The 93, introduced in 1997, was originally just a rebadged 900 but was succeeded by a redesigned 9-3 in 2003. The second generation 9-3 was given a facelift in 2012 before production ended in 2014.The Viggen models of the early 93's are rare and collectable now. Early convertibles are still reasonably priced, as are second generation Aero models. The Aero models come in two flavours with the more common 2.0 litre turbo engined version with 210bhp and the rarer 2.8 V6 verison with 250bhp. Both offer impressive performance.
2.0T Aero 210bhp 0-60 7.4 seconds Top speed 146mph
2.8 V6 Areo 250bhp 0-60 6.5 seconds Top speed 155mph (Ltd)
2.8 XWD V6 Aero 276bhp 0-60 6.1 seconds Top speed 155mph (Ltd)
Maximum # of Registrations = 141744
Latest # of Registrations = 106116
Saab 9-3 Aero.
The original Saab 93 came out in 1998 and was a reworked 900 which had been “upgraded” to the GM platform 3 years before when GM took over Saab. In 2003 the second generation 93 came out with a revised platform that it shared with the Vauxhall Vectra, and a new line up of engines, the range topper being the 2.0l turbo. This engine produced 210bhp and gave the Aero model that it was installed in a 0-60 time of 7.5 seconds and a top speed of 140mph.
Now I have never driven a Vauxhall Vectra (and I'm in no hurry to do so either) so I can't really comment on how they compare as a driving experience. From what I understand though, Saab did make a lot of changes to the standard GM platform, though how many of them were to the suspension and steering I can't say. Certainly there are lots of parts that are interchangeable with the Vectra some maybe I have driven one after all. The engine is also Vauxhall's, the 2.2L that you would find in the VX220 though the capacity has been reduced to 2.0L by shortening the stroke, which should make it a more revvy engine.
To be honest, its not a car that you feel the need to, or would really want to rev hard, instead it gathers speed in a rather regal, civilised manner, though with an authoritative shove, as befits a car that is the preserve of the polo neck jumper wearing architect. That's not to say its dull, far from it indeed, as there is a good deal of power to call on, meaning it can lay on the entertainment when asked.
The ride and handling are also tuned for a more grown up style of progress, with a firm but not bone shacking ride and the turn in is positive and composed, though maybe not as crisp and precise in the corners as say a BMW 3 Series. My only real complaint about the ride is that the suspension does seem a bit noisy, low speed bumps in particular do make themselves heard in the cabin, not sure if this is a Saab characteristic or whether it is something they do with age (the one I drove was showing 118k).
Another criticism is with the interior which really does fail to live up to the cars upmarket aspirations. At first glance all looks well, with a stylish looking dash board, replete with lots of buttons and digital displays, look closer though and things like the cheap scratchy plastics and rattly fittings do spoil the ambience somewhat. Its not what I would call low rent, it just doesn't feel like it was hewn from solid granite and is certainly not an interior that the likes of VW would sign off on.
Overall the Saab 93 Aero is a good car, its refined, plenty fast enough for most mortals, comfortable and has a good reputation for reliability, but is sadly let down a bit by a questionable interior (which is what happens when you let the bean counters design a car).
The car that I am driving has 118k miles and drives very well, everything feels tight as a nut, so the 9-3 would appear to have the ability to cope with high miles. There are a few issues to look out for which get mentioned in the forums a lot, firstly the front and rear suspension drop links seem to have a very short life expectancy and will let you know when they have had it with some sharp banging when ever you over a bump, which will be a lot in this country. Fortunately they are cheap and easy to replace. Another issue is the SAI value (its a long story so best to Google it) which is a relentless problem but is only fitted to the 2003 models. One thing I noticed while driving the test car was the slightly weak syncromesh when cold, and again, this has been mentioned as a week point with the GM box though more than a few people have said a change of oil makes a big difference.
So to the million dollar question, is it a future classic, to which the answer is, errrr, ummm.....
Difficult to say really, its a likeable car but does it have any stand out features that really make you hanker after one. And the answer has to be no. Give it a few years and a drop in numbers on the road and a good example will attain some value, just not for a year or two.
The 2.8 XWD Aero with its 276bhp V6 engine is another matter, but I believe there are only about 15 of them out there. So catch one if you can.