Saab 9000 CSE 2.3 turbo. A test drive story.

The sky is cloudy over the Rhine-Main area. No ray of sun breaks through the clouds as Max and I go for the 9000 test drive. Shortly before Christmas I unexpectedly got the offer to replace Max's stolen Anniversary with an interesting 9k. But the key data is something ...

On the grounds of the classic city of Frankfurt
On the grounds of the classic city of Frankfurt

Year 97, firsthand, and only 77.000 kilometers on the clock. Before now all Mindkilometer skeptics start their free dance: with this Saab everything is fine. For 21 years, he was regularly moved and otherwise always parked in a garage. Two decades without intense UV exposure and extreme heat fluctuations, this affects the state.

Not at first glance, because that shows the 9000 as a typical pensioner car. Smaller traces of enemy contact adorn the bodywork. Nothing dramatic, the Saab wears a friendly Unilack that would keep the cost of future repairs in check. The awesome experience starts at the entrance. The heavy, black leather of the seating is as supple as on the first day. There are no signs of wear. You sink into the Saab chair and never want to leave it again. New-feelings? For sure! The view sweeps through the interior, he gets stuck on the dashboard.

20 years with low UV exposure, a true garage car. The structure of the dashboard is like new, has delivery quality. Finely structured, noble, high quality. I have not seen anything in this direction for ages. Max and I can hardly believe it and are curious to see how the Saab drives. 200 PS, Turbo, 4 gear automatic. That sounds good, but it works better. Displacement is displacement, and can not replace anything. The 9000 sets off, full, confident, the ZF machine cuddles with the gears. A dream!

Saab 9000 CSE 2.3 Turbo - A dream

Long forgotten things come back to consciousness. Our Saab is a normal CSE. No Aero, and unfortunately no Anniversary - so optically not so attractive. But he drives better than any Aero or Anni with the tough, sporty suspension. On potholes, the 9000 flies gently its way, almost like a classic, large Citroen with the legendary Hydropneumatik. My Anni would shake on the track itself, rattle and become uncomfortable.

The body does not rattle, the load drives very casual and confident. It is this feeling that characterizes well motorized vehicles. You relax, relax, because you can demand sufficient strength virtually at any time. Not that we are concerned, but it is really fun, the excited new-car armada with their inflated small engines just let it stand.

In the past, many things were better. The 9000 qualities are known. Lots of space, lots of light, a relatively clear body. Little weight, strong engines, the package is right. There is nothing to complain about on this 9000. He lies sovereign on the street. The steering is, if you can speak of it in a 9k, very precise. Almost delivered state, and for me a lesson, which can become brittle in 20 years by sunlight, heat and cold on the car despite the best care everything.

It becomes really clear if you drive faster than the highway speed limit. Every 9000 I know gets loud. More or less, depending on the condition. Wind noise dominates, and it gets very heavy in vehicles with sunroof. Not with this copy. Despite sunroof, the interior remains pleasantly quiet, no hurricane toss, true upper class level. Logically, because the seals on doors and windows are silky soft. They cling to the body, as it was once thought in Trollhättan. Why the 9000 at that time almost Mercedes quality was certified, at a time when they still delivered in Stuttgart, is once again clear.

Stories sometimes come to an unexpected end

The list of shortcomings, it is short. When parking a metallic noise sounds from the area of ​​the steering, you would have to pursue. And the tires are behind them, they are out of round.

What do you do with such a car? No rust, the subfloor is like factory, and except for the paint no signs of wear. A state of the museum, even outwardly, if you treat the Saab beautifully. Max has a problem with that. Can one drive the Saab in everyday life? Or do you have to preserve the unique state? A certain luxury problem - from the perspective of a fan.

The question remains open. Max has to think hard about it. It is the quiet time between the years, so what should happen? Meanwhile, the Saab 9000 CSE 2.3 Turbo parked safely Saab Service Frankfurt, and Max takes a few days off. Get on the plane and disappear in the digital off. No smartphone, no internet, just relax. On the return flight, he knows that he wants the Saab. Only, there is the 9k already sold.

In Frankfurt they tried in vain to reach Max. And so the test drive history comes to an unexpected end. A great car, a rare opportunity. Lost.

39 thoughts on "Saab 9000 CSE 2.3 turbo. A test drive story."

  • Until then, I have understood Max, but for 5k you can not think over there but still buy a 9 5 for each day and drive the 9k on the road ... Hope that the new owner cherishes and cares for him.

  • I have not been interested in the 9000ers yet. My first convertible was an 9-3 I from 2001. Then I drove the 9-II and the 9-III, always as a convertible. There is also a company car. Here I have flirted with the 9-5 NG, but the spare parts supply has deterred me, and the many miles that I would drive there.

    After reading this article, I almost got the urge to buy me a third vehicle. I have seen the 9000ers on the market, what they look like, how many miles they have and what they cost. So if you are better at the scene, you might think that there are many such opportunities. But after what else I found on the web, such a car - for 5 bricks? How can one not immediately make the purchase contract and even pay, especially if you know that you want to detox a week? I already thought that when reading the article. And now, after my research, I do not understand it. As I said - maybe connoisseurs of the scene see many more such possibilities, but I would have found no peace on vacation. Quiet time? One knows that just then people have time to go on the prowl. And a car with the profile is rather fast away. Maybe I'll just write that because nobody in the comments has said it so clearly - so I do not understand the hesitation. Where should something better come from? Where 9000ern already offers scrap for 7000 +? No offense….

  • You can. We are happy to forward addresses, if desired. We are also considering setting up a chat feature for our readers on our server. Then everything would be easier.

    @ Hans S .: See you at the festival!

  • That would of course be great cinema ...

    I have to leave it during a visit to the museum in the summer. Otherwise, I would now have been looking for ways that we find ourselves on site and shake hands. Perhaps in such cases you may ask the SAABBlog team to forward an e-mail from reader to reader?

    Unfortunately, the bicycle chain. Like my new 9-5 SC or a lot in connection with Trollhättan and SAAB ...

    Have fun at the festival in late spring and of course a good trip.

  • The remark about the driving school is good, when I did my driving test in November 1959, there was no Saabs 9-5 SC with manual D / M and M / D switching and the rocker switch on the steering wheel, but that's what you did immediately Handle. By the way à propos modern gearboxes: there I drove a rented brand new BMW 118i automat (to save my Saab and to get young in km) last summer 7500 km from Switzerland to Lofoten and back via Rostock, who really had the M, S and D functions everything in the JoyStick, that was perhaps a pleasure ... Then you really feel the difference that the technology made in 10 years ....

  • The good old engine brake is always useful and better than the brakes use. Modern transmissions have programmed this, with old pieces you do it manually. If you have learned this in the driving school. 😉

    So: always good, and do it!

  • Hopefully then over the days of the Saab Festival 😉
    I'm definitely there then, with an arrival of around 1600km, with automatic transmission in 93er convertible, hopefully without a breakdown ... ..

  • Can someone please step in for me?

    I drive myself switch and would like to say nothing wrong Mr. Siegrist.

    Thank you!

  • One more question: I assume that the same viscous coupling is also responsible for switching from D (rive) to M (anuell) respectively when returning from M to D. Where the former goes faster than from M back to D, because it needs the gearbox then often longer than hoped. I use M especially when driving downhill as a motor brake, but also when slowing down in normal traffic (instead of the foot brake), where you can see the reason to slow down from afar and has time to turn down the gears with the rocker switches on the steering wheel. Does that make sense at all or does it need the system unnecessarily? Would it make more sense to use the foot brake? Thank you for your advice.

  • Now you scare me. No car is puncture proof ...

    But fortunately it's summer to Sweden and the journey to the ferry is relatively short. In Sweden I should be in good hands with my 9-5 SC. Also in case of a breakdown. And best of all, the house is not too far from the SAAB Museum. Trollhättan is finally on the program for me and for the first time.

    You always good drive with the machine. The fact that he locks firmly in last gear lowers fuel consumption and is smart. At home on long journeys. Just very typical SAAB ...

  • The 9000CSE with the 2.3 Turbo with 200PS and automatic transmission is in my eyes a very successful combination, and I find him in driving and enjoying even a thump more '9000 experience to 100%' than the gearbox variants, which I use the I drove like that for years.
    I currently have a very similar car - 1997er model year, black outside, black inside, CSE, 200PS automatic, almost full equipment including large audio system except Metalliclack and electrically adjustable seats - which I would like to submit in the near future. The is suitable with (up to here also technically very well-groomed) about 320.000km more than daily driver and has a still good, preserved basic substance, and also works technically very pleasant.
    If Max da - I think I've visited him a few years ago a green 9000 Anniversary in Dresden - interested in it, he may like to contact me at the e-mail address that Tom has.

  • Looks like it, speed is always constant about 134 km / h and he mastered the gradients with the turbo, after that, yes go down again and the number of turns drops. Thank you for the explanation for the transmission loss, which I was not aware of until now. Reasonably moderate start-up of the individual gears but already brings an under-consumption - only contradicts such the current driving style, where the driver see the only satisfaction only in the fastest possible acceleration, because the speeds are limited in Switzerland everywhere massively. There you are then an obstacle on the roads, if you accelerate only moderately. My current 2.3T was put on the market in March 2009. Incidentally, Saabs with 150 - 200k km to buy is also risky. I did it twice, both times the fuel pump and even the turbo died. It always depends on how the predecessor went .... And if you then in such a breakdown in the diesel heavy-duty France, where no-one has gasoline spare parts in stock, you lose 3 days to continue ... No fun ....

  • If I'm right, the machine of 9-5 2,3T coupled with a constant and sufficiently fast drive in the last gear firmly. In this driving situation, the power transmission is as lossless as a switch. Her example is almost the raisin in the cake ...

    The additional consumption occurs in the aisles underneath and other driving situations when the power is transmitted via the viscous coupling. The has a technical transmission loss of about 10%, which can not be compensated.

  • The 1 liter more can be compensated by reasonable driving very well.
    Drive only Saabs with machines since 20 years (since 2006 9-5 SC 2.3T with 260 PS)
    If you can drive 850 km with motorway speed limit 130 km / h in France with a consumption of 8 l / 100 km, that is very reasonable.

  • Tomorrow Tom,

    yes, you have to drive, protect and preserve.
    So a change from street and closed garage - a UV and weatherproof parking space.
    Was it because? Then I finally understood scruples and reflection time.

  • Good morning Herbert!

    The price was, as all agreed, of course, too low. 9.000, - would have been reel, with some smartrepair. But here it was less about profit or to demand as much money. A Saab should stay on the street and walk in the best possible hands.

  • I'm now also a big fan of the automatic, would like to miss the same no longer.
    Drive the 9-5 Aero with automat, fits perfectly ...... ..
    The 1Liter more does not make the cabbage fat 🙂
    The € 5000, - would have been well spent 😉

  • But now I am also baffled. All BAFF! ! !

    All the good reasons I was looking for, which would justify a reflection period (wrong gearbox plus maybe a high price), are gradually dissipating here ...

    I would have expected this CSE rather close to the five-digit range. So between 9.500 and 9.900 €.

    Although I can still understand the abdominal pain a bit, they still find sympathetic, but on the other hand, Max has now to contend with the question of whether this bargain and this exceptionally good and well-preserved SAAB really got into better hands than dangling at the end of his own arms ...
    So he and his conscience are no better off, right?

    The decision should have been easy (and spontaneous). Anyway, I wish you a happy ending for part 2 of this story. And of course for Max.

  • There is nothing against the machine, only the consumption is about 1 liters higher than the switch. Saab has proven to have a good hand in the vote, automatic and Turbo harmonize perfectly.

  • nicer 9000, I would like it too. What would speak against an automatic? I can understand the time to think about it, even as a Saab fan you don't just buy a Saab anymore. I have already experienced several times that the interesting Saabs quickly find a new owner, so if you find something, strike. Better today than tomorrow, because then he's gone and in the best case scenario you can see the car again at a Saab meeting.

  • Hello Guido, the 9k would have been very fair and cheap for 5k.

  • In principle, it was the few kilometers that made stomach ache. Can and should one drive such a vehicle daily? With an 9k that had a mileage of 200.000 + x, the decision would have been easy. I can understand that.

    As far as the gearbox is concerned, both automatic and manual gearbox harmonize perfectly. The 5 gearbox is probably the most comfortable Saab ever produced. Short, crisp shift travel, robust. No comparison with Opel transmissions on late models. And the 4 gear ZF automatic makes the 9k a real comfort miracle. What you drive is due to your personal taste. And Max would have preferred the machine.

  • Hello Tom.
    what would the great car have to cost? Funny story ... .You should always have immediate access, if something is offered!
    Best Regards

  • That's the spirit! ! !

    Who knows what reasons Max had for his reflection? The desire for a switch would be a very good one for me too. In the article is another. Maybe it's another? And who knows which (good) reasons Max still had? In any case, I would not begin to think of giving him time to think about the quiet holidays.

    Thumbs up for your 2nd comment ...

  • Edit: Ebay grad is a 9000 with very similar features and a mileage of just 114tkm. He can not keep up with the 76.000 km, but if Max is still on the lookout, maybe he should check it out!

  • What a tragic end. Do not understand why Max hesitated. The desire and the will to replace the stolen 9000 was there, and to get a 9000 in this condition is not common anymore. Had struck there immediately, even if I would rather have taken the manual transmission on the 9000.

  • If I have understood and memorized this article and the previous history correctly, then Max is looking for a CSE, which he likes to move in everyday life (and park in public, but have not [stolen] again) wants ...

    The "luxury problem - from the perspective of a fan" described by Tom can probably be translated as scruples and respect. I think that is very sympathetic and the reflection time comprehensible.

  • Hello Tom
    Thanks for your feedback. Good note with the valuation report. The prices for good SAABs have been on the rise here in Switzerland over the last few years, as nothing comes up and good offers are rare.

  • Oh Max ... that's really stupid but a top car of almost new car quality has the one with you. Okay, a 5min short sleep to calm your conscience is okay.
    I went so with a Turbo X. The are offered with SSD and as a combination quite economical. Dealer called, state discussed, test drive agreed for next Saturday and bought the car virtually on the phone.
    Driven up for test drive (600km) and bought the car despite the on-going engine control lamp. Dealer has made the rep. Course.
    Result: I want, have and am happy with the car

  • I bought my first Saab 5 before 9000 years, a CS 2.0t with deer, with even 1.5 years MFK (TÜV) for 800.- Fr. The only reason was a hole in my cash register, which is why I wanted a Saab for as little money as possible , then I fell in love with the car. Space, power, consumption, maintenance, long-distance, air conditioning, seat heating and trailer load. At 35`000km a year I brought him to 22 centimes per kilometer - unbelievable.
    Before the next check I got an 2.3t Anni offered for very little money and gave away the 2.0t. On Anni I used a set of winter tires, 70l oil, 000x oil filters, 30x air filters, 6x cabin filters, 1x candles, 1x battery, 16x water pump during 1`1km. Now he has 250t down and running and running .... After the winter I will renew all chassis components and brakes. Then the journey continues and continues .... There is no better car for me.

  • Hello Daniel, because of the suspension I had asked extra in Frankfurt. The Anni has the harder aero suspension, the "normal" CSE has (also visually visible) a longer travel.
    The price at which the 9k was sold is not known to me at the moment (as well as the buyer), I do not want to put any wrong numbers in the world.
    For my Anni (Anna project) I have had a valuation made before 3 years, is definitely recommended.

  • My (for me at that time new) 9000 tu had only 2 km ago 32.000 years (a dream, outside red, inside beige), between the TÜV appointments had been driven only about 1.000 km. Until I then lie to 1.000 km. Clear fault memory and continue. But the store collected errors around mistakes. Ultimately, a cable harness was squeezed under the air conditioning compressor and burned bare. Now he soon has 50.000 and is a lot of fun (except for a non-opening wastegate). Yes, almost Mercedes quality (as it once was) and very relaxed driving.

  • Oh, no happy end! Hopefully the great 9k has come into caring hands that appreciate the vehicle. Two questions still arise:
    1) To my knowledge, the harder AERO suspension was not installed in Anni ... I'm lying wrong here?
    2) What was the price of this 9k with its exceptionally low mileage?
    Drive yourself a 9k Anni with the AERO machine as a daily driver. Price would be interesting as an indication of the insurance value.
    The right 9k is bound to come.
    Keep saabing

  • Great and exciting (short) story. Thank you!

    Everything in it and everything. An appetizing introduction, a surprising twist and an unpredictable ending with cliff hangers ...

    It is not better. At least not for me. A reader. For the protagonist (Max), however, already. But there's no cliff hanger and no sequel to a happy ending, right?

    As a reader, I'm looking forward to part 2. And as the protagonist's benevolent and compassionate reader, I hope that in part 2 of this sequel novel for Max with the "new" works. Maybe the offer is comparably good? Maybe Max would prefer a switch? Maybe he gets exactly what he wants most?

    I'm still keeping my fingers crossed!

  • I know that, I just wanted to "sleep over it". Then he was gone, the SAAB. Do not fret!

  • Oh dear, the purest horror version! Too little clear communication ...
    What remains is hopefully health and other well-being ... and wait for another opportunity.
    Traders are trading. One thing finds a buyer. The "rest" is emotion ..., painful.

  • Obviously Max has to learn a bit of spontaneity, you buy that kind of thing on the spot, right away.
    Especially with such a survey report. How can one only ask for reflection time? And leave no contact? An 9000 CSE 2.3 turbo is the best that was produced at the time. I drove a CS 9000 2.3 turbo myself, but after a theft upholstered with wood trim on doors and dashboard. Then gave it to our daughter when she got her driver's license, a wonderful car for life ...


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