Sunday, September 26, 2010

2010 Saab 9-5 Aero

The car:
2010 Saab 9-5 Aero
2.8L V6 Turbo
300 hp @ 5,500 rpm, 295 lb-ft @ 2,200 rpm
4465 lb
No sunroof (WTF?!?!?!)
Fully loaded (with gadgets)
Fully loaded (with four people)

Honestly... I was rather unimpressed with the speed. We drove to the dealership in a (stock) '95 9000 Aero, and it was at least as fast as the new 9-5 Aero. The 9000 actually felt faster, but that could easily have had to do with the suspension set up.

Also, the 9-5 was an auto.

Which brings me to my next point... horribly slow transmission. Very slow to shift. The paddle shifts are very slow to react (hit the redline many times because of it). Throttle response I felt was... ok. There is definitely turbo lag in this car. Definitely.

Now, aside from those points, it's a downright incredible car! And don't get me wrong, she still hauls @$$ down the road. Soon as I got on the highway, I floored it (in sport mode of course). The car turned on the power, gently set us back in our seats, and we accelerated. And then we kept accelerating. And kept accelerating. At 105 we were still accelerating at the same pace, and I decided to let off the gas a bit... being dead in the middle of Indianapolis. It may not hurtle you like a rocket ship to 100mph, but that sure doesn't mean it has any problems AT ALL getting you there. It's just.... a a gentleman's ride to 100 or a 150 mph.

It was also dead silent in the car at 105 mph. Dead silent. Both because all my passengers weren't saying a word, and because the road, the car, and the other cars on the highway... may as well have been non-existent. Vibrations at 105 mph? Ha! Not there. If I wasn't in the far-left lane, watching the median fly past me (and the brilliantly lit HUD), I'd have had absolutely no idea how fast I was going. A gentleman's ride to triple digits.

The handling... well I honestly don't know really. I was either in downtown Indy, or on a busy highway in Indy.... hard to tell. My friend Andrew (some of you met him at the Save Saab Convoy) went to Aero academy and therefore felt a little more confident throwing her through the super tight, downtown intersections than I did. It sure did hold on. I was thrown quite rapidly in the edge of my (back) seat. The steering was very precise and I always felt like I had a firm grip on the road. Good feedback from the tires all the way to my fingertips.

I found the back seats great by the way. I'm six feet tall exactly, and my head had about an inch to spare. Maybe two... not sure. Plenty of leg room - lots of it!

Now, from a 19 year old's perspective, I think the interior looked fantastic! I didn't see anything I would have considered to be cheap parts. Granted... I've never been on the inside of a BMW M5 or whatever the Audi version is that they're competing against.

Oh yea... it had cup holders! Soooo awesome!

The seats were extremely comfortable. Heated seats worked well and on that 62 degree day, I was warmed up very quickly by the seat while my passengers kept their cool (as they requested). However, I still have yet to find any seats that I like more than a 9000 Aero. I've never been in a seat more comfortable than 9000 Aeros. Even the back seats in those things are more comfortable than most cars' front seats.

And like eevveerryyybody else says, YES the car is way better looking in person than in the photos. Not to say photos make it look bad.... they just don't do it full justice. It is a beautiful car - and SO SAAB.

Pictures available here:

------ Update: This is my reply to someone's comment in a forum ------

I was far more interested in the car, and never really played with the stereo... at all. I just left it the way the dealer set it. The touch screen didn't seem to obvious/intuitive though. I think it would do them a lot of good to put Android OS in there. THAT would be awesome. Put an OS on there that thousands of users are already familiar with.

Personally, I think the styling of everything is great. The only part I didn't like was all the buttons for the radio/temp control/center console. I'm sure, if you read the manual, it's pretty simple. But at a quick glance.... that's a LOT of buttons. It's the kind of thing where, you loan it to a friend or child or wife or something and, if they've never seen the car before, they're going to have REAL trouble adjusting the temperature or A/C while driving.

Scandinavian minimalism? Eh.. on the outside, absolutely. Inside? No. But then again, the 9-5 isn't supposed to be minimalistic on the inside. I do believe it could use some simplification on the inside, but I think the outside styling is GORGEOUS and SO SAAB!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

1989 Saab 900 w/ 20,7XX miles... and it's mine

Well, actually, it's only mine until you buy it. I am currently asking $7,500 for it. You can see it here:

Anyway, to the story behind that car.
About a month ago - maybe 2 - I received an eMail regarding a Saab for sale with only 20k miles. First thoughts, 'Well that's nice. Too bad this kind is always 10x my budget and 1,000 miles away.' Then I actually read the eMail, and learned the car was located a mere 45 minutes from my house... in St. Louis. Now, for those that aren't aware, Saabs are very uncommon in St. Louis. And Saab enthusiasts with enough disposable income to buy such a car are an even rarer commodity. With this in mind, I immediately called the phone number in the eMail, if for no other reason than just to say WOW to the owner.

Turns out the previous owner passed away a few months ago, and her children (let's call the one I talked with, Susie, for the sake of privacy) were looking to sell it. Susie is located on the east coast, and knows nothing about Saab(s) in general, especially this one. When I told Susie that there was no way I could afford such a magnificent car, she understood perfectly, but was willing to let me test drive the car in return for me providing her with educated feedback which she could then pass on to interested (and better funded) parties than I. As far as I was aware, nothing could have made me happier. I got to drive the car I love, practically as it came from the factory.

It was incredible. New cars today make my car feel old. Those that aren't quite as in touch with driving might explain it simply as, "lots of noise over bumps and stuff," but there's far more than that - such as suspension feel, weight of the steering wheel, rigidity of the chassis, the seats, and other aspects. Before I drove this car, I thought new cars were just better. I thought they were better tuned, stronger, more comfortable. They're not. They're just newer. When I recovered this rare artifact and (jumped the battery then) test drove her through Clayton, it felt new. It felt as new as today's new cars. The only difference? It was developed 30 some years ago, and built 21 years ago!

I called some people, and everyone said the exact same thing, "DON'T LET IT GO!" Eventually, I was convinced to do whatever it would take to acquire this car. The end result: I created a business plan with my aunt. She would front all the money to buy and fix the few things that needed fixing and I would do all of the work required to fix and sell it. So I called Susie back and said, basically, "I'm a cool guy and I know you like me. Why don't you sell the car to me for $2,500 and I'll take it out of the garage so you can go ahead with selling the house?" It took some convincing, but she gave it. It was mine.

I spent the entire week before college fixing things, replacing the alternator, changing fluids, recovering some cloth pieces, wash/polish/wax, etc. And driving it. It is so amazing. Anyway, as agreed with my aunt, I now must sell the car. And I have no problems with this. It is a naturally aspirated and automatic version of the car - both of which are big problems with me. There is nothing wrong with them - I just am tired of N/A power and I MUST have a stick shift.

So basically, all I'm trying to say is, BUY MY SAAB!

Saab Guy