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SAAB 9-3

1246710

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    rfellmanrfellman Member Posts: 109
    R&T may be a bucketful of hooey but it sure stuck a wholel lot less than the CU piece comparing the 9-3 to BMW, AUDI And ACURA.
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    FREDERICKFREDERICK Member Posts: 228
    This was originally written in the "Sedans" section under "Any Saab lovers" Read it and chuckle, or contemplate and respond!

    Are we the new AMC Hornet drivers of the modern
    day? You might be right! What an atrociuos
    thought. I guess we may be, by the rest of the
    world's standards. I sure hope not. Oh well
    Dilbert let's accept our fait.

    Any man who can drive a Hornet, or any other AMC
    monstrosity with pride and dignity is O.K. in my
    book although I might question his wisdom in
    picking a marque.

    I myself owned a Hornet for very brief time when
    I was in college. I picked it up from a Greek
    foreign student for $300 when he couldn't unload it
    before he graduated and returned home. I ended up
    selling it to a load of Australian guys who
    arrived in town and wanted to find cheap
    transportation to tour the country in.

    They bought the car and did the whole tour with
    only one minor breakdown that was promply fixed
    before they hit the road again. The car returned
    to the West Coast twice as ugly as the day it left
    and the Australians were totally thrilled. How
    five guys could tour the United States in a two
    door Hornet is beyond me.

    P.S. I shudder to think of the design genious who
    came up with a car that honked every time you tried
    to put anything or anyone in the back seat.
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    woj1woj1 Member Posts: 48
    egospoon
    Saab sells the subwoofer kit over the net for the 9-3 for $ 500...plus install costs. My dealer claims that the OBD senses the presence of the unt and therefore it is the only troublefree option. I kind of doubt that since the head unit is a Sanyo...anybody out there done any stereo mods?
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    EgospoonEgospoon Member Posts: 10
    Thanks woj1. Actually the speaker side is all good now. Got MBQuarts in there with a nice amp and it sounds great.

    New problem: AMS Car Stereo in Mtn View says they literally cannot locate, anywhere, an aftermarket changer that will integrate with the '99 9-3 driver controls.

    What's up with that? Has anybody here put in an aftermarket changer? Which one? And what is the OEM unit? Used to be a Clarion. Is it still?
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    wagbillwagbill Member Posts: 3
    I am about to acquire a base 9-3 by either lease or purchase - and the means of acquisition is gist of this inquiry. I have been out of car market for awhile -- I currently drive an 1983 rabbit gti with 185k (the car is in excellent condition, I've just become hesitent to take it on lengthy trips) -- so I am not accustomed to the leasing life. I have always heard that if you plan to keep a car (which is my expectation), a purchase, rather than a lease, is more economical and hassle-free (no need to worry about mileage or spilled coffee costs). At this point I have negotiated the dealer down to invoice, and I am able to get financing at 6%. Looking at the subsidized lease program, it appears that although the front end lease has little cost, the residual value is bumped up, such that if I buy the car after the lease I end up financing the bulk of the car at used car rates. It appears that the overall cost between purchase or subsidized lease is a wash, such that it comes down to: the hassles or hidden costs of a lease, vs losing the investment value of the upfront downpayment. I am leaning toward purchase, more on an emotional basis, I don't want to feel that I am borrowing someone's car. Anyway, if I am missing something obvious I'd appreciate the feedback. By the way, I was planning to purchase another GTI, until I drove the 9-3. Thanks very much. Wagbill
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    goldbergergoldberger Member Posts: 58
    As one considering a long term purchase, a lease deal still does have a couple of interesting features. Especially in dealing with a Saab, which has both a pretty steep depreciation rate and a thin market, leasing allows the option of "bailing out" of the car after a couple or three years without being TOTALLY WIPED cost wise. This is especially true when the lease has some incentive money in it.

    The second interesting quirk is tied right back to the unrealisitic "residual value" put into the lease calculation itself. At the end of the lease, you can often negotiate a lower price from the leasing company, or alternatively extend the lease term. My accountant did the former, and my brother did the latter, with their Honda leases, and in both cases the reason they could do it was the same. The residual value in the lease was higher than the going retail price for the car, let alone the wholesale price which the leasing company can expect to receive on the open market.

    Hint: When inquiring about negotiating the buy-out at the end of the lease, don't bother talking to the dealer. His interest is best served if you give the car back. He has "first shot" at the return, which he can resell, and he as first shot at selling you a replacement. Buy out or extend the lease, and the dealer is left holding the short straw.
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    FREDERICKFREDERICK Member Posts: 228
    We went for the Saab lease program because at the time it was an Edmund's Gold Star lease that had a real money cost factor of only 2%.

    The second reason was that we to be honest had our doubts about the Saab's long term reliability and depreciation. We do not have frist hand knowledge of oong term ownership of a Saab and what it is like, nor do we have any close friends or family that has with which we might consult so we went for the "safer" lease route to give us a chance to know Saabs better and determine if it was a brand we trusted.

    I come from a family of long term car owners but I've only really experienced long term ownership with American made cars previously.
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    wagbillwagbill Member Posts: 3
    Thanks for your comments on leasing. I was not aware that one could negotiate on the residual value at the end of the lease. One comment on Saab-life: my sister-in-law drives an old 900 which has 180K (we were competing to get to 200K); her husband had to turn in his Saab 9000 on his business lease - they gave him an Audi A6 this year. He sorely misses the Saab. Thanks again. wagbill
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    FREDERICKFREDERICK Member Posts: 228
    Best wishes and stay in touch. The Edmund's forums are an informative source to any car owner.
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    wagbillwagbill Member Posts: 3
    I noticed that the 9-3 I am considering was manufactured in 6/98. On the surface, it does not have such 9-3 features as the dash-mounted cup holder. Does anyone know if it lacks any other new features? Was there a 1998 9-3 model? Thanks for any input. wagbill
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    bo_chungbo_chung Member Posts: 61
    was manufactured in 4/98. Mine also lacks the dash-mounted cup holder. But I don't miss it. That's about the only difference and no, there were no 1998 9-3. They had a couple of running changes made to the 9-3 SE 5-spd (HOT and new wheels).
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    rfellmanrfellman Member Posts: 109
    Check SAAB USA web page under news. There is ablurb about mid year improvements to the 9-3. I think there were a few other changes, none of which would seriously impact performance. I have seldom if ever made use the dash mounted cup holder with the exception of using it to use a ceramic ash tray (coffee cup) for my Honduran grown Hoyo de Montereys.
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    rfellmanrfellman Member Posts: 109
    The 9-3 is performing very well with no discernible problems. IF anything engine performance seems to be improving and shifting and accelerations seems to have gotten smoother and quicker. Handling is amazing so long as you can stomach sitting so high and upright. Braking still phenomenal. Car is definitely at home on the interstate or back roads. Great ride and love affair continues. Considering leasing a second 9-3 for household after buying first one. MAy try to get a Viggen coupe and give wife the sedan.
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    FREDERICKFREDERICK Member Posts: 228
    We got our 9-3 back in late Aug. with over 6K miles on it now. It's original 20 MPG has actually improved to above 22MPG (on an automatic). We drive mostly freeways with little stop and go. We've had no other problems with it.

    Dislikes:( VERY FEW! I'd like a functional "univeral" cup holder. The seat back adjusters are almost impossible to get your hands around. I'd like a center arm rest for long drives over an hour.

    Likes:) GREAT ACCELERATION! I love the easy access that the trunk/rear storage area provides. For a car its size the 9-3's carrying cappacity is truly amazing. Thank God she didn't choose the Camery, Accord, Maxima or their higher end cousins!
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    JoeDamaJoeDama Member Posts: 5
    I bought the aftermarket armrest for the 9-3 through the dealer. I'm sure your dealer can order you one, or you can get it (and many other aftermarket accessories) through the Saab catalog at www.saabcatalog.com.

    Yes, I also like my 9-3 very much. Huge trunk space and lots of acceleration. Great brakes, too!
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    FREDERICKFREDERICK Member Posts: 228
    Thanks JoeDama I'll look into this from my local dealer.
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    rfellmanrfellman Member Posts: 109
    I travel frequently, and while you can rent SAAB 9-3s from Budget in a few markets, I really miss my SAAB when I ride in Jimmy's and Lincolns or Cadillacs or Park Avenue Ultras. The SAAB handles, brakes and accelerates so well that SAABites quickly begin to take such attributes for granted. If I could rent SAABs in Detroit, Chicago and elsewhere, I would. Recently I took a coworker to south Illinois and we really opened it up on some rural highways with sone significants bends and hills along the Mississippi. He was impressed and I was just having fun. Interestingly, people in Saturns would tailgate me at 65 on backroads and I had fun watching them fade fast in the rear view.
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    FREDERICKFREDERICK Member Posts: 228
    Last weekend we went to a BMW sponsored safety drive course at Dodger Stadium. They had hundreds of 3 series there and I can tell you that they too are one hell of a fun to drive car. Rear wheel drive is very different form the Saab's front wheel drive but then you don't get the Saab's torque steer either.
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    bluejays1bluejays1 Member Posts: 40
    We're about to trade in our 900 for a 9-3 and I'm wondering about fuel requirements. Brochure says 90 octane is recommended, but 87 is OK.
    What do 9-3 owners do?
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    FREDERICKFREDERICK Member Posts: 228
    We use almost exclusively Premium in our V-8's and it does seem to make a difference. The Saab is too new for me to tell whether Premium makes a difference. We do always buy branded gas from a quality local producer.
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    bluejays1bluejays1 Member Posts: 40
    Regarding the aftermarket armrest, does it render the cupholder useless, or does it flip up much like the cupholder lid does?
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    bo_chungbo_chung Member Posts: 61
    87 or higher is fine. I've used 87 - 93 without noticing much difference. All new Saabs have trionic engine management system that adjusts for the difference in octance ratings. And this happens so fast (milliseconds) that you'll never hear hear the "knock" or "ping." You do however, get a slight increase in performance if you use the premium fuel. I think the system advances the ignition timing a bit when it detects the higher octane fuel.
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    FREDERICKFREDERICK Member Posts: 228
    Thanks for the input on the gas. Do you ever use injector cleaners on your Saab? I've noticed that this too will make a difference on the V-8's. What is your experience or advice on Saabs?
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    bo_chungbo_chung Member Posts: 61
    No. I've never used injector cleaners on my Saabs. Regular scheduled maintenance should be all that's required to keep your Saab going 100K+ miles (notwithstanding a few trips to the dealer for minor fixes, of course). Injectors on older domestics required cleaning/replacing from time to time but with detergent gasolines as good as they are now, I wouldn't bother till I am close to 50K miles at least. IMO, you won't see any life leaving the I-4 turbo till it's well past the 100K mark. And even then, injectors may not be the parts needing the immediate attention. Others may have different opinions on it though.
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    dskidski Member Posts: 414
    While it is true that the Saab has a very good fuel management system, I would caution that you may not be happy over the long run by cheating you engine out of the recommended octane. Experts I've talked to on the subject all agree that you should use the recommended octane for your vehicle No More and No Less. The fuel management system is designed to allow you to use lesser octane or higher octane for those times when you may not have a choice.

    My big American V8 Durango runs great on the recommended "Cheap Stuff", I love those cheap gas prices when I'm in St. Louis. And our 9-5 runs fine on the recommended middle grade. Also, you should have no concern over buying gas from a non-major gas station. Watch when they get their gas deliveries. Don't be surprised to see a Shell or BP truck at the QT or 7-11. The only stations I'd avoid are the independent ones that look run down. There you run the risk of bad tanks that could be leaking and taking in water. I'm no expert on all this but I ask lots of questions from those who are.

    Good Luck
    Drew S.
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    rfellmanrfellman Member Posts: 109
    St Louis does seem to have some awfully low gas prices. I usually use 93 octane in my SAAB 9-3 and throttle repsonse is excellent. A bad tank of gas can clog your fuel filter and make you think you need a new transmissions. Worst tank I ever bought was in BAngor Maine in 1989. Remember the drive back to Rhode Island in my full size Chevy Blazer tp this day/ Had flashbacks to my piece of junk Cherokee Laredo with its junked transmissions that I blew out in the Catskills in a snow storm while shifting on the fly as advertised. Don't miss these pre-"SUV" SUVS at all. Give me the 9-3 every day over any SUV.
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    FREDERICKFREDERICK Member Posts: 228
    Thanks for the input, I'll just run Super in our 9-3 from now on. We do so much city driving that it really is hard for me to tell how the car is truly running. I'd love to get our Saab out on a long twisty road some day but it's either freeway or stop and go where we live.
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    SporinSporin Member Posts: 1,066
    I am curious what kind of fabulouse lease deals people have gotton on base 9-3's.

    I would be looking for a 3 year lease, 15k miles/year with no cap cost reduction and a maximum out of pocket of first + security. Has anyone gotton a deal like this yet?

    Saab has a nationally advertized "$299.00/month lease deal" but total out of pocket is over $2000.00. I am told that there are MUCH better deals out there.
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    eckdareckdar Member Posts: 30
    I did a lease on a 9-3 Base 4dr optioned with sunroof, heated seats, leather and CD last month.
    total invoice: 27512
    total MSRP: 29600
    Cap Cost: 28312
    term: 39 months
    Mileage: 12k/year
    money factor: 0.00072
    residual value: 56%
    Cap Cost reduction: $999
    Acquistion fee: $250
    Security deposit: $0
    Total out-of-pocket including tax, 1st payment of $323.79, title and license, ac. fee and cap cost red: $1693.73

    A fabulous deal? I'll let you be the judge. Was good enough for me.
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    tshafrantshafran Member Posts: 4
    Considering a base 9-3 with auto lease. Haven't driven yet, but am wondering audio quality of stock equipment. Have seen some posts on adding an aftermarket subwoofer, but how is the basic audio as I'm concerned about adding equipment due to lease? I'm not an audiophile, but do like a variety of music and like good, crisp, clear sound. Any thoughts would be appreciated.
    TGS
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    bluejays1bluejays1 Member Posts: 40
    Tshafran:
    I just got a 9-3 this week, after four years with a 900s, which we traded in. I didn't read anything about the sound system being upgraded from the 900 to 9-3, but my early impressions are that it sounds much better. At least one rear speaker in the old car rattled when the "right" tone of bass went through it.
    We got the in-dash CD this time, as opposed to the six-pack changer last time (only cassette was aval. in dash in 1995).
    The base unit comes with four speakers and provisions for two more in the front doors, which you get if you get the SE. I had a Harper Brothers cd cranked up today, and it sounded terrific.
    My only complaint is a carryover from the 900. The front speakers provide virtually no bass. If you fade to mostly or all front speakers (if, say you 3-yr-old daughter is sleeping in the back), you get no bass. I thought this was unique to my 900, but now I see it wasn't.
    For this reason alone, I am considering adding the two front speakers and whatever amplification they require.
    But if you don't fade to front, I think you'll be very happy with the standard four speakers.
    The redundant steering wheel controls are nice too, although I wish they lit up.
    Another oddity: When the CD is playing the electric antenna retracts, which is fine to reduce wind noise, etc. When you switch to radio, it goes up, which is OK too except that I was switching a cd today, and when I popped it out, the thing reverted to radio and the antenna got about half way up before I put in the new cd and it started coming back down again. Too bad there isn't a delay or something if you're in cd mode.
    Sorry to ramble. Enjoy the test drive.
    Chris
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    dskidski Member Posts: 414
    tshafran,

    If done properly, audio upgrades should not be a concern with a leased vehicle. A simple speaker upgrade and addition of a sub and amp can usually be done in a way that will allow you to remove them from the vehicle easily and transfer them to a new one. If you take this approach it is easier to justify the expense since you are making a more long term investment.

    Another thing to consider is to have your Saab dealer install the upgrade available from them and put it in as optional equipment in the lease. I have found the higher end unit from Saab to be better than most factory systems but still short of a high quality after market system. The addition of high end speakers, sub and amp will give you a great system but you can expect to pay as much as 2 grand for the proper set up.

    Drew S.
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    tshafrantshafran Member Posts: 4
    Thank you for the audio info. Will have to wait till next week to visit our local dealer to test a 9-3. I'll also check our local mobile audio supplier for additional advice. Hope everyone's enjoying their Saabs and will let you know what I decide on. Thanks
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    rfellmanrfellman Member Posts: 109
    The base 9-3 has 6 speakers, 2 in the front dash, 2 in the doors and two back by the hatch cover. I think the sound is great but then I have never been a chronic audiophile. In fact I prefer driving in silence to enhance my concentration and ability to focus on other drivers' ill advised tactics as well as to facilitate visualizations of contract revisions and negotiation strategies for work related matters. A SAAB speeding its way down a thruway in relative silence elicits interesting associative insights and is excellent therapy for fatigue.
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    bluejays1bluejays1 Member Posts: 40
    In my brief time in this forum I have come to rely on rfellman's information and observations, but I must correct posting 194. The base 9-3 has four speakers, not six. You must get the SE to get the additional 40 watt speakers in the front doors.
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    bo_chungbo_chung Member Posts: 61
    I don't know who's right but according to the spec sheet, base 9-3 is supposed to have 6 speakers. But I am recalling an old spec. from last year. They might have changed that. I thought the only difference between base and SE stereo was a subwoofer and 20 extra amps.
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    dskidski Member Posts: 414
    I believe the base does have 6 speakers but only in 4 locations. That means two probably have tweeters that properly count as speakers. The SE I suspect actually has 8 speakers in 6 locations. At least that has always been my understanding. The two located in the doors are probably sub woofers or speakers that are amplified for more bass.

    Of course I could be totally wrong but I hope someone is keeping a score card because I'm totally confussed now.

    Drew S.
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    bluejays1bluejays1 Member Posts: 40
    Maybe you Americans get a better audio package, but up here in Canada, the base 9-3 gets the AS2 sound system (4x20W speakers) and the SE gets AS3 (4x20W + 2x40W speakers).
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    rfellmanrfellman Member Posts: 109
    SAABites. Now hear this. My base 1999 9-3 purchased in December of 1998 has six (6) speakers. If you got four (2) in a base 9-3, return to the dealer and ask for the other two (2) you paid for. Unless SAAB is altering trim levels for the worse in mid 99, someone is mistaken. Bo Chung has got it right. The SE has more power and a woofer. I have two speakers by the hatch, two in the from doors and two in the dash along with the in dash CD. Doe sthe owner of the 4 speaker 9-3 have a cassette in dash? Could that be reason for the missing speakers?
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    rfellmanrfellman Member Posts: 109
    Due to the lower average ambient air tempatures and increased ability of sound waves to travel through lower density air in the Great White North, SAAB engineers determined that the two extra speakers which so useful in the torrid 48 down below would merely cause ruptured ear drums among Canadians unaccustomed to American decibel levels. Once again, SAAB was only thinking of safety first. Additional studies of Canadians in a controlled double blind study conducted by MI-5 during WWII indicated that Canadians performed poorly on routine mechanical aptitude tests when confornted by white noise emanating from more than four sources. This also indicates why Australian, American and British pop stars dominate the recording industry. Canadians like the KIWIs down under just don't drive well with any audio system better than quadaphonic.
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    rfellmanrfellman Member Posts: 109
    Sweeden dumps shoddy 9-3s in Canada because Canadians are so damn polite they won't complain. By saving two speakers with every model sold, SAAB increases profits and can buy 100 cases of Finlandia Vodka for x-mass party at Helsinki motel for convertible production line workers.
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    bluejays1bluejays1 Member Posts: 40
    I love the Cdn. theories as to why I have four speakers with my base 9-3 with in-dash cd player. Although I am incredibly polite, I also am curious, so I looked up the U.S. Saab site and to find the following:

    DRIVER CONTROLS & INSTRUMENTATION

    Telescopic steering wheel

    Variable intermittent windshield wiper/washer

    Electronic speed control

    80-watt AM/FM stereo cassette with Weather Band and CD changer controls

    Steering-wheel-mounted audio controls

    Stereo anti-theft lock-out code

    4 acoustically engineered speakers


    I would say anyone who got six speakers with a base model did very well and shouldn't mention it to his dealer.
    I only have the speaker covers on the front doors.
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    bluejays1bluejays1 Member Posts: 40
    You can confirm this by going to:
    http://www.saabusa.com/models/9-3coupe/tech/
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    bo_chungbo_chung Member Posts: 61
    if Saab doesn't classify tweeters and woofers as speakers. Other makes definitely do.
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    dskidski Member Posts: 414
    I don't know if they classify tweets and woofs as speakers or not but they should. They ARE speakers and maybe the most important ones for a truely great sound system.
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    bluejays1bluejays1 Member Posts: 40
    At www.saabcatalog.com, you'll find this item for sale:

    9-3 Audio Upgrade
    Expand the audio system of your 9-3 and enhance your enjoyment with this audio upgrade kit. Conversion kit increases the output and sound quality to that of the 9-3 SE. Includes a 2 x 40W external amplifier and two mid/low-range front door speakers. Dealer installation recommended.
    $500.00

    Seems odd to offer it if the base really comes equipped with door speakers.
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    olafolaf Member Posts: 2
    my base 9-3 (with cd) has 2 speakers in the dash (something small, maybe 4"), and 2 near the hatch (fairly decent bass, maybe 6", or some oblong shape). There are cutouts and covers for the optional (std. on SE) mid/low (no tweets) door mounted drivers (included is a 2x40 amp) 2x40 max power, more like 2x20 continuous watts. The high frequency response suggested separate tweeters which would technically increase speaker count, until I read that the speaker sytem employs something called "electric aerial". If you're looking to upgrade, save money in the aftermarket and get better quality at the same time.
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    dskidski Member Posts: 414
    olaf,

    I couldn't agree more! While Saabs upgraded system is better than most factory units, you won't beat the quality of many after market upgrades. The system in my Durango was soo bad, I couldn't bear it for very long. So I simply added a Rockford amp, JL Sub and 4 Rockford speakers all of which inluded seperate tweeters. I haven't replaced the head unit yet and may not since most people are truely amazed at the sound quality. If you really want exceptional sound quality, this type of upgrade would be ideal for a Saab.

    For those of you looking for a more affordable upgrade, you could go with a simple speaker upgrade. MB Quart markets speaker upgrades for factory systems that is worth looking into but don't skip the sub, clarity in highs and lows are what seperates good from great systems. The Saab head units should be very good for these types of upgrades.

    Drew S.
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    woj1woj1 Member Posts: 48
    My base 9-3 has only four speakers, with the grilles in place for the door speakers. The $500 tariff for the additional amplifier and door speakers seems rather stiff considering that the head unit is just a Sanyo. I bought my vehicle in the first week of May last year...
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    olafolaf Member Posts: 2
    Sanyo? Did you put that in yourself? I don't think Saab would put a Sanyo product into one of their vehicles. I would guess Clarion, or possibly Harmon Kardon.

    Drew, agree with the JL's and Quarts. Rockford knows their stuff, but I'll live and die by Phoenix Gold (or PPI)
This discussion has been closed.