Saab 2007 9-3 Convertible Stands Out

By: Michelle Crimson

Only a few would buy a Saab to blend in with the crowd. Fewer still would buy a convertible (that collapsible roof notwithstanding) to maintain a low profile.

But there is this Saab convertible. Yes, you heard it right. Expect a full attention, as well as approval - and maybe some envy -- as fellow road users react to the well polished lines of this 9-3 drop-top with top of the line . Like a piece of sea-softened beach glass, it glimmers on its own or as accessory to the driver.

Noticeable are the inner door panels that are painted to suit the exterior color, the thick, soft leather of the seats, and the big, well-defined gauges of an instrument panel that has been revamped for 2007 but maintains its Saab-sense of jet-fighter function. This 9-3 carries a premium, $50,000-plus list price, but a premium ride is also assured.

This front-driver responds quickly enough to the wheel to put some fun in an active, open-air run along your favorite bit of curvy pavement. This is so despite of intent as a cruiser and not as a sportster.

The Saab 9-3 convertible has a turbocharger to provide 210 horsepower. It comes along with a 2.0-litre four-cylinder that spins along happily. Power can be described as better than decent. You might wish for a happier exhaust note, but you will be pleased by the economical fuel consumption, which is pegged at just 7.3 liters per 100 kilometers on the highway.

For 2008, the 9-3 will get updated front and rear styling. However, do not expect for an unprecedented retractable steel roof for the convertible because Saab is maintaining its well-lined, power-folding soft top. The 2008 reinvention is expected to leave enough trunk space for two golf bags. And that seems fitting in other respects too given the 9-3 soft-edged but distinct identity.

The 2007 Saab 9-3 Convertible
Type: Front-wheel drive convertible
Seats: Four
Price as tested: $56,130 including destination and PDI
Engine: Two-litre, four-cylinder turbo with 210 h.p. at 5,500 r.p.m. and 221 lb.-ft. of torque at 2,500 r.p.m.
Transmission: Five speed automatic
Wheelbase: 2,675 mm (105.3 in.)
Curb weight: 1,578 to 1,612 kg (3,480-3,550 lb.)
Tires: 215/55R16 93H all season
Brakes: Four-wheel disc, hydraulic with electronic brake-force distribution, brake assist, vacuum booster, antilock,. traction control, electronic stability, ventilated front discs.
Notable option: OnStar communications system
Consumer Reports predicted reliability: NA (2006 2-litre, four-cylinder turbo rated much worse than average)
Fuel consumption, L/100 km (m.p.g.): City 11.6 (24.3), Hwy. 7.3 (38.7)
Fuel: Regular unleaded
Warranty, yrs./km: Base 4/80,000 new vehicle limited, 5/160,000 powertrain, 5/160,000 roadside assistance

The specs are courtesy of Autoscanada.com.

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