Make us your home page
Instagram
Review | Saab Turbo X

Saab adds oomph with Turbo X

Owned by General Motors, Saab in recent years has been something of a stepchild without much in the way of new products to excite the customer base, despite the fact that it is GM's only premium brand in Europe.

The new Turbo X, which comes as a four-door sedan or four-door station wagon, is aimed at getting pulses pounding again among prospective buyers. Unfortunately, there won't be that many of them — at least at the outset. Saab plans to bring in just 600 of the Turbo X models in 2008, in whatever color you want as long as it's black, and equally divided between wagons and sedans.

The excitement starts with the turbocharged 280-horsepower, 2.8-liter V-6 engine, which is mated either to a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmission with a manual-shift mode controlled by the shift lever or paddles on the steering wheel.

The kicker is the all-wheel drive, which Saab calls cross-wheel drive and plans to offer eventually as an option on all models. It automatically transfers the torque, or rotational force, from front to back and side to side. Depending on conditions, it can send almost 100 percent of the power to the rear wheels, and can split the traction 50-50 side-to-side.

Along with electronic stability and traction control, it means that the Turbo X delivers exceptional response in quick and tight maneuvers, such as on an autocross track. Of course, that same control is on tap during day-to-day driving on public roads.

The tested Turbo X had the six-speed manual, which had a slightly clunky feel but did not hang up. Clutch action was light, though engagement came near the top of the pedal travel, as if the clutch were worn.

With the stick shift, the Turbo X is plenty fast, accelerating to 60 miles an hour in 5.4 seconds, according to the manufacturer's specifications. But there is some slight turbo lag until the engine winds well past the 2,000-rpm mark.

There's a tactile feel to the steering and the car follows driver inputs precisely around corners. But this is basically a 5-year-old chassis. The engineers lowered the suspension system, fine-tuned it and added high-performance tires on 18-inch alloy wheels.

With the modifications, aimed at sharpening the handling, the suspension system transfers road shocks through to the passenger pod and the driver's tush, delivering an unpleasant ride on all but the smoothest surfaces.

The older design also results in an inefficient use of interior space. Though the Turbo X looks like a relatively big compact car, and it has large, comfortable and supportive front bucket seats, the back seat is cramped and confining. Should an adult center-rear passenger venture back there, he or she would find no head or foot room.

The Turbo X starts at $42,510, with the station wagon costing $800 more. Included, in addition to the stability and traction control: antilock brakes, active headrests, side air bags and side-curtain air bags, automatic climate control, motorized sunroof, heated outside mirrors, leather upholstery, leather-wrapped tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, power front seats, GM's OnStar communications system and an audio system with six-disc CD changer and XM satellite radio. The automatic transmission is a $1,350 option.

Options included a navigation system, which elevated the test car's suggested sticker price to $46,100.

With so few copies of the Turbo X available this model year, Saab disciples likely will line up quickly. They know that Saabs are an acquired taste. But for some of those who acquire it, nothing else satisfies.

Saab Turbo X

Specifications for the 2008 Saab Turbo X four-door sport sedan:

Engine: 2.8-liter turbocharged V-6, 280 horsepower

Transmission: Six-speed manual or automatic; full-time all-wheel drive

Overall length: 15 feet 3 inches

EPA passenger/trunk volume: 93/15 cubic feet

Weight: 3,740 pounds

EPA city/highway fuel consumption: 16/24 miles per gallon

Base price, including destination charge: $42,510

Base dealer cost: $40,885

Price as tested: $46,100

Scripps Howard News Service

Saab adds oomph with Turbo X 08/08/08 [Last modified: Tuesday, November 2, 2010 10:38am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

Copyright: For copyright information, please check with the distributor of this item, Scripps Howard News Service.
    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. 'Road to Nowhere' is back: Next phase of Suncoast Parkway coming

    Roads

    Despite intense public opposition and dubious traffic projections, the Florida Department of Transportation has announced that construction of the toll road known as "Suncoast 2" is expected to start in early 2018.

    The Suncoast Parkway ends at U.S. 98 just south of Citrus County. For years residents have opposed extending the toll road, a project dubbed the "Suncoast 2" into Citrus County. But state officials recently announced that the Suncoast 2 should start construction in early 2018. [Stephen J. Coddington  |  TIMES]
  2. A sports rout on Wall Street

    Retail

    NEW YORK — Sporting goods retailers can't shake their losing streak.

  3. Grocery chain Aldi hosting hiring event in Brandon Aug. 24

    Retail

    BRANDON — German grocery chain Aldi is holding a hiring event for its Brandon store Aug. 24. It is looking to fill store associate, shift manager and manager trainee positions.

  4. Lightning owner Jeff Vinik backs film company pursuing global blockbusters

    Corporate

    TAMPA — Jeff Vinik's latest investment might be coming to a theater near you.

    Jeff Vinik, Tampa Bay Lightning owner, invested in a new movie company looking to appeal to a global audience. | [Times file photo]
  5. Trigaux: Look to new Inc. 5000 rankings for Tampa Bay's future heavyweights

    Business

    There's a whole lotta fast-growing private companies here in Tampa Bay. Odds are good you have not heard of most of them.

    Yet.

    Kyle Taylor, CEO and founder of The Penny Hoarder, fills a glass for his employees this past Wednesday as the young St. Petersburg personal advice business celebrates its landing at No. 25 on the 2017 Inc. 5000 list of the fastest growing private companies in the country. Taylor, still in his 20s, wins kudos from executive editor Alexis Grant for keeping the firm's culture innovative. The business ranked No. 32 last year. [DIRK SHADD   |   Times]