Saab vs. Porsche

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Before people start ranting that this is a blog purely for Saabs, let me validate the reasoning behind the post. I happened to mention that when not driving one of my Saabs, I also drive a classic Porsche 911, this got picked up by a fellow Saabist who asked if it would be appropriate to compare the experience? So, here we are, Saab vs. Porsche.

The Porsche is ’91 964 Carrera 4, 3.6 flat six, air cooled, modified and tuned to kick out some 280hp, in my eyes, it’s one of the most iconic cars ever crafted, I used to dream of owning a 911, and this was the model that did it for me when I was younger.

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I don’t own the Porsche to have it sitting around, it was bought to use and abuse, all year round, in all weathers, and that’s what I do on a regular basis, I don’t need a destination in mind, I just jump in and head out, often for a 50 – 100 mile B road blast, this is a car bought purely for pleasure.

Midway through a recent drive, I got a phone call to collect my son from an estate he works at, the Porsche isn’t the car to go in, so I made my way home, hopped out of the Porsche and in to the Saab 9-3 convertible, with a similar bhp of 300 – it seemed like the perfect opportunity to compare 2 very different (but similar in many ways) cars.

I won’t waste time debating the aesthetics of either car, both are beautiful, and imho, neither have ever been bettered, which brings me directly to the driving experience.

The Porsche is raw, I mean really raw, I like to call in an analogue experience, although it has PAS and ABS, we’re talking minimal intrusion, it manages to connect you directly to the road, you become part of the car quickly and with ease, you feel every trace of the road, every curve. It also feels exceptionally low and rather small compared to most modern cars.

The 3.6 air cooled, flat six produces a very distinct soundtrack, the shear noise is heavenly – although reasonably subtle at lower rpm, at around 4000 rpm it breaks in to the purest scream which keeps on building and building right through to 6500 rpm, it really is captivating. The steering is so on point it’s hard to imagine anything better, the gears are again, pure analogue, you feel the beautifully engineered H box as it slips from gear to gear, and the handling gives you the confidence to power on through corners in pretty much any weather.

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I did a 1000 miles in a week recently, I drove it up to North Wales, through Snowdonia and to the coast, I took it in to the city, to meetings and home again, not once did I get bored. The Porsche is a real, time honoured driver’s car, it has earned its reputation as one of the finest sports cars ever made, and I for one feel completely privileged to be the keeper of one, even just for a little while.

Hop straight in to the Saab 9-3 and I realise just how high it feels, not just its stance, but its general seating position too, high, but also ridiculously comfortable. Everything is easy, the gear change is light and smooth, the steering sharp and accurate, with the suspension work it’s had done, the Saab also handles amazingly well, less analogue, but still manages to feel involved.

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The power delivery seems utterly immediate, rather than building like the Porsche, foot down and it continues to endlessly pull until it hits 6000rpm, it needs control and attention to drive, less stuck to the road, but equally exhilarating, the Saab feels faster than the Porsche, and although less involving never fails to make me smile. The 9-3 can never compete with the Porsche for sound, although with the addition of the APH downpipe, full stainless steel exhaust and BSR induction kit, it still has a hugely pleasing one with enthusiastic driving.

By no means a full comparison, but one that might give an insight in to both cars. Which do I prefer? both. If I’m honest it really depends what mood I’m in, the Saab provides exceptionally fast, easy driving and with the roof down really can’t be beaten for style and pleasure, but the Porsche, the Porsche still offers a unique and uncompromising experience that modern cars just don’t offer.

The Porsche on Instagram

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Saabs of Copenhagen

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It was with great sadness we had to leave Copenhagen, after a week long stay in what turned out to be one of the most inspirational cities I’ve ever visited.

The architecture and cobbled streets, the canals and cafes, food and wine, all added up to enough Hygge to keep me going until our next visit. Obviously, this site is about Saabs, and Copenhagen didn’t disappoint in that area either. From a pretty immaculate classic 9000 CSE and a gen1 9-3 proudly sporting a Performance by Nordic badge to 900s, 9-3s and 9-5s, there seemed to be no shortage of them out on the streets and being enjoyed.

Most have only been captured with my iPhone, but they serve to remind me of just how many Saabs there were around.

Tak Copenhagen, we’ll be back as soon as we can.

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And another Classic 900 Turbo

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I know I’ve only just featured another gorgeous classic 900 Turbo from Taiwan recently, but after stumbling across this build, I couldn’t resist and had to share it. This one’s from the Netherlands, by a tuning house called KC Performance.

It’s the colour combo that got me – deep, rich carbon grey exterior with a completely bespoke, caramel brown, perforated leather interior, and it sure looks stunning. To me this is pretty much a perfect 900 Turbo, subtle styling details such as the lowered stance, white indicators and carbon touches, together with two tone Aero wheels give it an utterly timeless beauty.

Although the Saab has covered some 290,000 kilometres, the B202 engine has been subject to a complete rebuild and with the help of KC Performance mapping is now running a Stage 3 at around 240hp, a complete Simmons twin exhaust finishes things off nicely.

Full spec and refurb details here

 

Saab Seat Style

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Whilst searching for a set of suitable vintage sport seats for another car, I came across this rather nice looking beige Saab 99. I don’t have any further information on it other than the owner has fitted a set of Italian made BF Torino Nürburgring R seats, which suit the retro Saab interior beautifully.

Nice orange alloys too.

Dutch Sonett

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I’m not normally a huge fan of the Saab Sonett, but I stumbled across this fantastic film short over on CineCars, featuring an immaculate red Sonett II and had to share it.

The film is in Dutch, but has subtitles with some great statements about the Saab.

“People sometimes describe the Sonett as a Ferrari that shrunk in the washing machine” and “It’s a real Saab, a Saab 96 with a shortened wheelbase and a faster engine”

Well worth a watch:

The 9-3X Factor

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Over Winter, the 9-3X is really put into action, tackling rough country roads and private dirt tracks to take our son to various shooting estates – guns, dogs, wellies and wet clothes. Mountain bikes piled in the back or on the roof, driven to remote forests and used as a temporary pop up restaurant and shelter from stormy skies, it handles it all with ease, and more than a little style.

After all of its hard work, it was about time to give the interior a much need cleansing of Winter wear, as always I was utterly impressed with how fantastic the Saab interior handles the abuse. Not only has it come up beautifully again, but nothing seems to wear, the buttons and fixings, carpets and linings, all perfect. It’s like having a brand new Saab every time I clean it, and on the eve of it’s High Mile Club membership, I never fail to be impressed.

No doubt about it, the 9-3X is a seriously robust piece of kit, but then again, it’s going to be, it’s a Saab.

The Swedish Collection. 9-4X Aero

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‘We are proud to present the new and exciting mid-size Crossover – the Saab 9-4X. It is designed with a typical Scandinavian approach to outdoor living and respect for nature. It combines more performance, better handling and greater responsibility in an extremely versatile package. We even invited two Big Mountain skiers to take part in its development. All to make sure that this car always performs at its peak. So if you’re keen to explore all the adventures of life, welcome to an inspiring new territory.’

Taken from the Saab 9-4X UK brochure.

Alongside the stunningly beautiful 9-5NG SportCombi, Michél owns another rare and equally beautiful Saab – a 9-4X Aero.

Finished in a deep, Crystal Red, and treated to a Hirsch 330hp upgrade, the 2.8 Turbo V6 has proved its worth when the snow starts to fall in Sweden. Michél says it’s a pleasure to own and drive and is an eminently capable crossover that still manages to deliver that hard to define Saabness.

On icy mornings, the remote start kicks the silky smooth V6 into action, whilst the interior with it’s soft black heated leather, electric seats and stylish dash manage to wrap you in supreme Saab comfort and safety.

As with all Saabs, it features some exceptional design touches including the electronic tailgate, ice-block headlights and blacked out B pillars reinforcing its aerospace heritage. It also shares a similar, full width tailgate light and badge design with the 9-5NG which really does look stunning in reality.

Michael says the 9-4X gets a lot of attention wherever he goes, and so it should. Yet again, it was a real privilege to see yet another rare Saab, tack Michél.

The 9-3s up next.