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Used Car Profile: Saab Turbo X

Saab Turbo X SportCombi

From saabcentral.com

$16,000 gets you a lot of car if you’re looking for a sporty European sedan made in the last decade. You could, for instance, grab a well-maintained, low mileage BMW E39 540i, or an Audi S6 from the same era. Hell, you could even get a Jaguar XJ8 if you are in a particularly Old World mood. The thing is, though, that all of those cars, wonderful as they may be, are sort of…uninspired. The S6 would be the tarted up version of the A6 (although nobody would be able to tell the difference if they didn’t search for the badges), and the other two were purchased en masse. So what to do then, for the distinguished gentleman looking for a little flair to go with his discerning tastes? Can I interest you in a Saab Turbo X?

The Turbo X began its life when Saab decided that they would like to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the company’s long history with turbochargers. So they grabbed the compact 9-3, dropped in a 280hp turbocharged 2.8L 6-cylinder under the hood, painted it black, and called it a day. The final result was the limited edition Turbo X, of which only 2000 were made in both sedan and wagon forms (600 made their way over to the US). A true Swede would be ready for any sort of weather conditions, so a new Haldex four-wheel drive system keeps the car in line. Interestingly, the system is what Saab calls “active,” meaning that torque application to the rear wheels is predictive rather than reliant on front-wheel slippage.

Saab Turbo X SportCombi Int

The car only comes in a metallic black with a matching interior that, in addition to the three-spoke wheels, is meant to evoke the hot 900 SPG of the mid-1980s. Beautiful black leather seats as unique to the Turbo X, as well as the faux-carbon fiber inserts (the Turbo X was sold in 2008 before that trim was considered tacky). A six-speed manual or automatic can be found just forward of the grab handles, and dutiful application of either transmission will help the Turbo X rocket from 0-60 mph in roughly 5.7 seconds.

The Saab Turbo X is perfect for fans of European cars who are looking for something just a bit out of the ordinary. As only 600 were carried over to the shores of the US, finding one for sale is not a task for the faint of heart. Bypass the normal channels like eBay and Craigslist, they can’t help you here. Best to start at the source, like saabcentral.com, where I was able to find a manual wagon (!) with low miles for only $16,500.

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About Cameron Rogers

Cameron Rogers is the founder and lead writer at Downshift Autos, the only automotive blog on the Internet*. Born in the back of an AMC Gremlin, Cameron vowed to never let this extraordinarily embarrassing detail define him, so help him God. He drives a GTI but absolutely will not shut up about it if somebody asks. He will not hesitate to let people know that no, they shouldn't get a Porsche 911 when a Morgan 3 Wheeler is so obviously the superior choice. He is obsessed with the seats of a Carrera GT and the steering wheel of a Fisker Karma. He once sat in the driver's seat of a Tesla Model S, his greatest accomplishment to date. He is just now realizing that writing an autobiography, however miniscule, in the third person is odd and unnerving. *As of this writing, Cameron has been informed that there are, in fact, many websites and blogs centered around cars and car culture. He regrets his grievous error.

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