This has to be the "Mother of All Saabs" in terms of sheer performance, comfort/room, handling, high speed roadability and fuel efficiency. A true Saab "Aero"... NOT a marketing logo/brand afterthought in the GM era of "Saabs". Why? 225HP... 215lbs of torque... 75+ MPH sustained highway cruise "all day long"... 27 to 32MPG at speed... classified as a "large size car" with nice hatchback/trunk... and on and on.
Somebody in a previous review said the 9000 Aero is probably most underrated car in last 15 or 20 years. I couldn't agree more. This Saab is a WOLF in SHEEP'S clothing. Just ask my 'victims' as I blast past them doing 110+ when they're trying to out distance me. Part of this performance is aerodynamic related. It has a low co-efficient of drag for a car of this size... just check out how low the hood (or bonnet) tapers off in front... and how high the back deck/tail is (with spoiler).
The 2.3L 16 valve Turbo 4 banger (yes...this is a 4 cylinder rocket) with APC (auto perf control) and Trionic Direct Ignition... is smooth (dual silent/balanced shafts), quiet, tractable/practical across a wide range of RPMs (max torque happens at/around 1,500 RPMs... as opposed to 3,000 RPMs for older classic Saab 900 Turbos. Part of the reason is due to the TALL gearing on this fabulous "Sports Sedan GT"... at 75MPH it's cranking about 3K RPMs... and reportedly can do about 150 MPH as tested by some car mag back in the day. In fact, the engine is a bit TOO quiet. It can barely be heard at speed, because it's so quiet overall, AND because there seems to be a lot of wind noise from windshield and moon roof areas.
The 16-inch Super Aero wheels are very slick looking... to this day. BUT... I must say the wheel diameter and tire size seems to be a tad on the small size for a car of this size and wheel base. However, this IS a 95 9000 Aero after all. Well before the era of 18 to 20 inch rims as standard/optional factory features. Still... the wheels look diminutive.
The room interior is comfortable and spacious with smart leather/trim. Appointments are nice enough... though the lack of passenger side glove box is annoying (houses air bag). The console storage, however, is ample... along with door storage compartments for each door. Hatchback is 'classic Saab practicality' and provides big room. Example? I was able to bring home a 46-inch Flat Panel TV (boxed) in my 95 Aero.
High back, heavily sculpted lumbar leather seats are VERY comfortable. Just ask my wife. She likes them better than the seats in her own 99 9-3 hatchback. Harmon sound system is GREAT... though dated now (it only has single CD player with separate cassette radio).
High speed handling is fine...stable, predictable and responsive. Ride is good... but favors smoother roads. The car's 'value add' and specialty, however, is really in the hyper speed Interstate 'GT' cruising arena. Particularly noteworthy... and still breathtaking... is the car's sheer/raw roll-on acceleration capability from @ 55MPH to 90+ MPH! Can run down most contemporary cars... including Camaros, Mustangs, BMWs, Audis and other 'hot rods and sports sedans'. I believe that at the time the 9000 Aero could out accelerate a Porsche 911 in a 55 to 90+ MPH roll-on duel. Also... this is a 150MPH top end car (supposedly, as tested by some car mag back in the day). And need we be reminded of the earlier 9000s continuous 100MPH+ test track run/record at Talladega?
Why is this car so special? It's unique, fast, reliable, comfortable, "economical", fun (at highway high speed cruising), deceptive and a true SAAB. The engine management, turbo and gearing make it fast and a good MPG machine. The engine itself is perfectly square (bore and stroke), so that also contributes to cars ability to seemingly cruise endlessly at high speeds and RPMs so effortlessly. It's competent enough being flicked around curves and such... though not especially 'happy' or well suited for such thrashing. No... this is more of a gentleman's/ladies sophisticated and more elegant/classy ride.
Gripes? I don't like the rather dull 'Euro Standard' styling, though it helps to "surprise" most cars/drivers. I also do NOT like driving this car around town or backroads... as it's either too fast for speed limit or gets bogged down when driven within posted speed limits. There's a bit of a turbo lag off the line for sure. Plus the gear box is admittedly a bit 'notchy' in lower gears... especially from 1st to 2nd. The rear visibility (side to side back) is not good... and the car seems "heavy" at slower speeds. Basically, not a happy camper unless seeing open roads and 80MPH+ speeds. Nor is the driver... at least THIS driver. Hence the low mileage I put on it, since I have other Saabs (and 911 Carrera). No... I save my Aero for time shrinking cross country road trips... :-)
As with all SAABs -- especially of this vintage -- it's a bit quirky to fix/maintain and will punish you if neglected (i.e., expensive to repair). The GM era killed the SAAB mystique and the enthusiasts/fan base. So finding dealers and independent mechanics might be problematic depending on where you live.
However, this may just be THE collector Saab... along with original 900 SPG and 900 Convertibles. So if you see a good, well maintained (and loved) Aero that is "sensibly priced"... DO get it! It won't disappoint...