Hello, I’m Alex. After the nice offer from TimR, to become a guest writer, I told myself, that after reading about all the troubles Saab currently has, I have to share feelings about driving my great MY2007 Saab 9-3 Convertible Aero with Hirsch performance upgrade. I truly believe that a company producing such great cars will survive and will be successful after the production restart.
“One day …” I’ve heard myself to whisper. It was the year 2004, we finished our bands soundcheck at one of our few commercial appearances : an introduction of a new Saab model in a nice theatre on the right Danube river bank. Someone asked the organisators to uncover the thing on the stage for a moment, before the audience come. They did it. Whoaahh … I forgot to breathe and reminded myself to close my mouth, tried to imitate a poker face. It was a wonderful lime yellow 9-3 Aero Convertible. The spotlights for the stage, just tested, even empowered the atmosphere of the moment. “One day … i will drive this”.
This was only one of the many moments, where a Saab converted me into a babbling being, lowering my seriousness as well as objectivity to a minimum. The ability of artifical things to dampen thinking for a while always fascinates me.
The “One day …” came last year. I needed a car, I’ve decided for a fun car, so a 3 year old Jet Black 9-3 Aero Convertible upgraded by Hirsch to 275HP / 400Nm landed in my garage. It is car number nine for me, I didn’t expect that Saab would surprise me too much by anything except that it is a convertible. The opposite was true. It enchanted me from the first moment and holds on until today. The whole appearance, the charisma and the feeling behind the steering wheel. The obvious newcomer drives came – roof up, roof down, all kind of roads and conditions, incl.an absurd 50km drive in -10°C cheating the roof in warmer conditions. My girlfriend loves it as well, but with my nearly unhealthy affection to the car makes her a bit afraid to drive it.
This car changed my behavior while driving. Instead of using the shortest routes and highways, I choose nice roads and country highways whenever the time allows it. I have a camera with me, always. Being a member of the Saab community and an unofficial fanclub forces me not to destroy the name, so I drive as decent as I can. However in my semi-developed home country (though EU member), where to be tailgated by TDI-drivers is a national sport, it is sometimes hard to resist showing them a boot of a strange car disappearing on the horizon.
Unfortunately, the attempt to call him Julius failed. He somehow didn’t respond to that, so it’s simply Saab or “cabrio”.
Why a Saab convertible ? Unlike others, it doesn’t look aggressive like a shark, neither like a futuristic kitchen robot or like a remix of 40+ years old design ideas. It maintains its own face. It doesn’t awake enviousness and it is only a very minor object of thieves. The two back seats expand luggage space for a 2 people vacation. The feeling to drive something unconventional. The community willing to help. Safety. I’ve heard about someone making 4 tumbles with roof down without any serious injuries. I don’t care about it’s a GM product. The pre-GM Saabs are fantastic but 12+ years old cars need simply more maintenance.
My previous car was an S60 T5. It had a less typical atmosphere inside but was very nice as well. The turbo started to pull earlier but also earlier lost its breath. The chassis was softer and the feeling was to drive a heavier car than it really was. While trying it on a race circuit, it always had an open boot in the finish. But it was a good car for long highway drives on business trips. Two comparable things were better at the S60 – the seats and the speakers.The 9-3 Convertible Aero appears to like curves more, the turbo comes a bit later but holds longer. Fuel economy is close to equal the T5. The emotional side of the Saab is a huge advantage to any other car on the same level. It is built for people who enjoy driving, that’s an important thing for me.
I truly believe, the “one day…” wasn’t 5 minutes to 12. Good luck Saab !