An impossible comparison? Saab against Porsche, Jaguar and Audi.

In the fall of 1991, the Spotlight editorial team in Sweden made a seemingly impossible comparison. The new Saab 9000 against the Jaguar XJ, Audi 100, Porsche 911 and Ford Scorpio. The Porsche as a sports car icon, the XJ an epitome of British luxury. In contrast, the Ford stood for affordable mobility and Audi was on the way up with the new 100.

Saab 9000 Turbo against Audi, Porsche, Jaguar and Ford
Saab 9000 Turbo against Audi, Porsche, Jaguar and Ford

Is the comparison really that impossible? At that time Saab was in a good mood. The second 9000 generation was a hit in every respect. The revised body finally gave the great Swede the serious appearance that had been missing for years. It was safer, more rigid. The new turbo engines were technically at the forefront, the small brand from Sweden had a clear lead over the competition.

The Saab. A car for every situation.

The 9000 drove better than ever and in fact it was seen as a car for every situation. A van with a large loading area when you need it. As a turbo a sports car and with plenty of space the right car for long distances. So what could be more obvious than comparing him to the top dogs?

Jaguar competed with the XJ40. The big cat with the angular headlights is spurned by the fans today, which is anything but fair. Because the XJ 40 saved the brand in a revised form from 1990 and combined style and reliability. The advanced electronics caused trouble in the early years. 30 years later it does it again - and scares off many interested parties.

The Porsche 964 appears as Carrera 2. Air-cooled, as it had to be back then. A belief in Zuffenhausen, only with the 993 waved the farewell to air cooling in the background. You don't have to say much about the Porsche. Its design is still valid today, an icon. Back then, the interior and workmanship were great and still are today. But who compares a Porsche to a 9000?

The question of the Audi 100 is more obvious. The C4 series later became the first A6. The Audi was very ambitious and a big leap forward for the brand. A V6 moved in for the first time, Ingolstadt wanted to catch up with Munich and Stuttgart. The C4 didn't quite work, but it significantly reduced the distance to the competition. With the C4, Audi was one of the most dangerous adversaries for Saab.

Jaguar, Porsche and Audi. I knew all three as new cars. But not the Ford Scorpio. A budget car. But very popular back then and a size on the market. The Scorpio stands for the extinct species of large sedans for an affordable price.

A comparison with potential for cult

The Saab is doing great. In terms of comfort, it is close to the Jaguar, in terms of utility, it all plays against the wall. Unsurprisingly, its advanced technology makes it the most economical to move. The big hour of the Saab 9000 CS comes when accelerating from medium speeds. The discipline that is crucial in everyday life.

The Saab even pulls away from the 911, which has nothing to counter the torque of the Swedish machine with its naturally aspirated engine. In the end, in the sum of the properties, the editors see the 9000 CS in front. He sure is. Because it offers the possibilities of a sports car, a luxurious limousine and a station wagon in a car.

The test is fair, albeit with a wink. After all, who is testing a Jaguar and a Porsche 911 against a Saab 9000 CS? Only Saab people can come up with this. The film from autumn 1991 was only intended for internal use. It's a shame to say.

Because with a larger audience he could have become a cult among Saab fans.

14 thoughts on "An impossible comparison? Saab against Porsche, Jaguar and Audi."

  • @ Detlef Rudolf,

    You are probably absolutely right on every point. I also do not want to have said that Ebasil was wrong.

    My point was just that the marketing guys have little to do with it. They are completely indifferent to their job which car they gloss over ...

    And the management is always welcome to any professional and well-tried orator. You don't necessarily have to change marketing just because you change direction.

    Nevertheless, Heinis sometimes hurts not being allowed to get the maximum out of a brand X or a product Y, being cut and slowed down by the management or group management. The A2 seemed to me a suitable example.

    And I hope that Ebasil will understand it that way and not otherwise. It is best to judge that yourself.

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  • @ Volvaabdriver

    The marketing guys presented Audi as progressive (Vorsprung durch Technik) and also sleek (direction BMW) - in this respect, Ebasil's view is not wrong. The superfluous Q 7s from Audi are also marketed in a similar manner to the superfluous large SUVs from BMW.

    I think that at Audi and BMW the Rüpel faction is roughly the same size and the marketing of the marketing Heinis is similar. I fear that a significant proportion of the Volvo XC 90 drivers have also drifted in this direction.

  • Marketing Heinis (@ Ebasil)

    They really can't help it, they are ultimately just a tool, a flag in the wind of the management.

    They were never allowed to market the A2 (brilliant car) as well as they could and the A2 would have deserved ...

    The management hated the A2. And she didn't begin to understand him. He was just a stumbling block for them on the way up.

    Too reasonable, too small, too weak, too feminine. Irony of history, I know 4 (now former) A2 drivers and they are all male and heterosexual. However, this target group was never courted - they were still happy to buy the A2. Fascinating ...

    The A2 is probably the greatest paradox in marketing and reality that the automotive industry has ever created.

    The used prices speak volumes and the management was obviously wrong. Or maybe not ...

    If the aim of the exercise was a clear macho image, then it is good that the A2 was suppressed and then sawn off. But that doesn't have much to do with Marketing Heinis.

    There are very, very many who would have liked to advertise Audi in a completely different way and would have liked a different, also ecologically progressive thrust for this brand ...

    The management had a completely different imagination. Tomorrow comes the Q7 or even the Q9. Or is there one or both today?

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  • That's why I chose a 900 NG Turbo for everyday use 😉

    Apart from the robust sound of the 5 cylinder, the 2,2 turbos in the C4 / S4 are good for high mileage even with appropriate care. With the V8 alternative, the C4 only became more top-heavy. It was probably pure prestige history to “press” the big V4 into the C4 / S8. In my opinion, the car didn't win.

    If you drive a C4 vacuum cleaner with 4 or 5 cylinders, you don't have to worry much about it. He just does his job. No more and no less. Spare parts are comparatively cheap and quickly available.

    The certain moments that you “experience” with a Saab are of course not feasible with a C4.

  • T. Koch-900,

    I like to think so. There was little to complain about with the suction cups. And anyway, the 5-cylinder principle has caught on (Volvo) ...

    But wasn't it that the C4 / S4 in Taladega failed with a crash and Audi then replaced the turbo with a V8 4.2 in the S4?

    Who was hardly quicker but was very drinkable and ecologically and economically questionable?

    In any case, I remember it so much that Audi did a great deal very well at the time, but was clearly lagging behind in terms of turbo compared to Saab.

    Not to mention the design ...

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  • Ebasil,

    I didn't think the white, leather rear seat of the Audi in the video and the frame-shaped (!) headrests were bad.

    Instead of toilet paper and a dachshund, I see origami and a robot dachshund on the parcel shelf.

    Unless I made a mistake and wrongly assigned the car interiors shown?

    But otherwise I feel the same way. It is the older Audis (especially the hatchbacks and of these the first and oldest) that I can get something out of.

    The rest is arbitrary and probably shows that an economic advancement and image gain works easiest by adaption to the mainstream.

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  • The special thing about the Audi 100 Type C4 shown in the video is less the design. It is more the technical and qualitative solutions. It was also available in the S4 version as a 5-cylinder turbo with 230 hp and 350 Nm / 1950 rpm.

    Had a C6 with a 4 cylinder vacuum cleaner for about 5 years. It was the most reliable and easy to repair car I've ever had.

    ... just a little boring and more arbitrary than a 9000 ... but in their properties the two are noticeably similar.

  • Very awesome video that brings me a lot closer to the 9000! At the time I didn't even have it on my list (wouldn't have been the right car for a student either :-)), I only came to Saab in 2001 (about the convertible). A really fascinating vehicle - in various disciplines.

    The 911 is of course also a classy feast for the eyes - but so is the Jaguar, I think. Two or three model changes later (until the radically changed youngest model) they looked like boring grandpa family carriages. But this one has class and chic!

    Of course I would have chosen the Saab - a highly practical, safe, chic, egg-laying woolly milk sow with a high fun factor and high exclusivity!

    You don't have to talk about the Ford - but the well-known rise of the (later) fraudsters from Ingolstadt fascinates me again and again. To me, these last model series of the Audi 100 also seem totally conservative, “chubby” and stale - just the old toilet roll image. My father had one of those. I found the older models even prettier, just think of the Quattro with the legendary ski jump advertisement (was that in the 80s?).

    How did you make this leap to the appearance and (higher class) image of the past few years? For a sleek sporty (sometimes aggressive bully) car? (What used to be BMW.) You have to get such a total change of image first. All designers and marketing Heinis exchanged ?? In any case, very impressive! Although I would NEVER buy one, but you have to acknowledge that.

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  • @ Big Mac 32,

    honest? The Porsche? Although you should have shifted down a gear or two to overtake the Saab?

    Joking aside. I like to switch and am completely with you. The Saab and the Porsche are two honest, exciting and very different concepts.
    One of the two. The others are too arbitrary for me.

    Would have been fair to test which car makes the jump from 80 to 120 the fastest regardless of the gear selected.

    The 5th gear may be a domain of the Saabs, but if we're all honest, then nobody takes an unnecessary risk….

    If an overtaking maneuver can be shortened in the 4th, I shift down a gear. If it is even shorter in the 3rd, then just 2 courses. In the 5th out of 80 upwards, overtaking maneuvers with oncoming traffic is definitely not my driving experience….

    Nevertheless, I find the power from the lower revs (Saab) very fascinating and actually drive mine a bit lazy ...

    It is quite simply casual and relaxed to see Drângler shrink in the rearview mirror at the exit of the town, without moving wildly in the gears, without organizing speed orgies. I like that, like it a lot ...

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  • Really good. I would have taken the CS back then. Or the Porsche 😉

  • Unfortunately I cannot see these films, I always get this error message:
    "The response from videopress.com took too long"

    Pity !

  • Leonardo da Saabi

    The 9000 is a universal genius. And it wasn't even the AERO that started here.

    It is even more universal in that it also moves closer to the Porsche in the 0 to 100 (in 6,9) and top speed (240) disciplines.

    The 9000 is the most universal car of its time. A cult object forever. Measured against the respective contemporary competition, the best of all Saab ever built with the greatest added value ...

    And he got better and better and extended his lead. For example with the appearance of the AERO.

    Perhaps one could and should have marketed him and the Saab philosophy even more aggressively? In any case, the internal use of valid thoughts for internal videos limits their reach. Too bad.

    And then GM came along and brought its own views and engines. Too bad.

    Truly a cool video. Thanks blog.

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  • Cool film, yes the more posts come over the 9000, the more I want to drive one myself

  • Very cool film! Thank you!

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