Saab Turbo X - recovered?

The Turbo X is a fascinating vehicle, its weakness is the relative heat sensitivity, which it acknowledges with loss of power. To give the high-performance Saab more cool charge air, we have in November 2013 to a new LLK resorted.

Saab Turbo X © 2014
Saab Turbo X © 2014

After there was no alternative offer from Saab, only came Maptun and Hirsch Performance as a supplier in question. Hirsch could not or did not want to, so the weakly dimensioned series part was exchanged for a new intercooler from Maptun.

Until the test, whether the operation has really eliminated our heat problem, took several months. In July 2014 it was time. Best weather, sun and 29 degrees in the Rhine-Main area. With friend Achim on board I start for a test drive. Our test track, the A66 in the direction of Fulda, is not very busy, almost unlimited and allows high speeds. The Saab does what you expect from him. Speeds over 200 are driven as at low temperatures, from power loss or emerging displeasure, otherwise immediately noticeable in summer heat, no trace. The thermometer in the cockpit remains stuck stoically in the middle position. Always impressive is how the Saab storms up the long slopes, as if there were no limit to the compact station wagon.

The TX clears the left lane, all 280 Swedish Turboelche provide propulsion. That's fun, but only highway is fade in the long run. For the way back we leave the A66 near Bad Orb, take the small country roads of the Hessian part of the Spessart under the four-wheel drive wheels. Over small, idyllic places like Jossgrund we drive in the direction of Bavaria. Here is the Turbo X in its natural environment, here he has fun. When accelerating up to 90% of the driving forces go to the rear wheels, the TX shoots from the curves like an arrow. And anyway, the cornering is awesome, Haldex and eLSD provide grip without end.

The sound, however, provides goose bumps, the engine screams, growls, bubbles, depending on speed and mood. He cheers loudly as soon as he is allowed to ride. The local thoroughfares we take comfortably. With little speed he rolls through the sleepy little villages, the Schwedenturbo is then barely audible. That too is possible. Finally we drive Saab and not BMW M3.

Meanwhile, the thermometer has breached the 30 grade mark. It's lunchtime, the sun burns relentlessly, the automatic air conditioning has to do and keeps the interior pleasantly warm. In the narrow engine compartment now hellish temperatures must prevail. Time for refusal? The expectations are disappointed. The new Turbo X intercooler does what it should, the Maptun part is worth every penny. Once home, the Turbo X cools down in the parking lot for a while, the vehicle crackles sensually, after a sporting trip through Hesse and the Spessart.

Why Saab has installed such a undersized Valeo LLK in the TX, is actually incomprehensible. In Sweden you could do that better. Turbo technology was a basic skill, and the Saab 99 Turbo, Saab 900, 9000, and even the first 9 3 always had the best quality. Our Saab 9-3 Aero with Viggen Body Kit has now got a deer LLK, the difference to the series is barely noticeable. But this is another story.

With the Maptun LLK, the mesmerizing TX is now where it always should have been. Not to be ruled out that extreme temperatures and stop and go could lead to a drop in performance. But for 99% of driving situations, the Swedish High Performance Turbo is now doing what it's supposed to: Performance!

For Saab, the time of the compact athletes with 6 cylinders under the hood is unfortunately over. There is no need to hope for a new edition in the current situation. The automotive environment, however, is thinking about it. Inflated 4 cylinders, which should convey something in the direction of technical enthusiasm by means of a sound generator, do not seem to be the last word on the topic.

An engine is mechanics, not computer technology. There will always be people who appreciate and seek that. A few days ago BMW made a clear statement for the 6 cylinder in the compact sports car, and Daimler is thinking aloud about a comeback of the straight-six. Who drives like I prefer Saab, should grab as an alternative to the TX. We have, with expert advice from the Saab Centers in Kiel and Bamberg, created an extensive Turbo X buying guide that will appear in the next few days. More about Saab, and about a whole Saab collection, you can read on our Youngtimer Blog.

Text & pictures:

17 thoughts on "Saab Turbo X - recovered?"

  • by the way ... the in-line 6-cylinder is definitely coming back at Mercedes. I'm pretty excited about it.

  • wow, the darth vader! I wish you a lot of fun in the TX! I dream of being able to do a lap in a TX in the mountains in winter ... oh, somewhere in summer too 🙂
    Well, I have to ask ... what about the B235R? The deer ones also have the normal Valeo ... right?

    • Yes, yes, the TX dreams ;-)…. The “normal” stag have the serial LLK (Valeo?), The Troll had a stag LLK. We had a 9-5 2.3 Biopower deer ourselves, with the normal LLK. The package was so coherent that I was never tempted to convert. But better hardware is never wrong 🙂.

  • Question: How many German horses corresponds to a Swedish Turboelch?

    In general, Hirsch seems to be very cautious about replacing engine components. I once asked about an E85 conversion for the 1998 9-5; the suggestion was rejected relatively brusquely. Maptun was more “optimistic”. However, I agreed with the Hirsch opinion that the financial risk of extensive engine repairs was too high for me.

    If you want to tighten the test conditions, I would recommend the A7 in the direction of Kassel - there are a few nice inclines come into play. And there isn't much activity in the north Hessian hinterland either ...

    • In any case, Turbo Moose have a higher fun parameter than normal PS 😉. I have no problems with the LLK, you're only doing the engine a favor by keeping the charge air cool. "Games" since the 90s with LLK`s in the Saab, always with positive results.
      I'm more careful with E85. A good friend has upgraded his 9-5 Aero at SKR Tuning to E85 and is very satisfied. Let's see if he wants to write a few lines for the blog.

  • Genialer report, because SAABfahren makes even more fun

  • Were there problems with the TÜV when registering the large LLK?

    • A question in which the ghosts divorce. LLK registration or not? The on-site Dekra inspector did not see any registration requirement, because the new LLK sits at the location of the previous standard CAC, does not require any modification or other bodywork, the possible extra power would be in the tolerance. If the LLK is considerably larger, more efficient, and is therefore installed in a different location than in series, an entry is necessary.

      • Tom, is there a ABE for the LLK?

        • No, according to the examiner is not necessary. Likewise, there is no registration because the LLK is the same as the original, the performance increase (if any) is within the legal tolerance, and the component is mounted in the same location.

  • Good report! Is there any experience with changing the LLK in the 2.0s, especially on the B207L? I guess there is just as much a botch from the factory, the performance goes down nicely when it is warm ...; (

    • Maptun has one for all 4 cylinders LLK Should come from the same production as the one we use, and would therefore get a strong recommendation. I assume that the series also has a “modest” Valeo part in use on the B207.

      • ok, thx. How many h effort the installation costs and also exciting: Do you have the factory connection guarantee (CarGarantie) and what does that say? Is that all clear?

  • Hello Tom, I'm glad that your investment has brought the desired success and have read again with excitement the old article. I hope that Turbo-X will stay with you for many years and will always make you smile.


  • Once again a very SAAB report! Thanks Tom! 🙂 ... and the mission has come to a successful end! 😉

  • These are articles that one likes to read and to distract well from all the problems in Sweden. The engine is really an absolute gem. Even if he comes from the GM shelf, I do not want to miss him. Unfortunately I'm missing the four-wheel drive, so I'm a little bit overwhelmed. I'll get the LLK synonymous if the financial situation permits. He is not cheap.

  • hello Tom, that's another exciting story that is fun to read. As an “old” Saab driver, I always enjoy it when you or other Saab freaks publish such information. Thanks for that. I've been driving Saab for 20 years now, although we had other vehicles in the family too. NOBODY takes me away from Saab.
    Thanks again

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