Saab 9000 SC test drive

A look in the rearview mirror shows that something is different here. Where the Saab 9000 CS window nestles harmoniously in the hatchback, the 9000 SC attracts with almost endless widths. The SC is a stately station wagon that shows more presence than the sedan delicately drawn by Björn Envall.

Saab 9000 SC
Saab 9000 SC

Everything in the cockpit looks familiar. Instruments… Operation - for the driver everything stays the same as in the CS. Saab drivers immediately feel at home. Only the elegant Alcantara sky reveals the unique piece. How does the 9000 SC drive, which looks so much like a series, but is the opposite of Enval's design?

Flashback! The 90's. The second 9000 generation was more than the evolution of the CC. The CS, the abbreviation stands for Combi Sedan, got a new, high rear and a low front. This is how Envall realized his vision of the wedge shape - a mass-appropriate interpretation of the Saab EV-1, Which catapulted the 9000 into the avant-garde league. The futuristic Wedge 80er and 90er sent Citroen with the XM into orbit, the Saab 9000 CS was inferior to the Frenchman.

The station wagon, on the other hand, is not a wedge, not an interval. He is closer to Sweden. An angular tail, plenty of space. Utility for the real life. Saab again. Envalls wedge design or not.

Under the bonnet of the 9000 SC works a Saab B234L. 2.3 liters are distributed over 4 cylinders. Moderately charged he brings 200 PS to the 4 gear automatic. Sounds less spectacular, but is full of power and draft. The vehicle weight is low, turbo and ZF transmission live in harmony. The sophistication of the B234 family is still a poem, the machine runs silky smooth by today's standards.

On the highway it turns out that 200 Turbo can grab PS from Saab. Confident and fleet-footed sprints the 9000 in the fast lane, the turbo needle shows full steam. Rich acceleration from medium speeds is an 9000er domain. Displacement, turbocharger, power on call. The Södertälje Turbo makes joy, everyone else may look to comfort the exclusive estate rear. Is also very nice.

Down from the motorway it goes on the country road. The 9000 SC flies over the slopes, does everything playfully and effortlessly. The streets are getting narrower and the pavement is getting worse. We are looking for suitable places to take photos. A practical test for the station wagon. How rigid is the body? Saab has integrated a roll bar into the C-pillar of the 9000 CS. It provides more rigidity than in the CC, and in the event of a rollover it provides more survival space. During the renovation, the roll bar was cut open and the new roof was integrated. Can something like that work?

The Saab 9000 SC does not rattle, does not squeak, behaves at least as unspectacular stiff as the saloon with the hatchback. I have the impression that the station wagon could even be a bit more solid than the CS.

The look into the loading compartment. If I were a motor journalist, I would now rave about the wide-opening tailgate, great loadability and the luggage compartment that is very easy to use. It is noticeable that the 9000 SC is close to the series.

Examples: The inside handle of the tailgate is familiar to generations of Saab drivers; it comes out of the 9000 CS like the complete lining of the load compartment. The cover donated the Saab 9-5 SC, everything looks like a unified whole. The flap falls full into the lock, the operation is very easy. Why did not Saab build a 9000 station wagon? Incomprehensible.

The chassis was not changed during conversion to the station wagon. It comes with his rear rigid axle from the 9000 CC, also Saab it did not touch the generational change. Why? It is good-natured, comfortable and robust. In the 90 years, it was rated as hard and uncomfortable, at least in the German engine press. Today I perceive it as soft. Hard is the suspension of modern cars in persistent sportiness fever, not the SC with its base of 1995. The extra weight of the rear on the rear axle does the Saab well. He drives a bit fuller than the hatchback.

If you accelerate on lonely stretches, a little more than the race management allows, the turbo bites and gets along really well with its 4 gears. The Saab does not look uncultivated, nor does it know a turbo lag. The station wagon flies over the track, the handling is fun, the 9000 would have had what it takes to be a sports station wagon in the series. Sure, the design is 90s, like the whole car. It's a well-designed vehicle, nothing about which is coincidental. The form strictly follows the function, inside and out, and that is the real strength of the Saab 9000, which the station wagon also has.

I like the Saab 9000 SC. Without any ifs and buts. If it weren't for 400 hours of work that stand between me and the station wagon, I would ask Markus Lafrentz if he'll build “mine” for me. The aero seating provides the best lateral support and perfect seating. The engine is a piece of cake with almost infinite durability. The best Saab engines were in the 9000 generation, in the successor work was done on emissions behavior and weight optimization, which came at the expense of robustness.

Yes, the 9000 SC is fun ... a whole lot! For large families, dog owners, land barons and all people with increased loading requirements, it would have been the right, noble fast transporter. 200 hp would have been enough for probably 230 or 240 km / h. I didn't try it during the test drive. A missed opportunity for Trollhättan? Yes, clearly and again. A station wagon would have been a big hit and could have moved Saab's image sustainably. Maybe more would have been possible.

Dreams ! What would have happened if Saab had brought the 90 SC as a station wagon with 9000 hp and all-wheel drive in the early 280s? A 4 × 4 super station wagon for the German autobahn, the counterpart to the four-wheel drive vehicles of an up-and-coming brand from southern Germany? The 9000 CS 4wd already existed, it almost went into production. Then another 4 × 4 got in the way, the 4wd hit the siding. Another story, maybe I should tell it on the blog. Yes, the Saab 9000 SC 4wd would have been possible if things had developed a little differently.

17 thoughts on "Saab 9000 SC test drive"

  • I would like to read the four-wheel history, too

    • Is written almost finished, comes before my vacation!

  • Short question ... has anything been changed on the rear axle regarding the stabilizer or springs?

    • No, everything is series. Still driving very well!

  • A great tribute to the 9000er that never existed. Maybe one or the other former development engineer will tear away a tear because such a great car was not built.

  • At the risk of making me unpopular here, but I would not have wanted such a 9k SC.
    Found / Find the CS-flap MUCH more elegant and in the CS you get almost as much as in a modern station wagon.
    So I'm more annoyed that Saab did not launch a CombiSedan version of the 9-5. So you have to decide on the successor-9-5 just between chic or practical, the 9k CS could do both at the same time.

    • I agree with you. Personally, I would have stayed with the CS and I'm not a real combo fan, but they would have sold.
      I'm sure no SUV will come into my garage (not even from SAAB), but the masses buy these things….

    • The CS rear is more elegant, there is no combi of the world ran. But as a complement to the hatchback, the station wagon would have made sense, he would probably have become my company car then.

    • I feel the same way. When OG 900 so no one has missed a station wagon and the NG 9-5 mE would have a hatchback version probably design technically better to solve than the station wagon. Even my current car is a five-door and I did not want to swap it for a wagon version (not even against the soon available SUV).

      That does not mean that I find the conversion bad, it is in my opinion by far the best successful Kombiumbau a Schrägheckaabes,

  • These are two nice reviews of the 9000 SC.
    Since our four SAABs and the small KIA are well looked after at Lafrentz, we are there relatively often and they couldn't hide the “major construction site” from us. So I had the privilege to follow the renovation step by step and sometimes kept Micha talking for a few minutes.
    I've also seen the tedious phases - the result is ingenious for a do-it-yourself construction. In a series, the 80s tailgate would have been adapted to the 90s design of the CS. The car would have been a hit with the drives Tom mentioned, and since station wagons are always good in Germany, there would have been a market here too.
    But how good the old 9000er base is, GM and others have not recognized before. that would have to appear at the time of the CC (instead of the CD maybe?). Especially with combination introductions SAAB gave away a lot of time to the competition.

    • Nice that you have kept our secret! We already had reservations because the 9000 SC was shown again and again in the showroom and in the yard

  • Why didn't Saab build such a 9000 as a station wagon? Well, I think there was enough competition in GM's own warehouse at that time (Opel Omega, Vectra, Chevrolet?) ... GM would have got a cuckoo in the nest like the 901 ....

    • If that was the reason, but GM would have been pretty much on the wrong track, probably they were too. A group with several brands should be careful to succeed with all brands and models. It should not be seen that a sold Saab SC means that an Opel Caravan is therefore less sold, but that, for example, a Mercedes T-model, a BMW Touring or an Audi Avant is less sold.

      • But Peter sure they were on the wrong track. Otherwise the downward development of the Saab brand would not have progressed so quickly. What came after the 901s and 9000s under GM's direction? Half-baked models that emerged from other Opel models and were only slightly better than Saab. (9-3 I) With the 9000 it was the case that Lancia built its Thema, Fiat its Croma etc., but none of them came close to the 9000 (regardless of the version, whether as a CC or CS or) because Saab are independent Model built and not, as at GM, got a half-cooked model from Opel, according to the motto "Here take this and make something of it" ... That can only go in your pants ...

  • seems as if the 9000 in particular stimulates the imagination and ingenuity of "hobbyists" (tin artists). As Wolef suggests, there is probably a 9000 pickup somewhere. I know of 9000 tow truck versions in Kiel and in the Czech Republic. Would almost be worth a small series here on the blog for the milestone birthday. Or are there similar non-original Trollhättan versions of other Saab models?

  • Great report from a great 9000 !! Hope the pick up is something like that !?

  • Great car, and the boat on the roof ...... ..

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