Saab 9-3 Sportwagon: Test Drive (continued)
15 June 2007
|Category:|| Compact exec|
|Key rival:|| BMW 3-series|
We plumped for the all-new twin turbo 180PS 1.9 diesel engine that employs a small turbo for improved low down response and a bigger blower for more power in the upper rev range.
It works. Where the 150PS version of the same engine is knobbled by woeful gear ratios, the TTiD is flexible in all gears. But it isn't all that refined - sounding a little gruff when stretched, the model we drove also allowed a slight and unpleasant engine vibration to intrude into the cabin through pedals and firewall. The gearchange was also below par and noticeably notchier than the petrol.
All 9-3s have received a chassis rethink with subtle alterations in suspension settings. Even with the 'sports' suspension the ride coped well, isolating the driver from the harshest roads, although expansion joints and smaller, broken up asphalt were poorly dealt with.
Handling, like before, is grippy, and the car is secure on the 17-inch alloys, but ultimately it's not as much fun as some of its competition. This could change, however, if the TTiD engine receives the forthcoming clever 4x4 we tried on a 280PS 2.8 that further hinted at a glorious return of Saabism.