This article is from our archives and has not been updated and integrated with our "new" site yet... Even so, it's still awesome - so keep reading!
Published on Mon, Jul 7, 2008
By: The LACar Editorial Staff
Â© All photos by Harvey Schwartz
of a Classic
By Harvey Schwartz
Return of a Classic By Harvey Schwartz
While the Saab convertibles are popular among auto aficionados, owning one in yellow is an extra sunny experience. The first-ever yellow version of the Saab convertible, issued in 1991, now enjoys collector car status, just as well-kept copies of the 1997 version are starting to get equally sought after. Yet, for those preferring the attractions of an all-new open Saab, the third time may be the charm. This summer, yellow is back in a limited edition that is unprecedented in the current generation Saab convertible-without a doubt, a future classic. The Saab convertible Yellow Edition is based on the 2.0T version, its 2.0 liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine combining spirited performance with 210hp and 221lb.ft. of torque. Add to this a standard 6-speed manual or optional 5-speed automatic, and you'll appreciate the excellent fuel economy. In addition to its Lynx yellow paint and a long list of standard equipment, including XM radio and OnStar, this special edition features Saab Aero styling cues such as 17X8 5-spoke, alloy wheels, and a subtle, yet effective rear spoiler, while the premium audio system will be music to your ears.
Saab pioneered the concept of a four-season, four-seater soft top with the launch of the first Saab convertible in 1986, which was initially exclusively sold in the U.S. and immediately created a cult following. Now in its third-generation, the Saab convertible leverages more than two decades of experience in designing an open-top car that is as practical as it is stylish and safe. The new Saab convertible has a level of structural integrity, build quality and running refinement that places it at the very top of its class. Like the 9-3 sedan, the convertible received a 2008 Top Safety Pick by the U.S. Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, following its first-ever crash tests for open cars last year. The convertible Dyna-Cage system helps to provide rollover protection with pop-up rear roll bars strengthened A-pillars and sills, and automatic seat-belt pre-tensioning. Saab Active Head Restraints are fitted to the front seats as standard to help counter the risk of neck injury in rear-end impacts.
Innovative product features further develop the Saab concept that an open-top car should be 'more than a convertible' by offering effective transport of all the year round. Saab Re-Axs, a unique rear wheel steering characteristic in the kinematics of suspension, contributes to the responsive chassis dynamics, as does the reinforcement of the front, rear and side structures to compensate for the absence of a fixed roof. On the road the convertible delivers all the fun-to-drive qualities of the widely-acclaimed 9-3 sport sedan chassis. Scandinavian design ensures the styling is clean and flowing with a powerful front end including a larger aluminum grille, small side grilles and semi-overwrap-style hood. This is an open-top car that looks like a unique model in its own right, free from any awkward styling compromises-regardless whether the top is down or up. The hydraulically-powered, triple-layer roof automatically latches to the windshield header and deploys just 20 seconds, making it among the fastest in its class. The innovative CargoSET function connects the roof operation to a flexible, 'concertina' storage well in the trunk. When the roof is up, the well automatically retracts, releasing useful storage space. When the roof is up there is plenty of head room and a minimum of outside noise.
The interior shares the cockpit feel and driver-focused themes of the Saab 9-3 sport sedan and Sport Combi. Particular emphasis was placed on styling that integrates the rear passenger area, including a light colored, near seamless headlining that gives a fixed-head interior ambience. A U-shaped, Surround Trim extends from the base of A-pillars along the top to the doors, rear side trims and tonneau cover, further integrating the interior and exterior. For ease of use and convenient rear access, the Saab convertible front seats have an extended travel and integrated seat-belts, which eliminate the need for attachment to the B-pillar, and the top of each seat has a satin aluminum pull-up that easily folds the seat back forward for further ease of entry and exit in the rear. The 9-3 turbo interior is roomy and luxurious using premium materials and generously equipped with standard features such as dual-zone automatic climate control, 8-way power driver's seat, power windows, power side mirrors, wood-effect trim, front side window de-misters, rain-sensing wipers, cooled and illuminated glove box, plush carpet floor mats, a center console with good storage, dual map lamps, a center stack with easy-to-use dials. The instrument panel is trimmed in real aluminum and features a large 160 mph speedometer, 7,000 rpm tachometer, boost gauge, fuel and engine coolant temperature gauges. The standard audio system is a pleasure to the ears and features a 150-watt premium AM-FM radio with seven speakers, CD player and MP3 compatible auxiliary input jack. Options include a 300-watt premium Surround Sound audio system with 10-speakers, wind-blocker, and parking assist. Saab developed the 2.0 liter I-4 turbo to balance high fuel efficiency with high torque (221 pound-feet) for confident passing. Precise, highly sensitive throttle control, adaptive torque delivery and smooth power-on/power-off characteristics are benefits of Saab's Trionic-8 engine-management system.
The Saab 9-3 Turbo chassis is pinned to the ground using Saab's unique and proven fully independent suspension geometry. Up front are MacPherson struts, gas-charged shocks, anti-roll bar, and a hydro-formed sub-frame. The rear features a four-link setup with toe-link, coil springs, gas-charged shock absorbers, anti-roll bar, sub-frame and Re-Axs rear-wheel steering system. There is hardly an evidence of both cowl shake over rough roads or torque steer during a hard launch. While the suspension is tuned a little to the soft side because of the extra weight it still grips the road solidly straight-ahead and on the curves. The precise power-assisted rack & pinion steering system makes the 9-3 Turbo Convertible go where you point it to without any hesitation. The on-center feel and feel for the road are excellent. Quickly and safely slowing the car down from speed are large, steel disc brakes. Up front are 11.14-inch vented discs clamped with large, dual-piston calipers, while the rear solid discs measure 10.87 and are clamped with single-piston calipers. ABS, traction control and electronic stability control help you maintain braking control during severe braking maneuvers or on slick or wet pavement. Keeping you safe is a long list of safety features including adaptive front airbags, head/torso side-impact airbags, HID headlamps, halo remote lighting, front/rear crush zones, 3-point safety belts for four seats, tire pressure monitoring system and daytime running lamps. The all-new 2009 Saab 9-3 Turbo Convertible is very competitive against the Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz convertibles in the same segment. The 2009 Saab 9-3 Turbo Convertible Yellow Edition has a base price of $42,830.00, including destination.
Â© Words and pictures by Harvey Schwartz SUMMARY JUDGMENT A very civilized screaming yellow zonker. For more information about Saab products, go to saabusa.com More photos from Harvey Schwartz can be found at www.autofotos.com
SPECIFICATIONS Name: 2009 Saab 9-3 Turbo Convertible Lynx Yellow Special Edition Price: $42,830.00 Engine: 2.0 liter, inline 4-cylinder, all-aluminum, DOHC with VVT Horsepower: 210 at 5,500 rpm Torque: 221 lb-ft. at 2,5000 rpm EPA miles per gallon estimate: Not available Drive configuration: Front engine/front-wheel-drive Transmission: 6-speed manual/5-speed automatic with semi-automatic shifting Front suspension: MacPherson struts, gas shocks, anti-roll bar, hydroformed sub-frame Rear suspension: 4-link including toe link, coil springs, gas shocks, anti-roll bar, sub-frame, Re-Axs rear-wheel steering system Wheels/tire: 17X7.5 five spoke alloy/235/45R17in. all-season Continental ConTac performance tires Brakes: Front: 11.14-in. vented with dual-piston calipers Rear: 10.87-in. solid discs with single-piston calipers ABS, electronic brake force distribution, brake assist, traction control, electronic stability control standard Overall length: 182.4 in. Overall width: 69.3 in. Overall height: 56.4 in. Curb weight: 3,520 lbs