The body of the Saab was only changed by Brabus in details, which, contrary to the otherwise applicable Bottrop philosophy, left the Saab its character. The air intake is covered with black perforated metal sheets, and there are round fog lights on the outside. The exhaust tailpipe is oval, made of stainless steel and slightly larger than the standard model.
The tires consist of 225/45 radial tires from Nokian, mounted on in this case three-spoke rims from OZ, which are provided with the SAAB/Scania emblem on an imitation carbon disc. The rims are reminiscent of the Saab classic and therefore fit seamlessly into the overall picture. I've held pictures of some current Saab rims next to a picture of the car and can't really think of one to replace.
Some complain about the poor quality of the materials used. I cannot comment negatively on these. It's just that the perforated plates are low over the road and also frontally in the direction of travel, and are therefore an easy target for stones and other dirt that are thrown up. Accordingly, at some point there will be blemishes in the paintwork, which you can also repair yourself. So the quality isn't quite as low as some foresters claim - it's all a question of care.
The interior of the Brabus Saab
Without a doubt, Brabus made the most changes in the interior. Entry is via chrome-plated step strips (please do not step on!) with the Saab emblem. Seated in the leather seat, the carbon dashboard and the carbon applications on the steering wheel immediately catch the eye. While the ones in the steering wheel are still handsome after 13 years, the dashboard is one thing.
Unfortunately, no solid carbon material was processed, but apparently a carbon foil (or an imitation) with a plastic coating that already looks a bit battered after 13 years of exposure to the sun in unfavorable light. The adhesive has also come loose on two corners, but this defect can also be remedied with mediocre handicraft skills.
However, none of the alternatives (aluminum, wood, light or dark) really look better than the carbon. I know the cost specifications that GM or Saab Germany Brabus (Link) plugged in, not. With a little less saving, one could possibly have bought a higher quality and thus a better appearance in old age. Other details - namely the door handles and interior door panels - could have been tackled in this way.
Most fittings are covered with aluminum sheets over the plastic, these still look very chic even after 13 years. In particular, it is the radio/cassette/CD unit, the SID and the ACC (air conditioning) module that benefit from this, as does the light switch. Here the adhesions do not dissolve either. When replacing one of the components, the covers can be transferred from the old to the new device with a sure instinct.
Pedals with Saab engraving
The pedal has also been revised. Stainless steel pedals protected against slipping with rubber knobs replace the standard models, all are labeled with the word SAAB, as is the footrest on the left. Over the years, the surfaces start to wear off, but that's the nature of things when you use pedals on street shoes. Polishing brings little here, except perhaps the cashier of the commissioned car care business.
More chrome can be found on the shifter (which also features the SAAB/Scania badge instead of a shift pattern), handbrake lever and passenger side air vents. The chrome also looks fresh after 13 years and is not worn, here too it is probably a matter of care.
Will the interior be upgraded by the Brabus revision? Not for someone who doesn't like chrome. I found it a little hard to get used to at first, but over time I got used to it more and more. In addition, I think the carbon harmonizes best with the rest of the dashboard.
The wood version didn't look particularly high quality, at least in the catalogue, and the aluminum variant with the black instrument panel and the non-covered fittings looked like they came from a metal construction kit. My plea is therefore in the direction of upgrading, with potential for growth.
And how does the Brabus Saab drive?
Terrific. The classic SAAB virtues, especially on long journeys, are not lost, and the sportier chassis does not make the SAAB Hungaroring (Link) but still improve road holding in tight corners.
The 170 hp motorize you not overly sporty, but still good enough to have a lot of fun while driving and accelerating. In addition, the comfortable interior, which also offers ample space on the back seat, and the large trunk, which swallows larger measuring equipment in addition to luggage. Everything actually leaves the Saab much of its original character. The revision by Brabus was limited to a few details, but was thorough on these points. With a more generous budget, one could probably have tackled even more details.
I would have been very happy to see what Brabus would have done with the 9-5 NG, perhaps with this more generous frame. Under certain circumstances, there might even have been an alternative to Hirsch Performance - and it is well known that competition stimulates business. Unfortunately, we will probably never get the answers to the questions that arise from this.
By the way - where did we go?
The pictures for this text were taken at the Hirbacher Weiher, just across the French border. The pond was once a fortification and is one of a series of artificially created bodies of water along the "Route de la Ligne Maginot Aquatique", with the help of which the French wanted to transform the German transit area into a swampy area in the event of an attack - the success of the plan is well known.
Since the 60s, the plots of land around the waters have been leased or sold and are now firmly in German hands, at least at weekends. Nevertheless, it is wonderfully quiet and relaxing here - just the right area for a Sunday trip to sweep the turbocharged SAAB down empty French country roads.
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