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Car reviews - Saab - 9-3 - Aero 5-dr hatch


The Aero is a higher-performance version of the 9-3 - Saab's Audi A4 rival

30 Mar 2001

SAAB'S 9-3 Aero is aimed at buyers seeking a prestige car with a distinct sporting flair - the sort of buyer who might otherwise opt for an Audi A4 1.8 quattro, Alfa Romeo 156 V6 or VW Passat V6 Syncro. On paper, the Saab has the right credentials: a powerful 2.0-litre turbo engine, full body kit and sporty three-spoke alloy wheels. The car is beautifully finished inside and out and its refinement levels are impressive. With 151kW on tap, there is no doubting the 9-3 Aero's top-end performance either. Despite all this, the newcomer fails to stir the soul. Its chassis, although competent, does not reward the enthusiastic driver as understeer and body roll make their presence felt early.

The force-fed engine also feels flat-footed until the turbo builds up a head of steam. Visually, the Aero is relatively understated, perhaps too much so for buyers seeking an overtly sporting package.

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Model release date: 1 February 2000 to 1 October 2001

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