What is it?
The latest, most powerful Saab 9-3. The 9-3 1.9 TiD is good for up to 150bhp. But even this sort of power in a diesel-powered small exec saloon is quickly becoming the equivalent of turning up at a party with a cheap bottle of plonk, when everyone else has brought vintage Puligny Montrachet.
BMW’s best-selling 320d offers 174bhp, and the new A4 2.0 TDi is going to be offering comparable grunt.
Enter then, the new Saab 9-3 1.9 TTiD. On sale from early 2008 (the newly facelifted 9-3 has just hit the showrooms) it will be offering 180bhp and 295lb ft of torque. As the extra ‘T’ on the bootlid suggests it’s a near-identical engine to the current offering but the extra grunt comes courtesy of an additional, though smaller, turbocharger and internal strengthening.
What's it like?
One of our criticisms of the current Saab diesel is that it lacks the refinement of German rivals. Sadly it’s more of the same with the more powerful version – with just that last few percent of polish missing when you put your foot down.
But you can’t fault the zestiness with which the new motor endows the baby Saab. It’s got impressive urge from near tickover, all the way through to the red line. and it feels remarkably free-revving for a diesel.