Geneva Snippets – 9-3x Edition

I’ve finally made my landing in Geneva and it was great to hit terra firma again after 36 hours from door to door. There’s just no easy way of getting from Tasmania to Europe. At least I’ve signed up for frequent flyer points this time 🙂

I met my hosts, Marc and Priska at the airport and got a ride to their home in their Saab 9-3x. More about them and that car later, it’s a great story.

Tomorrow night, we dine with Dimitri and Fredric (from, our unofficial ambassador Saab in the UK, Robin M and Mr Redj himself. If others are in the area and want to join us, just let me know. I’m sure we can expand the booking.


And speaking of the Saab 9-3x, a comparative test has been published pitting the smaller Saab Softroader against the Volvo V60. The magazine is a Danish one called Dine Penge.

I’ll let you go there and do a full Googletrans (they might not like it if I post the full test here), but it’s encouraging reading considering their setup of a brand new model vs an eight-year-old platform.

Jesper has provided an edited version and here are some highlights from it:

When you consider that the Saab 9-3 in its current form is merely a continuous facelift of a model which was introduced way back in 2002, then it is in its place with a solid and heartfelt “Wow!” It has oceans of surplus, a tight and comfortable chassis, lots of equipment and so have the X factor. It has its own on an amazing charming way, with the key located below the front seats and the curved aircraft windscreen. While most new cars today will run in the same direction, then Saab is not afraid to stick out. To be completely his own. And particularly in the tested 9-3X version has more character than Ole Ernst’s eyebrows together…..

…..Volvo comes to a basic version with D3 diesel engine 503,000 crowns ($93,000). But you must have it in an equipment level that matches Saabs, then it will come much closer to 600,000 crowns ($111,000). The 9-3X is priced at 499,900 crowns ($92,000), and it is really well equipped. Oil burner(parking heater?), xenon headlamps, electric chairs, cool rims and everything you expect of comfort features in a car in half million is present in the Saab. Only thing missing is a navigation device, but it can be bought for 42,500 crowns together with a solid upgraded stereo and it’s close to what they in the U.S. call ‘Fully Loaded’. That speaks so much to the Saab’s advantage when accounts must be made up.

Audi A4 Avant with 170 horsepower costs about the same as the Volvo, while the BMW 320d Touring is 100,000 crowns ($18,000) more expensive. Seen in this light, the Saab 9-3X is a really very prestigious estate car for the money. Volvo, is in itself the best car of the two Swedes – and it would be strange otherwise, because the basic structure is eight years later. But should I choose, I would be in doubt. Because the Saab is so damn cool, and it turns significantly more heads in traffic than the Volvo.

It’s a review well worth the reading. The above seems like a long passage, but it’s really just a small part of it.


You wouldn’t believe it, but here in suburban Geneva, at around 3pm, I just saw a black Dodge Challenger.

And earlier this week, back in Hobart, I saw a new Chevy Camaro. Considering they don’t sell them in Australia, someone’s gone to great expense to pay an importer to get one here and swap the steering to the other side. They’ve possibly paid upwards of $100K for what is a $30,000 or so car in its home market.


Saab’s press conference is scheduled for 11:45am tomorrow, Geneva time.

RedJ has already noted the live coverage that the Geneva people will be providing. We’ll be getting all we can up on site as soon as possible.


A couple of CSI-watching Saab fans noted a Saab 95 being shown in a recent episode. Here’s a couple of screencaps…..

Tuesday Night Snippets

Another piece of small market sales data…..

I’ve just heard there were 11 Saabs sold in Singapore in January 2011. Small numbers, sure, but considering they only sold 13 all year in 2010, it’s a very encouraging start.

The Saab 9-5 was launched in Singapore on January 5 (and check out the interior panel!)


RedJ has made contact and is working on a story about this….. which should be quite interesting


Speaking of engineering, TTELA report that Saab’s engineering reorganisation continues. This was first reported via press release last month.

According to TTELA, around two thirds of the 200 employees have been re-deployed to other areas within Saab. There are negotiations with employees for supported severance packages, which are mainly being taken up by those closer to retirement age.


It was nice to see the Playsam Saab model included in a WSJ toys article over the weekend…..


A red Saab 9-3x – otherwise known as my current dreamSaab.

Owned by Stefan, who’s loving the XWD system in the Swedish winter.


Hirsch steering wheel

You might recall that one of our SU regulars, Till72, visited Hirsch’s headquarters in Switzerland last week. I posted his remarks about taking a quick drive in Rene Hirsch’s personal whip – a new Saab 9-5.

The other reason Till made the journey was to have a new Hirsch performance leather steering wheel fitted to his Saab 9-3x. It goes nicely with his Hirsch carbon leather interior and engine tune 🙂


Hirsched again…

One of the reasons for my trip to Switzerland was that I got the new steering wheel for my 9-3x. I fell in love with it as I saw it for the first time at the Hirsch open day back in August.

The airbag and the controls are kept from the original part so you also keep your black or silver covers and only the wheel itself is changed. It was done in about half an hour.

After having it installed for a week now I can say that I really like the feel of the stronger shaped design. Your hands easily find a safe and comfortable position. The perforated leather adds it’s part to the great feel, too. I also realized that for tall people like me the flat bottom makes it easier to get into the car.

The steering wheel completes the Hirsch interior of my 9-3x and adds some sportiness. I love it.

Saab Australia to launch Saab 9-3x January 2011

UPDATED: see below

It’s great to see some new content on the Saab Australia website….

Customers on dealer databases should have received an email recently, informing them of the update and the impending arrival of the first shipment of vehicles from Sweden in more than 18 months (and quite possibly longer than that).

The email indicates that the Saab 9-3x will be released for sale in January 2011, which is fantastic news. The Saab 9-3x will be available in XWD/petrol models only and pricing isn’t on site yet.

Welcome back, Saab Australia!


UPDATE: According to the latest issue of Go Auto’s Motor Monthly (pdf), the Saab 9-5 should be seen in Australia around April 2011, with the Saab 9-4x coming very late in the year, or early 2012.

Thanks Peh!

Maybe, in a year from now…..

One of the great frustrations (and ironies) about me running this website is that I’ve never bought a new Saab. I’ve never bought a new car of any make, actually. It’s not something that sits that well with me given that I’m a staunch supporter of the brand but my wife and I have financial plans that involve paying off our house as the #1 priority. I guess you could say I try to make up for the lack of buying by doing other things (e.g. you’re reading one of them right now).

The good news is that the end of our mortgage purgatory is now within sight. It’s still going to take a year or so, but we’re almost getting to the point where I can start looking around and thinking about the Saab I’d like to buy.

A small tangent…..

I must be getting old or something. Even just two years ago, I could spend hours on motoring classified websites, trawling through the various cheapies I’d like to buy. I’ve bought a few of them over the years, too. Older Saabs, Alfas and even a Mazda MX-5. I look at those sites now, though, and there’s very little (aside from unattainable Porsches) that holds any interest for me anymore.

Must be time to start thinking new. /tangent

Whilst I absolutely love the Saab 9-5, I have to concede that it would be too expensive for us given what I would expect the Aussie price to be. It’s also bigger than what I think my wife would be comfortable driving.

A Saab 9-3 is more our style and ever since I drove a Saab 9-3x for a week in Sweden last year, it’s been my absolute favourite model in the 9-3 range.

So….. perfect world scenario, here’s what I’d be getting (built on the Saab GB website)

My Saab 9-3x

That’s a Saab 9-3x in Laser Red, with the TTiD engine and FWD.

The interior is the more spartan textile/leather combination in black and grey. There’s something about it that suits the more utilitarian nature of the car for me.

My Saab 9-3x Int

Options would include the Prestige Pack, comprising electric memory seats and the BOSE upgraded audio and Bluetooth.

I don’t particularly need XWD where I live and I’d be very happy to get the combined frugality and performance of the 180hp and 400Nm TTiD engine.

Well, kind of…..

Given that this would be the first new car purchase (and assuming it’ll be available here in Australia) I’d try and make it a little special by going for the Hirsch software upgrade. This would lift the output to 200hp and 430Nm without any loss in economy or warranty coverage. The 0-100 sprint is only marginally faster, but the 80-120 push is significantly quicker (as it should be with Saabs).

Whilst burying my nose in the Hirsch order book, I’d also spring for the Carbon Leather dashboard to dress up the interior. Their sportier steering wheel might also come into calculations, depending on the budget.

My Saab 9-3x Side

So, all going well, this is the car I’d like to be telling you all about – finally – in around 12-18 months from now.

It’ll have been a long haul from being a newbie blogger with an old 99Turbo to this, but it’s a journey well worth taking.

Saab 9-3x on The Amazing Race

We mentioned during the week that the Saab 9-3x was featuring on The Amazing Race TV Show. I was pleased to find out that video is now available online.

The 9-3x does feature quite a bit in this episode, though there’s not much there to identify it by name. Still, it was great to see it feature so prominently in such a popular program.

Those sleds are cool, too.


Thanks to Sapan for the tip!

Saab 9-3x used on The Amazing Race

Anyone watch The Amazing Race?

It’s a show where a bunch of couples (be they couples, or siblings, parent/child or just old buddies) go from country to country having to solve a bunch of puzzles and challenges to get through to the next round.

We’ve had one comment and I’ve had one direct email today saying that the latest episode of The Amazing Race featured the Ice Hotel in Kiruna, with contestants driving around in Saab 9-3x’s.

Cue the generic cold Saab photo…..

Apparently you might be able to see the episode online at the CBS website, starting some time in the next 24 hours.

It’s great publicity for Saab, with winter coming in the US and the 9-3x being shown in it’s natural habitat. Great stuff.

Problem combining Saab 9-3x, SonyEricsson Xperia x10 and Spotify

I shared a video showing the easy coupling between the SonyEricsson Xperia x10 and the new Saab 9-5 just yesterday.

Overnight, I received a message from a guy named Stefan H, outlining the problems he was having combining his Saab 9-3x, the X10 and the Spotify music service (only available in selected countries).

From Stefan:

I got myself a new SonyEricsson Xperia X10 in the belief that I would be able to connect it to my 9-3x’s stereo thru the phone connector, and then start using the online music service Spotify premium (available in Sweden, Norway, Finland, the UK, France, Spain and the Netherlands).

But…….. Between everyyyyyy melody there are two (exactly two) loud disturbing clicks. I dont believe they are healthy for neither the loudspeakers nor the car stereo.

Where did I do wrong? Does anyone else experience the same problem? Anyone with a solution? Does the same thing happen with an iPhone? Is it the mobile phone? Is it Spotify? The cable? Or the car stereo?

If you’ve had a similar experience, or if you have a solution to Stefan’s issue, please feel free to enlighten us all in comments.

Personally, I don’t have a phone or a car that’s capable of such wizardry, even if I could get acces to Spotify (which I can’t). I’m about as useless as a poopchute in a spacesuit on this one.

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