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 when Max and I set off for a 9000 test drive. Shortly before Christmas I got the unexpected offer to replace Max's stolen Anniversary with an interesting 9k. The key data alone are tough ...

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 the 9000 is a typical retired car. Smaller traces of enemy contact adorn the body. Nothing dramatic, the Saab wears a friendly uni paint that would keep the costs of future repairs within limits. The aha experience begins when you get started. The heavy, black leather of the seating is as supple as on the first day. There are no signs of use. You sink into the Saab armchair and never want to leave it. New car feelings? For sure! The view wanders through the interior, it remains 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 mind. 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 hard, sporty chassis. The 9000 flies its way gently on pothole slopes, almost like a classic, large Citroen with the legendary hydropneumatics. My Anni would shake, rattle and become uncomfortable on the same route.

The body does not rattle, the load drives very easily and confidently. It is this feeling that characterizes well-motorized vehicles. You relax, loosen up, because you can demand sufficient strength almost at any time. Not that this is our concern, but it's really fun to just let the excited armada of new cars with their inflated small engines stand.

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

It becomes really clear when you drive faster than the recommended motorway speed. Every 9000 I know gets loud then. More or less, depending on the state of care. Wind noise dominates, and it gets really intense in vehicles with a sunroof. Not with this copy. Despite the sunroof, the interior remains pleasantly quiet, no hurricane raging, true upper class level. Logical, because the seals on doors and windows are velvety soft. They nestle against the body, as was once thought in Trollhättan. Why the 9000 was almost certified as Mercedes quality back then, at a time when this was still being delivered in Stuttgart, becomes clear again.

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 underbody is as ex-works, and apart from the paint, no signs of wear. A museum condition, also externally, if you prepare the Saab nicely. Max has a problem with that. Can you, should you drive the Saab in everyday life? Or do you have to preserve the unique condition? A certain luxury problem - from a fan's point of view.

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."

  • By then I understood Max, but for 5k you shouldn't think about it but buy a 9-5 for every day and drive the 9k on weekends ... Hope that the new owner takes care of it.

  • 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 felt like buying a third vehicle. I once saw the 9000s on the market, what they look like, how many kilometers they can cover, and what they cost. So if you know your way around the scene better, you might think that there are multiple opportunities like this. But from what I've found on the web, such a car - for 5 bricks? How can you not immediately sign the purchase contract and pay down, especially when you know that you want to detox for a week? I already thought so when reading the article. And now, after my research, I don't understand it at all. As I said - maybe those who know the scene will see many other such possibilities, but I would not have found peace on vacation. Quiet time? You know that then people have time to go on the prowl. And a car with the profile is gone rather quickly. Maybe I'm just writing this because no one has said it so clearly in the comments - so I don't understand the hesitation in no time at all. Where should something better come from? Where the 9000s already sell 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 this is a bicycle chain. Like my new 9-5 SC or else a lot in connection with Trollhättan and SAAB ...

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

  • The comment about the driving school is good when I took my driving test in November 1959, there was still no Saabs 9-5 SC with manual D / M and M / D switching and the paddles on the steering wheel, but you finally have that in the end Handle. By the way, on the subject of modern transmissions: I drove a rented brand new BMW 118i machine (to protect my Saab and keep it young in terms of kilometers) last summer 7500 km from Switzerland to Lofoten and back via Rostock, which now really had the M, S and D functions everything in the JoyStick, that was maybe a pleasure ... Then you can really feel the difference that 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 😉
    In any case, I'll be there then, with a journey of around 1600km, with automatic transmission in the 93 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 have a good trip with the machine. The fact that the clutch is firmly in the last gear reduces fuel consumption and is smart. At home on long journeys. Typical SAAB ...

  • The 9000CSE with the 2.3 Turbo with 200PS and automatic transmission is also a very successful combination in my eyes, and I find it a bit more '9000 experience 100%' when driving and enjoying than with the manual transmission variants that I have about the I've driven like this for years.
    I currently have a very similar car - 1997 model year, black outside, black inside, CSE, 200HP automatic, almost fully equipped including a large audio system except for metallic paint and electrically adjustable seats - which I would like to give up in the near future. It is suitable (up to now also technically very well maintained) about 320.000km more as a daily driver and still has a good, basic substance that is worth preserving, and also works very pleasantly technically.
    If Max is interested in it - I think I visited a green 9000 anniversary in Dresden for him a few years ago - he is welcome to contact me at the email address that Tom has.

  • Looks like it, speed is constant at around 134 km / h and he masters the inclines with the turbo, afterwards it goes down again and the number of tours drops. Thanks for the explanation for the loss of transmission, which I was not aware of until now. Reasonable, moderate increase in the individual gears, however, already results in lower consumption - only this contradicts today's driving style, where the drivers only see the only satisfaction in accelerating as quickly as possible, because the speeds in Switzerland are massively limited everywhere. You are an obstacle on the road if you only accelerate moderately. My current 2.3T was put into service in March 2009. By the way, buying Saabs with 150 - 200k km is also risky. I did it twice, both times the fuel pump died and one even the turbo died. It always depends on how the previous driver drove…. And if you have such a breakdown in heavy diesel France, where nobody has petrol spare parts in stock, you lose 3 days until you can continue your journey ... No fun ....

  • If I've got it right, the 9-5 2,3T machine engages firmly in the last gear while driving at a constant and sufficiently fast speed. In this driving situation, the power transmission is as loss-free as with a switch. Your example is 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!

    Everyone agrees that the price was, of course, too low. 9.000 would have been real, with a little smart repair. But here it was less about profit or asking for as much money as possible. A Saab should stay on the road and be 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 that would justify a period of time to think about it (wrong gearbox plus maybe a high price) are gradually disappearing into thin air ...

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

    I can still understand the stomach ache to a certain extent, I still find it likeable, but on the other hand Max now has to grapple 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 should the great car have cost? Funny story .... You should always grab it immediately when something is offered!
    Best Regards

  • That's the spirit! ! !

    Who knows what reasons Max had for his time to think it over? The desire for a switch would be a very good one for me too. Another is in the article. Maybe it's another one? And who knows what other (good) reasons Max had? In any case, I wouldn't even begin to accuse him of having to think about it between the holidays, which are assumed to be quiet ...

    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 correctly understood or memorized this article and the previous history, then Max is looking for a CSE that he would like to move around in everyday life (and park publicly, but not have stolen [again]) ...

    The “luxury problem - from the point of view of a fan” described by Tom can be translated as scruples and respect. I find that very likeable and the time to think about it is understandable.

  • 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 you take a top car that is almost new in quality. Okay, a 5min nap 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 9000 years ago, a CS 2.0t with a deer, with 1.5 years of MFK (TÜV) for CHF 800. The only reason was a hole in my cash register, which is why I buy a Saab for as little money as possible then I fell in love with the car. Space, performance, consumption, maintenance, suitable for long distances, air conditioning, seat heating and trailer load. At 35km a year, I got it to 000 cents per kilometer - unbelievable.
    Before the next inspection, I was offered a 2.3t Anni for very little money and gave the 2.0t away. On the Anni I used a set of winter tires, 70l of oil, 000x oil filter, 30x air filter, 6x interior filter, 1x candles, 1x battery, 16x water pump for 1km. Now he has 1t down and runs and runs…. After the winter I will replace all the chassis components and brakes. Then the journey goes on and on…. For me there is no better car.

  • Hello Daniel, I asked specifically about the suspension in Frankfurt. The Anni has the harder aero suspension, the “normal” CSE has (also visually visible) a longer suspension 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) As far as I know, the harder AERO suspension was not installed in the Anni ... am I 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 on it. An appetizing introduction, a surprising twist and an unpredictable ending with a cliff hanger ...

    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 of the sympathetic and sympathetic reader, I hope that part 2 of this sequel novel will work for Max with the “new one”. Maybe the offer is comparably good? Maybe Max would prefer a switch? Maybe he'll get exactly what he wants most?

    I'm still keeping my fingers crossed!

  • I know that, I just wanted to “sleep on it”. Then it was gone, the SAAB. Do not fret!

  • Oh dear, the purest horror version! Too little clear communication ...
    Hopefully what remains is health and other well-being ... and waiting for another opportunity.
    Traders do business. Something 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 you ask for time to think it over? And leave no contact option? A 9000 CSE 2.3 turbo is the best that was produced at that time. I drove a CS 9000 2.3 turbo myself, but after a theft it was padded with wooden panels on the 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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