The benefits of the current Saab 900 became most apparent during a Sunday soccer tournament…
Despite the conclusion, not so many hours earlier, of a return drive from Hockenheim, the absence of sleep necessitated by an early start and the fact that said football-fest was in west London, rather than western Germany, both parties who had undertaken the trip felt comfortable and fully awake. The latest 900 is a longdistance tourer par excellence.
As with the development of the 9000, which shared its floorpan with the Fiat Croma, Lancia Thema and Alfa Romeo 164, Saab wore a co-operative mask for the new 900, the floorpan of which has been adapted from GM’s Calibra. Despite which, there is no doubting the car’s inherent ‘Saabness’.
Its appearance retains the generic weirdness of the marque. Saab styling may be an acquired taste, but being different has its merits. The new 900 shell is said to be 60 per cent stiffer than the old, despite which it is lighter by 6 kg. It certainly has fewer awkward angles than its predecessor, but you wouldn’t mistake it for anything else.
The interior smacks of Saab tradition, too, from the flimsy feel of the gearlever (though it has a positive enough change action) to the heated seats.
Saab’s turbocharging methods have progressed immeasurably over the year, and we tested the latest 2.0T four-pot Coupe. With its twin counter-rotating balancer shafts, it picks up without fuss from only a fistful of revs. Maximum torque (194 lb ft) is sustained all the way from 2100-4700 rpm, hence you are endowed with plentiful flexibility. Despite its willingness, however, the engine remains eerily quiet. At autobahn cruising speeds, you could almost be gliding. Even at an indicated 130 plus mph (quoted top speed is 143).
For non-turbophiles, the Coupe is also available as a 2.0 (the 140 bhp entry model, at £14,995), a 2.3 (155, £18,495) or a 2.5V6 (175, £22,295). Our test example tops the range, at £22,495.
On the road, the 900 lacks the outright sporting manners of certain other executive saloons (the 5-Series springs to mind), but its blend of adequate handling and exemplary comfort make it a highly desirable touring companion.