What to look out for - Saab Turbo X purchase advice (1)

In 2007, the Saab Turbo X celebrated its premiere at the IAA. It was the first high-performance four-wheel drive Saab to be mass-produced, and it was also the world's first vehicle with a Haldex 4 clutch. And for Saab the model for the 30th Turbo anniversary.

At that time, Trollhättan had excellent relations with Haldex; the company has its roots in the factory, giving it exclusive access to the new Haldex 4 system. To celebrate the turbo anniversary and as a tribute to the unforgettable Saab 900 Turbo 16 S, the company gave the fans a special edition of 2.000 units. Alone Jet black black, all four-wheel drive.

Saab Turbo X - only real with the boost pressure indicator. © 2014 saabblog.net
Saab Turbo X - only real with the boost pressure display. ©2014 saabblog.net

The Saab is a compact sports car

"Planned for a limited run of 9 vehicles, the Saab 3-2.000 Turbo X will, realistically speaking, only be the right choice for a select few."

So Saab writes in 2008 in the internal sales documents about the Turbo X, which rolls to the dealers during this time. And indeed - the new Saab is uncompromisingly tuned as an athlete, which is not understood by every journalist. Some publications in the automotive press report a hard, inharmonious vehicle. The philosophy of the Turbo X - it didn't go down well with every author!

All vehicles are fast in a straight line, and the wheat is separated from the chaff on winding roads. Saab has programmed the Turbo X to chase curves, with success.

Example: In the slalom test, the compact all-wheel-drive Saab beat the Porsche 911 (997) clear. The secret is the electronic locking differential, called eLSD at Saab, which distributes the torque between the rear wheels. In order to bring the 280 hp and 400 Nm safely onto the road, springs and dampers were stiffened.

At the rear, self-leveling shock absorbers were introduced, and the camber stiffness of the rear suspension was increased by 50%. The super sports chassis in the Turbo X is not comfortable, but safe, and was later also available for normal Saab 9-3.

By the way, Saab really seems to have looked into the Porsche camp. If you start a Turbo X when it is cold, you can hear the Porsche 997 sound. Or the other way around! Nice, because both vehicles sound good!

Saab Turbo X Purchase Advice - Optical Features

The design is dominated by titanium-look elements throughout the vehicle. Matching the black finish, the Turbo X has special 18″ or 19″ rims, behind which the improved brake system is hidden. The radiator grille and air inlets are also in titanium grey, while the Turbo X-specific exhaust system and a titanium gray diffuser catch the eye at the rear.

In the cockpit, a nice detail is a boost pressure indicator in the Saab 900 Turbo design, which is illuminated when entering in the dark and signals a turbo-charged vehicle. Inlays in carbon look can also be found in the interior. In some markets, the vehicles also have stickers with Turbo X imprint.

Saab Turbo X purchase advice: engine & tuning

Turbo technology is rightly considered a Saab core competency. With the supercharged V6, performance values ​​at V8 level are feasible. (Auto Focus 6/2007)

The 2,8 liter V6 with its sequential turbocharger comes from Australia by Holden, is a stable and just as drinkable power plant. Through and through Old school in a very positive sense, and no comparison with the pumped up small engines that we are currently trying to make palatable to us. The start and the sound inspire again and again, the draft in the relatively compact Saab is fantastic. The engine compartment is agonizingly cramped, the V6 just fits in.

A weak point is the relative sensitivity to heat, which is accompanied by a loss of performance. One reason for this is the absolutely undersized LLK (Intercooler). This can be remedied by an alternative intercooler from Hirsch or from Maptun Performance (Link). Both offer sufficiently dimensioned components; the difference to the series is visible and also tangible from the material.

If you dream of tuning because 280 hp and 400 Newton meters don't seem enough to you, you have to replace the LLK hardware first. From time to time, Hirsch Performance offers a 300 hp kit with 430 Newton meters of torque. The kit is coupled to a new LLK and a modified air filter, and with good reason.

Tuning only by software is simply forbidden with standard hardware. In some forums the topic of a simple software tuning is discussed again and again. Our Saab Turbo X purchase advice follows what was once a clear opinion in Trollhättan.

Tuning yes - but only with modified hardware.

In tuned specimens, the timing chains can stretch, especially if the Saab was very sporty. Then an engine overhaul is due, overhaul kits are available. The 430 Newton meters that Hirsch allows the TX as maximum torque should also be the limit for the gearbox.

Transmission & Haldex

Actually, it doesn't matter which transmission you choose for the TX. Because, to be honest, both are a compromise. The 6-speed manual gearbox is precise enough, but not to the point that one would be completely enthusiastic. It lacks the last bit of precision to let it pass as a sports transmission. The translation could be better matched to the Saab and its engine.

The automatic only knows the difference between comfortable and super fast. In normal mode, every bit of sportiness is missing, in sport mode the Saab gives the Gripen Fighter. Then gears turn to the limit, when braking, the Saab switches back aggressively.

Harmoniously coordinated is different - how was that with the view into the Porsche warehouse? Here he is missing. But other manufacturers aren't doing any better, even in 2014, and the Turbo X guarantees a lot of fun. It doesn't matter which gearbox you choose.

In the standard condition, with 400 Newton meters, the gears are very durable. With 30 newton meters more, Hirsch is already pushing the limit. Problems with performance-enhanced vehicles that are driven in a very sporty manner are well known.

The Haldex clutch must be given new oil according to the Saab/Haldex specification every 30.000 kilometers, but at the latest every 2 years. The lubricants are subject to an aging process, so there is always an expiry date on the containers.

In the second part of the purchase advice (Link) I discuss the following topics:

  • Sports station wagon or sedan
  • Interior & Equipment
  • Spare Parts & Availability
  • Prices & Availability
  • Why buy?

8 thoughts on "What to look out for - Saab Turbo X purchase advice (1)"

  • I haven’t had any “contact” with the TX yet…. 🙁 but it can still happen! Apparently the TX seems to give me a “goosebump feeling” or addictive potential... I remain excited and look forward to the second part of the report. Even the 2st one is GREAT! Thanks Tom! 🙂

  • Then in April I got a TX in my desired equipment,
    important for me: circuit and sedan. Have driven Saab for 30 years
    I drove two 99 Turbo in the eighties, so a final Saab fits. Must say the implementation of the old Saab Turbo Feelings in such a 9-3 of the last version has been impressive. I only drive the TX every 2 weeks, more is not possible...after all, people live above the underground car park....and not everyone loves the turbo sound in the EURO 4
    warm-up phase. The car is an absolute eye-catcher without them
    brutal aggressiveness of an “AdieuMeingeld” star or an “IchFressDich” Audi.
    The neighbor with her Polish accent: "Your car is sooo bad
    really sssexii rear end” Yes, but only the SportSedan…….no, it can also be a station wagon, equipment doesn't really matter, the main thing is
    TurboX. The offer is very limited, but you have to strike now! Thanks Tom for the beautiful article!

  • A dream in black. Unfortunately even rarer than a 9-5 NG. But I know someone who has a Turbo X. Maybe he'll let me drive... 😉

    • Think so 😉

  • So when I read this, the desire for a Turbo X comes up ;-)) even if I generally prefer beige in the interior...
    What I would like to see how the "nice detail a boost pressure gauge in the Saab 900 Turbo design, which is illuminated in the dark when entering" looks like...

    • I fulfill small wishes immediately. A small impression, taken with the Blackberry, is available on our Instagram Site.

  • Really excited about Turbo X 🙂

  • What a wonderful blog, what a wonderful post! Thank you thank you!

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