SAAB Reviews

Retro Review: Saab 9000 CD Carlsson

Saab 9000 CarlssonSaab 9000 Carlsson

In today’s post on reviews of Saab cars, we recall the review published in 1992 in the magazine “Autocar & Motor“, the then new sports executive sedan Saab 9000 CD Carlsson. This Carlsson version was then presented as one of the most powerful front-drive production cars in the world.

The journalists of this magazine paid special attention to the details in the interior and the unbridled power of the car. Interior rated “Classy” – “While very identifiably a Saab, the Carlsson boasts veneer and a sporty strip…”

Lap of Luxury

The CD Carlsson combines a huge 220hp of power with executive saloon comforts – a very special company car…

The Sportiest Saab strikes an aggressive, purposeful stance. With an exterior styling packagethat includes special 16-inch alloy wheels, spoilers and sill extensions, it’s not a car you can be anonymous in.

The Carlsson may stake its performance claim openlyfrom the outside, but once you’re inside it’s back to luxury sallon status.

The Interioris very plush with leather seats, all the executive goodies you’d expect and a full wood veneer dash. And there is one aide memoire left to keep the driver feeling smug – the steering wheel carries a Carlsson badge.

Saab 9000 Carlsson

Once you press the go pedal there are plenty of other reminders you are driving a rather special Saab. Under the bonnet is a tuned version of the 2.3-litre turbocharged engine introduced in 1990. In Carlsson form, the four-cylinder, 16-valve unit churns out a whopping 220 horsepower, making the CD one of the most powerful production front-wheel-drive cars in the world.

That is enough to give this Saab kick in the pants acceleration that the vast majority of cosy, executive saloons lack. But it comes at a price. Even with a traction control system fitted as standard, the Carlsson is a bit of a handful at times, weaving from side to side under acceleration, especially in the wet. The smoother your driving style, the more you’ll get out of the car.

What’s most impressive about the engine, though, is the huge amount of pulling power available, and the lowly 2,000rpm at which it’s delivered. With flexibility to match performance, the Saab has a foot in both the sports car and classy saloon camps. There are few cars on the road, for example, can accelerate from 50 to 70 miles per hour in just 5.4 seconds. Overall, the Carlsson is an attractive package with a lot of charm.

PLUS: Power matched to luxury, flexibility

MINUS: Slightly unrefined