it is a 2.0L BioPower!
    Whats the problem?

    • Make some of the features available on the Vector as BMW or Audi do with their M resp. S-Line packages. At the moment it’s the same problem as with the GTI in the 90s and early 00s: The name doesn’t mean anything anymore. Aero is supposed to be mean power and exclusivity. At the moment it means neither of those.

    • Problem is your car is not an Aero. it’s a wannabe- lookalike plain car.
      Call it anything else but Aero. e.g. SE.

      Aero’s must have the most powerful engine, bigger brakes, “sport chassis” with lower suspension and body kit, plus all the comfort and luxury -as standard !.

      Aero’s are the exclusive and dynamic choice -Top of the range.

      Don’t mess with that badge !

      • I agree! And I don’t believe we’ll never see Aero model on road in some countries. But if not, that’s not a problem at all. We’d like to see Aero model because it’s a top version, with the maximum power and maximum luxury, otherwise you can just stick a badge and go with it. And that won’t be Aero.
        I am strongly against devaluating the Aero version, it already suffered enough. Top power, top trims, no other options.

    • I agree with you nsb. For example if the Aero was kept for just the big engines there would be no Aeros in Norway due to the taxes. Aero is the top trim level, if you want something special call it a Viggen or a Griffin.

      • Viggen or Griffin are fr limited special editions only and not the top level of the standard range-for that you still need a unique badge -eg Aero. in my view it is that simple.

  3. Valid point are made above, except that the 9-5 Aero hasn’t always been the top trim level.

    From MY99-MY01, in Europe, the 9-5 Aero designated only the top-level engine, but was available as ‘9-5 S Aero’ and ‘9-5 SE Aero’. The first having the full body-kit and 17″ light alloy wheels, but a black plastic dash, no radio, cloth upholstry, no heated seats etc, while the latter had leather seats and a wooden dash. The real top trim level was the Griffin, featuring vented leather seats, sunroof etc.

    • In the UK this version there was a version called Airflow , 17″ alloys (2 styles), aero body kit, but with 2.0t, 2.3t and 3.0t…..the Aero was reserved for 2.3HOT

    • The Griffin was the luxury and comfort model with 3.0L B308 GM V6 belt driven cam shafts asymetric turbo engine also used in Opels. with 210 hp (157 kW)

      This engine was available only with an automatic transmission, and cars with this engine installed are distinguishable by their twin tailpipes. In 2004, the V6 engine was replaced by a high pressure turbo straight-4 engine producing 220 hp (160 kW). By 2006 this engine was producing 260 hp (190 kW) even in the non-Aero or non-sport models (US models).

  4. I would like a third alternative in the voting above, I think that the Areo name should be only for the most powerful engine. What I like about the current use of Aero is that you can get the Aero trim with lower output engines which is good since the Aero trim looks much better than the others and I could never afford an Turbo6 Aero brand new so then I would still get a car that looks the part . But the bad part is that Aero used to give respect , like a friend of mine used to say “I never race a SAAB with an Aero badge”. So I think Aero should be reserved for the most powerful engine and also it should always be possible to get an Aero with a manual gearbox, since it is the sportiest alternative and an Aero should always be well equipped but I think however that you should be able to order the same trim level for other engines but in those cases not use the Aero name. Thats my opinion at least.


  5. I think Saab need their version of Audi’s S-Line, or Volvo’s R-Design. If you read the Volvo forum’s for instance, the amount of people that choose the R-Design is substantial, I reckon it’s a real money spinner.

    Saab need something similar in my view. Be it Aero, or Aero-Spec or whatever they want to call it.

    • Indeed. IMHO the damage has already been done and Aero is largely regarded as a trim level rather than an ultimate version – so a bit like S-line or M-sport, rather than an RS or M3/5. That’s fine, but then what is the one-word deciption of the top Saab model?

      If there is to be a one-model flagship, then maybe this should be ‘Viggen’. Either way Saab needs to pick a range of model descriptors and STICK TO THEM. Decades of one-offs SPG, Viggen, Carlosson, Griffin, SE, CDE, AERO etc etc leave the layman unsure as to what is a top Saab. No such confusion with M5, A6RS, M-B AMG.

      I blame GM for this, with their ‘special editions’ mentality creating short term products and retaining no continuity or heritage.

      In the 80’s a Saab Turbo was THE top model, nowadays I struggle to define it in terms anyone would understand. I hope VM is thinking about this issue and goes for it, and whatever is decided, stick to it until the descriptor is established.

      • I remember when Saab Turbo was top too. Whenever I saw a Saab, I used to search for that magic ‘turbo’ badge on the front grille..

        I agree with you about the naming, it’s a bit all over the place, but I’m confident it’s being addressed. I don’t put any specific weight on the Aero name myself – perhaps because they use cool words like Linear Arc Vector words etc. Aero is just another cool word.

        Maybe they’d be better off with models like S, SE, as well as Aero-Line etc, for a sport’s package that could be applied to any car. Turbo-X was a pretty good name!

      • I agree. In my heart it feels like the name should only be for the topmodel and I felt sorry when SAAB decided to to otherwise. Now they have been using it in this way so the power of the name is not the same anymore. Viggen is still valid!!

          • Saab Viggen. It is a great name. For me it brings up all sorts of Cold War type memories. In this day and age, is that a good thing? I vote yes because everyone is just so PC.

            Should just mention too Volvo are mixing things up. Back in the 1990’s, T5 meant something: a turbocharged 5 cylinder with about 240 BHP, depending on the year. The engine was hijacked by Ford and stuck in the RS amongst others. Now, in a total reverse, the T5 badge is being applied by Volvo to a 2.0 litre, 4 cylinder FORD engine… with 237 BHP. How’s that for progress? I’m sure it’s cleaner, but they have totally undone the T5 badge which, for a lot of Volvo enthusiasts, myself included, was a bit like the Saab Turbo badge that Belfast_Saab mentioned.

            I’m sure VM and JA are plotting something good as we speak. The name is probably the least of their concern, but, if as others are mentioning, the Aero name has GM links, I suspect they might drop it?

  6. I’m also a believer that the Aero designation should only be used for the hottest Saab’s. Although it’s not considered to be a “real” Saab and it has been much maligned in the automotive press, I have really enjoyed my 2005 9-2X Aero. I have owned it since new and it never fails to bring a grin to my face when I drive it. The difference between the Aero with the turbo-charged engine and the normally aspirated version is dramatic and won me over in the first two minutes of my test drive. With it’s WRX roots, it has great bones and I think it deserves the Aero title. It’s a genuine blast to drive and I plan on keeping it until a hoped-for new small (92??) Saab appears.

  7. An all important issue with the AERO name is that it’s patented to GM.
    Although I can’t find it on the internet now, I did read that GM previously sued SAAB for using the AERO nomenclature. It wasn’t until SAAB was owned by GM that models received the official badging.

    Personally I’m more interested in whether SAAB has licensed the name from GM indefinitely or for a period of time only.

  8. Saab didn’t have rights to the “Aero” name originally. I think it was GM that owned it. It was a name however used quite extensively even if unofficially, on top model 900s. When GM bought into Saab, it eventually allowed Saab to officially use it, and it’s first badge work appearance was on the 9000 Aero which replaced the CS Turbo S model.

    I think the name has become somewhat diluted and that began with the C900 LPT Aero. Certainly not a bad car, but definitely not a full 16S Aero model. Unfortunately Australia (and some other markets) didn’t get the LPT model, and had the distinct honour of getting a non turbo 900i 2.1 Aero model. That was quite a marketing blunder and degraded the status of Aero quite markedly.

  9. I think it is important to f.ex. have the possibility to buy the 4 cyl. 2.0 T engine off the 9-5 with Aero-trim and suspension. Actually the 4-cyl is more “Saabish” then the 6. (lighter and more drivable)

    • I’m with you on this. I should be available for those engines which have a sporting edge … happy with the idea of the TTiD Aero (quite fancy a try in one of these, the torque is meant to be pretty impressive) as long as the engine version is added to the designation.

  10. In my opinion the Aero should (1) either be a more sportive trim (spolier set, wheels, sport seats), available on all models for (younger?) drivers who like a more sportive dynamic looking car (like Audi’s S-line or MB AMG) The price of such package should be reasonable and good value for money. Or (2) alternatively the name Aero should be used for a real fully loaded top version with an exclusive fast engine (and corresponding top price could be asked). The current 9-5 Aero models are essentially the normal cars with a more dynamic look (1) , for a top price (2) (over EUR 10,000 extra in The Netherlands), which if you have a proper look to what the package contains, unfortunately doesn’t justify the value of what is on offer. If I have to choose, I opt for car (1), with a price (1).

  11. If it were me doing the badging I would keep the Linear and Linear Sport. then the Vector and Vector Sport. I would have the Aero as the sporty model and a Griffin for the luxery version.
    What i did like when they did the Anniversay model, was that they offered it across the range. Not everyone wants an aero but its nice to be able to get the specials too.
    I would let the people choose the extras to make the car more their own.
    There are plenty of other Saab planes for instance if you wanted a differant special eddition, Tunnan, Lansen, Draken and the very sporty Viggen.
    But that would be my way,
    Robin M.

  12. :geek mode on:

    The 900 Aero was showcased when the 16-valve engine was showcased, in geneva 1983-84 if I recall correctly….at the same time another 900 variant was introduced, the cabriolet.

    the 900 Aero was the showcar in Pearlescent white and bockhara ‘Kontur’ leather upholstery, and the ‘Aero’ moniker was to denote the body kit fitted to the car -reducing Cd from 0.41 to 0,38 – also gave the edge in terms of performance over a standard 900 T16.

    The Aero was styling not performance, the gain in performance was due to the styling.

    It was acknowledged at the time GM owned the name and Saab were trying to get permission for its use but weren’t allowed.

    In the UK there was some overlap, where the B204 SE Sport was replaced by the B205R Aero but in its first year it could only be differentiated from the SE by a lower front dam and deeper side trim…while the concurrent Viggen had the full works…When the Viggen was dropped the Aero gained the external appearance (without the rear bridge spoiler)…

    :geek mode off:

    • Correct. But the Aero trademark was primarily registered in North America, and hence the “Aero” designation was used on the SPG-like versions sold in Europe, I think. The “Aero” trademark was originally applied to a “cab-over” tractor that had some curvature to its lines and was, I think, built in the 1930s. GM never applied it to a car until they bought into Saab.

      • The trademark for “Aero”, or “Silver Aero” as I think was used in the original literature for the show car that became the T16S/SPG etc, was definitely the reason it wasn’t used in the UK and possibly US.

        I understood it was owned in the UK by Vauxhall (ie GM UK) after they presented a show version of the Cavalier Sporthatch in silver with the “Silver Aero” moniker in the early 80s.

        Clearly this was resolved by the time the 9000 Aero and later C900 Aeros badged as such came about. Of course, at that time, in the UK anyway, the C900 Aero was an LPT so it referred to a trim level and having the airflow side skirts…so it’s never been entirely clear!

    • The front bumper upper plastic is also different. but they do look really similar I’ll give you that. The fact is the Viggen was a very special edition compred to the Aero which was just top of the range. That is how it should run…

    • In the UK there was some overlap, where the B204 SE Sport was replaced by the B205R Aero but in its first year it could only be differentiated from the SE by a lower front dam and deeper side trim…while the concurrent Viggen had the full works…When the Viggen was dropped the Aero gained the external appearance (without the rear bridge spoiler)…

      The B204R SE Sport HOT was a 200bhp T5 engine. (Same/similar to the Monte Carlo model in Australia). The B205R Aero HOT with 205 bhp T7 engine succeeded it. They both had 16″ 3-spoke alloys, bridge spoiler and body kit (not Viggen body kit). The following year the 9-3 Aero gained the inflated bumpers and skirts of the Viggen bodykit and retained the bridge spoiler rather than gaining the pug-ugly lump that was on the back of the Viggen.

  13. It would be interesting to know if the right to use the name Aero was explicitly given to Saab-Spyker in the sale to VM.

  14. To me the Aero is the full loaded version and not necessarily the most powerful. But it should be powerful and not ordinary. Let it be as it is today in Sweden anyway.

    Dont know about other countrys. It should be what the market demand in the specific country.

  15. Saab have developed a trend of reducing the status of the aero badge. Unfortunately Saab have extended this trend into the Turbo X. I notice the 2011 model 9-3ss aero on offer in Australia is akin to the former Vector model with the aero price tag. I’m jealous of the s line offer by audi.

    • I’d ‘forgotten’ about Turbo X, yet another iteration……….no wonder people don’t know what a high-performance Saab is called these days…..

        • Agreed, and I think that’s the very problem Robin, rarely do Audi/M-B/BMW resort to ‘special editions’, they have constant top-line models showcasing the ultimate performance for the time. RS and M have been used consistenyl for many many years (someone will tell me how many).
          Saab can define itself by no such ‘label’ or ‘line’, but instead a range of chronological special editions with no linkage (airplane models, mythical creatures, simple letters) and thereby shortlived names such as we have discussed. Nice for afficianados like us, but bewildering for the prosepctive pruchaser or newcomer.

          In marketing terms what is Saabs response to the ‘golf club banter’ of “I’ve just got the new M5/ A6RS ? Aero?? – might be an underpowered diesel!
          Saab needs a consistent ‘halo’ line.

  16. Hi, guys!

    Here in Sweden, not all engine choices are available as Aero models. For instance the 160hp diesel engine, and the 180hp gasoline engine, are only available in Linear and Vector trim. However, you can get the bigger engines, (190hp diesel, 220hp gasoline and 220hp gasoline/BioPower) in Linear and Vector models… And to confuse some more, the 300hp V6 is only available as Aero.

    I´m thinking of getting myself an Ice white 9-5SC TTID Aero, as soon as I can. 🙂

    Best regards


  17. In Italy the Aero trim level is available also with the TTiD diesel engine… :-((((

    no words…

    I Think that Saab could make something similas as Audi does with S-Line packages if anybody wants a more sporty or luxury trim. But it couldn’t be named Aero as well as the Real Aero… is terribly frustrating to have a 300hp “rale” Aero and a 190hp “fake” Aero as well in the same model range (9-5NG in Italy for example.. but also it was with the 9-3 280hp Aero XWD and 180hp Aero TTiD).

  18. Confusion or Diffusion in a brand name is not good for customer / prospect understanding of the range of the Saab Brand.

    I’m of the opinion that if AERO is the top of the line, it should carry every bell and whistle, the most powerful / advanced engine, and the hottest performance tuning (Hirsch?)

    One final point … does AERO have a subtle reference to “Born From Jets” which I believe Saab should be leaving to the dust bin of unfortunate history?

  19. I voted for “Should be reserved for top trim level AND most powerful output”.

    Top gasoline and top diesel engine should get it exclusively, along with some sort of performance upgrade (suspension, whatever). More important, though, is that IMHO the Linear trim level should go away and it should be all about Vector/Aero (in the case of the new 9-5 using the Aero’s front bumper). I’d rather see SAAB offering value through content than through price, at least for the private buyer, with corporate fleets being handled slightly differently. For the M-like or AMG-like models, should they ever appear, perhaps it’s best to throw Hirsch into the picture and use the Viggen name.

  20. I feel very strongly that it should be reserved as the top of the line in both performance and equipment. The Aero really means something in the Saab line in the USA. Not only is it top of the line, the 95 Aero [old model] is a terrific car.

    I currently have 2 95 Aeros……..well I have one and my wife has one…..and Have owned a 1987 9000 Aero, 900 SPG, and Viggen.

  21. It appears that Aero has become some sort of Saab’s “S-Line” but if I am right (and correct me if I am wrong) only the most powerful 4 cylinder (gasoline and diesel) and 6 cylinder engines are available as Aero. So in each engine category only the “strongest” can be an Aero…
    That counts for the Austrian and German market (maybe there are differences elswhere) ,for me this sort of bading fits perfectly…

    • I agree, Aero should be reserved to the top of each engine family, and should include suspension, aerodynamic (obviously) and interior mods.

      It wouldn’t make sense to only have the V6 9-5 available in Aero trim, simply because Saabs are all about getting the most out of a smaller engine. Similarly, it wouldn’t make sense to have an Aero with a detuned engine (160 hp diesel, 180 hp petrol).

      As a side note, the Aero models usually come with lower/stiffer suspensions, which make them less suitable to winter/Canadian driving conditions. Given a choice, I would go for the regular car over the Aero.

      • That is exactly why my Dame Edna is a 2.3T rather than Aero–except for the 1 m lower suspension and bolstered seats I can’t think of any real difference.

        For me, an Aero should be a top trim level on the top of each engine range (diesel, 4cyl gas, 6 cyl if offered). Why not Griffen for performance models?


    • Well it dosen’t fit al all.
      Aero and diesel makes no sense. Period.

      Aero shouldn’t be available in different categories, it should be reserved only for the most power full engine, it’s not a trim level, but the ultimate top performer of the model range.
      -otherwise we loose respect for the Aero badge.

      On top af that we should have a special editions e.g. Viggen

  22. I voted for the “top level” with the caveat that there should be a base, a much more powerful AERO and a Halo/exclusive level “Viggen” or whatever you want to name it.

  23. Goal: take each model’s top output option to the next level.
    Aero – performed by THN.
    Hirsch – performed in the country where other diamonds are perfected. Likely to be more extreme.

    • Aero – Executive target group. Comfy ride possible. Still understated.
      Hirsch – Untamed streetfighter. Understatement not necessary.

  24. First, i just want to say that I love the Aero name and badge. It should, however, only be used for the top-of-the-range engines. But I like the idea that you can get the Aero-look without having to get the 2.8T engine, like the AMG-package you see a lot of Mercs with 200K engines have. I could never afford a 2.8T here in Norway, but I’d be glad to fork out some extra cash for the Aero exterior. On the 9-5, it just looks so much better.

  25. Aero model should have just that little bit of extra. Even 5hp more than other models with same engine. Just to make it slightly faster, at least in ones mind 😀

    Also, no 200hp models should be available today as an Aero (like my 9-3 Aero SC TTiD) that simply is not enough. For a smaller car even 150hp would be fine, but not with 1500kg+ Saab.

    Saab 900 Aero. There was no aero badge, that´s true. But Saab sold it (in Finland at least) since 1984. There is brochure of 900 Aero. Also there was TV commercial (1985) were they told about 900 Aero (black car in the ad) model. And if I look at my registration paper of my 900 Aero 1991, it says: Saab 900 Aero T16 combi.

  26. Set Aero badget for people who care about how the car looks. Put Griffin or Viggen badget for highest horse power for people who prefer that.

  27. As I remeber, when Saab wanted to sell the 900 Aero T16 in Germany, they where not allowed to use the name Aero because of Opel. They had a Opel Kadett Aero with Targa roof in the market and had the rigths for the name “Aero”. I have a prospekt in german about the 900 Aero whitch was never sold under this name in Germany.
    That is the reason whi I dont think, that a Saab Aero has a chance to be sold in Germany. By the way – I dont know about the actual rights about the name Aero for cars at this time.

  28. In the US…the SPG had a “body kit” of sorts…but not the “full” body kit such as the Carlssons in Europe had. In the US…and maybe other parts of the planet…that body kit was/is known as the SAAB Airflow Kit.

    The SAAB Airflow Kit was comprised of the same body side moldings as the SPG, but also included a completely different front & rear bumper cover, and wheel arch moldings. You could also purchase the Whale Tail and rear vent outlet covers, which could be painted to match, but were not a part of the Airflow kit.

    There were no fog lights included in the kit, but you could install the OEM fog lights (or aftermarket ones) if you desired. The kit actually came with grills to put in place of the fog lights, if you didn’t want them.

    My wife had an ’87 Malachite Green 900T with the full Airflow Kit, and all the extras, including a genuine Nardi steering wheel & matching wooden shift knob, and the Super Inca wheels. The car was in a very bad accident…but not totaled (that time)…so in the course of repairs, a new Airflow Kit had to be ordered. Not all the parts were used…and I still have some “leftovers”.

    After a second accident in 1990 left the car “shortened” TWO FEET…the car was finally laid to rest. 🙁

    But, parts of that car/Airflow Kit live on today on her ’90 Talladega Red SPG. Namely the Whale Tail and the rear vent covers, which I had painted to match the new car when we got it, and the wooden shift knob. The Nardi steering wheel is in storage.


    Her ’87 900T really turned heads when she had it. We live in a very affluent area with many Ferraris, Maserati’s, Aston Martins & more than a few high end 911s running around. And I can tell you that they ALL stopped and took a long a look at that car when it went by. It was a beauty.

  29. As an owner of two 9000 Aeros, I initially voted to not only keep “Aero” as top of the line in terms of both equipment and powerplant, but also as a limited edition badge only. There’s a certain cachet to having a 9000 Aero, being that there were only roughly 1000 made each year. Normally, I’m not that guy who has to have the ‘exclusive’ things, but I will admit that it does influence me. I bought my second Aero because knowing how rare they are, I couldn’t stand to see that one wind up in at the auto recycler’s. Consequently, I’m patching it up now (fingers crossed that the new shift rod bushing solves the transmission problem).

    But, in reading these comments, I have been swayed. I see the appeal of being able to order the Aero accouterments without (for local regulatory or tax reasons) having to fork over wheelbarrows of cash for the high-po motor. I’d also hate to think that an Aero is ruled out in certain markets due to those same regulatory/tax restrictions. I think a good compromise might be to simply make an Aero a limited edition short run which combines a unique body kit, and interior appointments with the highest performance engine available for a particular market.

    For example, the Aero in the U.S. could have the 2.8T, nifty front facia (which does look better, I agree), better / more supportive seats (like the 9000 Aero), and tweaked suspension, with a limited run of less than 1000 a year. In Italy, for example, an Aero might have a 2.0T, but give it the direct injected, tweaked ECU, extra juice mojo – with the same body and interior appointments, but still a limited run of cars like 500 or something (the number being proportional to overall sales in that country).

    Now, this might involve a little more work on Saab’s part, and makes things confusing, but I think ultimately, it makes for more marketable cars – because you’re building something that fits a need for that specific market.

  30. I voted for the Aero itiration to be the top flight model, but in South Africa, the Opel Astra OPC came with the OPC designation in both a normal aspirated engine turboed and diesel gasoil. I was sitting behind one recently transversing the country and cruising at speeds not allowed here, only to find out the darn thing (an Opel Astra OPC 3-door) was a diesel!

  31. The Saab 900 Aero was sold in Scandinavien from 1984 as Saab Turbo 16 Aero with 5 gear, 3 doors, rear spoiler, elec. sunroof, Cruise Control, APC, elec mirror and vindows, 30 mm. lower suspension and harder shock absorber and skirts all around . Options as Klima and leather interiur.

    Power from 175-185 HK depending on the year model.

    Most of the 900 Aero in Denmark was imported 4-8 years old from Germany, Sweden and US caused the tax system which made the 900 Aero the most expency Saab ever as a new Saab, about 500.000 – 650.000 Dkr in 1985 —— 90. – 100.000 US dollar.

    We bought our Aero in germany in 1995, model 1985 – 4.500 US Dollar and 7.500 US Dollar in tax all in all 12.000 US Dollar and the car had been driven 200.000 km and neded a repaint!

    We still use the 900 Aero, Just passed the police tjeck last week 680.000 km:


    Aero for ever!

  32. In my opinion the current use for the Aero is right, allowing to have the top trim level, even with not the most powerfull engine.
    Perhaps Saab could use again the name “Viggen” for a special version of the Saab 9-5 with more power than the current 2.8 V6 and the topest trim level.

  33. I like the title “Aero” for the most powerful Saab’s.
    “Aero” is nice and easy to pronounce in almost every language. And it means something to everybody (whatever that is).
    However, the title “Vigen” is not a so well pronounced name and it means something only to Swedish.

    Keep it simple Saab!

  34. Keep aero as a trimlevel and create a new top candidate. Aero has been watered down ever since the og 93, where later the 93 aero got the Viggen aero package watering down Viggen as well. Now you can make your 93 aero look like the Turbo x but for the romboid exhausts. Bye turbo x exclusiveness. I certainly understand this from a buissness perspective, but I bet some potentional aero buyers do not like this.
    The top level Saab is called “super aero” and has a moderate engine upgrade of about 15 % from the most powerful engine in each model line. On top of that there is the brembos, the super aero only rims, the super aero only bodykit and the super aero only interior style/colour. Throw in a sound and looks optimized exhaust and a unique paintjob. All done in a subtile Saab manner of course.
    The super aero sells for roughly 50.000 SEK (aprox 8.000 US) more than the aero and is limited in production numbers.
    In my fantasy it is.

    (Sorry Swade. Could’nt submit when you did the “try to create a Saab supercar with no funds” thing a couple of weeks ago because the super aero has not got +350 hp)

  35. I haven’t had a problem with Saab’s use of the “Aero” designation in the U.S., though I can understand some confusion. To me, the common theme of the Aero models is a sport suspension with sport seats, which convert the car from a sport/luxury sedan into a true sport sedan. This does not necessarily require the most powerful engine, or the most comprehensively equipped model. It’s akin to BMW’s “Sport Package,” which is available on all 3 Series variants. So a 9-5 Turbo4 Aero would have the 2.0T engine with sport seats and the sophisticated suspension currently available only the the V6 Aero model.

  36. I voted for Aero as a trim spec. The name is too diluted to turn the tide again. The solution:
    9-5 Viggen RS6 – E-class AMG – M5
    and in 2013!!
    9-3 Gripen RS4 – C-class AMG – M3

    A man can dream 🙂

    • +1

      Too late to turn the tide. Aero is fine as a ‘m-line’/ ‘s-line’ sports package.

      Viggen or Carlsson = M5 /RS6

  37. BMW do a fine job with their M Sport line whether it be petrol or diesel. Audi do the same with their S Line. These are not all top performance, nor do they have the ultimate bodykit. So there is room for Saab to adopt a similar approach if their customers don’t want to be limited by engine & trim. However that leaves the halo model problem again. I think there is life in the Viggen and Draken labels for future branding, but they need to be consistently applied!

  38. I said “special editions only” because I found the 93-97 9000 Aero to be really memorable and the classic example of what Aero branding really means. That is being lost. Right now, the 9-3 Aero is a joke and the 9-5 is not much better.

    Saab should make every Aero product a distinct and special product. Don’t make it one of the primary trim levels. Just make it a racy, power enhanced, sporty edition for the true enthusiasts. The concept is just like BMW M or Audi S-line. You don’t build a BMW M with a mid-level diesel 4 cylinder and an automatic.

    • That’s not entirely true though is it? You don’t get say an M3 with anything but the top end engine, but you do get a 318D M-Sport, just as you can get an A4 2.0TDi with S-line trim.

      The proper BMW “M” cars and Audi “RS” cars are quite different beasts to the M-Sport and S-line models…and even to an Aero, as they are much more specialised and performance focused. The Audi S cars (S3, S4, S6 etc) are closer to what I think the Aero should be – a range topper with a strong performance focus, but not a balls out performance car.

  39. The incident on the Danish Ferry Bergenfjord just 3 years ago 23. Februar a storm turned the ferry over longside when we got a wrong wave from Starboat. 80% of the cars was dammage, 3 container lorrys was turned over on the side and fres fish on the deck! and 250 people on board got there life expirience through 8 hours tour from Bergen to Egenssund, where we had to take refuge! before going to Denmark.


    The Saab 900 Aero was in between two 4×4 Toyota and we had to take the saab by a forklift , open the back door and enter the car! Then by tapeing both doors with gaffatape and nocking out the wings at the wheelhouse with a crowbar! the Saab was ready to go home the 400 km.

    The insurance took some time, because we did not have any on the old Veteran Saab – but by argument and a lot of mails and dokumentation of the value of a Saab Aero – no matter the year and the miles! we got 9.000 US Dollars to rebuild the car, and so we did.

    A Classic 900 Saab Aero will keep a high performance and value – even between 4×4 on a rolling boat.

  40. Personally I am a little disapointed that SAAB are offering V6 engines in the first place and it is un-thinkable that one would not be able to buy an “Aero” without a turbo-charged 4-cylinder engine.

  41. The poll is too narrow, it only asks about what to do with the Aero name

    As said above, Saab needs a denomination to differentiate between:

    (a) trim level: linear, arctic, vector, … like Volvo’s Kinetic, Momentum, Summum
    (b) sporty accents: spoilers, lowered suspension, … like Audi’s S-line or BMW’s M-line
    (c) performance: the best performing car of the lot, like a BMW M or Mercedes AMG

    I have no emotional attachment to either Aero or Viggen. But I do like the sound of “Draken” to indicate the highest performance model.

    What I also like is high performance cars with an understated appearance. The current Aero trims are too much in your face and too cheap looking for my taste.

  42. I hope that Saab follows Steven’s automatic Twitter updates, there’s always a lot of good and informative, relevant reading – straight from the customers.

  43. T16 Aero was sold in Scandinavia from 1984. It was an official designation here even though the cars did not have any “Aero” badges.

    I even have a couple of original price lists from back then where the 900 Aero is listed as Saab 900 Turbo16 AERO:
    http://www.lihikset.net/images/kuuppa/misc/Saab-esite/images/IMG_8285.jpg (August 1984)
    http://www.lihikset.net/images/kuuppa/misc/Saab-esite/images/IMG_8279.jpg (August 1986)

    It even read Saab 900 Turbo16 Aero in the registration papers. And there was a separate sales brochure for the Aero on some year I recall (I think it was 1984):

    But as to the poll itself – I think Aero should be reserved for top performance&trim level only.

  44. As WooDs said: AERO was used by GM for a European model Opel Kadett. It was an expensive Opel Kadett (type:C) with a sort of Targa roof (hence the name Aero).
    Build from 1976 to 1978 See http://www.aero-stammtisch.de/

    Saab wanted to use this name as a top model 900 Classic square nose with the new 16V 175 HP engine has shown in other comments . So the Aero model should have been a top performance model from the beginning.

    GM (who only became 50% owner in 1989) blocked the use of this name widely.
    So only after the ownership of GM the name Aero was available for SAAB.
    I agree with other commentator that SAAB should stick to a concept for there names. There are to many SE, Viggen, Vector, Arc, Linear etc names out there. I could go either way and keep the Aero name to the most powerful performance car. Although “Viggen” would do an excellent job as well. The name Aero is around for a longer time and has more history.
    To me the best current 9-5 Aero would be a hot high performance turbocharged straight 4! Preferable a 2.3 manual… not a V6 auto

  45. Linear and Vector should always be about the packaging. But I think that the “Aero”-name should be the most aggressive, toughest and meanest version of the specific model — both 4cyl and V6 (maybe Aero4 and Aero6) — definitely no diesel. Griffin, on the other hand, is for me about luxury — a bit like the older businessman’s choise. It could be the more elegant version, above the Vector, but obviously below the much more specialized Aero.

    The Viggen-name could be used for a completely new model, just like the Sonett had its own name. I’d sure love a sporty roadster called the Saab Viggen 🙂

  46. The 900 Turbo 16 Aero was the first production 16-valve turbocharged car ever when launched (think it was at Geneva in 1984). However Saab didn’t know that the Aero name was trademark protected by Opel who had a semi-convertible Opel Kadett called Aero at that time (sort of four-door car with large canvas sunroof). So Saab were forced to change the name of the car to Turbo 18S on most markets and in the US it was named Turbo16 SPG. However in the Nordic countries (Sweden, Norway,Denmark;Finland) Opel didn’t have the Aero naming protected, so consequently cars where sold there as Saab 900 Turbo 16 Aero. Later on GM came intothe picture and Saab was allowed to use the Aero name again when the 9000 Aero (at Geneva in 1993 I believe) was launched (see there one good thing with joining GM:). For a long time the Aero name was synonimous with the higest output engine (apart from 9-3 Viggen/ Turbo X) and a number of sporty exterior/interior attributes, including sports chassis.Since a couple of years there has also been a couple of other Aero engine options – still the ones with high output. You can see this as a sign of the times, when emissions an low fuel consumption is also part of a car’s performance.
    I think the Aero badging and cars are still very relevant, even if it includes the second-to-top-performance engines, because it provides a very appealing and sprorty model. However I think Saab need an “ultimate Hi-Po”model apart from the somewhat luxury-orx

    • (sorry computer error) continuing previous post:
      However I think Saab need an “ultimate Hi-Po”model apart from the somewhat luxury-oriented Aero. A Viggen, A TurboX, A Saab SUHRT – something very performance-single-minded.

    • Just going back to what I said earlier… the 900 Turbo 16 (similar in appearance to the Turbo 8v) was launched before the T16S/Aero/SPG in many markets – I think Saab were having problems with the pearlescent paint for a start. But the point I make is that the Aero is not necessarily the single most powerful Saab variant – for the T16S the differentiator was the bodykit – hence the ‘Aero’ label

  47. I think, the Aero-nametag is OK for being used as a sporty trim-level, like Audi’s S-line. Then we’ll have Linear, Vector and Aero. Forget about the confusing Linear Sport, Premium etc…

    When that’s said, I also think we should have a whole line of Viggens. And those Viggens, should indeed be the most powerfull of each model. No nonsense! Like BMW’s M’s, Audi’s RS etc.

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