Make us your home page
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

  1. Federal agencies demand records from SeaWorld theme park


    Associated Press

    ORLANDO — Two federal agencies are reportedly demanding financial records from SeaWorld.

    Killer whales Ikaika and Corky participate in behaviors commonly done in the wild during SeaWorld's Killer Whale educational presentation in this photo from Jan. 9. SeaWorld has been subpoenaed by two federal agencies for comments that executives and the company made in August 2014 about the impact from the "Blackfish" documentary. 
[Nelvin C. Cepeda/San Diego Union-Tribune/TNS]
  2. Legalized medical marijuana signed into law by Rick Scott

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — Gov. Rick Scott on Friday signed into law a broader medical marijuana system for the state, following through on a promise he made earlier this month.

    Gov. Rick Scott signed legislation on Friday that legalizes medical marijuana in Florida.
  3. Line of moms welcome Once Upon A Child to Carrollwood


    CARROLLWOOD — Strollers of all shapes and sizes are lined up in front of the store, and inside, there are racks of children's clothing in every color of the rainbow.

    At Once Upon A Child, you often as many baby strollers outside as you find baby furniture and accessories. It recently opened this location in Carrollwood. Photo by Danielle Hauser
  4. Pastries N Chaat brings North India cuisine to North Tampa


    TAMPA — Pastries N Chaat, a new restaurant offering Indian street food, opened this week near the University of South Florida.

    The menu at Pastries N Chaat includes a large variety of Biriyani, an entree owners say is beloved by millions. Photo courtesy of Pastries N Chaat.
  5. 'Garbage juice' seen as threat to drinking water in Florida Panhandle county


    To Waste Management, the nation's largest handler of garbage, the liquid that winds up at the bottom of a landfill is called "leachate," and it can safely be disposed of in a well that's 4,200 feet deep.

    Three samples that were displayed by Jackson County NAACP President Ronstance Pittman at a public meeting on Waste Management's deep well injection proposal. The sample on the left is full of leachate from the Jackson County landfill, the stuff that would be injected into the well. The sample on the right shows leachate after it's been treated at a wastewater treatment plant. The one in the middle is tap water.