The Saab 93 Aero Carlsson 2.8 XWD V6 became the last Saab to utilise the V6 engine, but let's delve a little further and investigate why this rather smart but modern executive saloon deserves your attention.The 93 Aero Carlsson is one of 96 special editions built to mark the 50th anniversary of Erik Carlsson's first win for Saab in the RAC Rally in a Saab 96. Never one to forget their roots, the 93 Aero Carlsson is a very different machine from that iconic 60’s rally car. Finished with a subtle body kit, stylish 19-inch alloy wheels and flashes of titanium, the car is also lavishly furnished, essentially making it the most luxurious and fastest production Saab ever made.
Registered new in September 2010, the car has seen just 2 owners (excluding Humberside Saab main dealership which it is understood pre-registered the vehicle) and comes with impressive Saab service history, as well as a stack of paperwork. Furthermore, it is believed that just 39 were imported into the UK between 2010 and 2012. As a tribute to the desirability and proven durability of these cars in Saab circles, a credible 90% of the 93 Aero Carlsson 2.8 XWD V6’s are still believed to be on UK roads. The understated yet talented Aero Carlsson is not a car that comes up for sale often, and of all of the Saab 93 models, it is the one most likely to be recognised as an imminent modern classic.
When hunting for a 93 Aero Carlsson, the current owner diligently waited for the right car to turn up, specifically looking for a completely original example exactly as it would have left the Trollhättan factory. This patience paid off when a low-mileage car turned up for sale in Montrose in 2017. The previous owner had set the gauntlet by pampering the car over his 4 years of ownership, by ensuring it was garaged and not used as a daily hack. He sold it as he had a family and couldn’t subject the car to a life of lollypops and pushchairs. The current owner organised a transporter and brought the car south, which set the precedence for the car’s next chapter. Since becoming the latest custodian, the current owner has only added approximately 4,000 miles to it in around four years, mainly used as an occasional and weekend car with the additional bonus of being subjected to a climate-controlled, dehumidified, trickle-charged, dry storage facility. Circumstance mainly pertaining to the owner's London-based job and the thought of racking up the mileage is the core reason to sell the car. As a result, another one of the owner's Saabs is being used for daily duties.
As expected, the car has seen regularly mechanical maintenance over the years, with recent work being applied to the brakes which include a replacement brake master cylinder and ABS unit which has been installed by Saabtech in late 2020. The car comes with a mixture of Saab and Saab specialist service history, with the most recent service dating from last summer. Parts, it should be noted, are readily available at a reasonable cost too, with Saab's actual parts department and numerous Saab specialists being able to help out if anything is needed to keep the car on the road. This car also comes with an MOT until October 2021.
One thing that hits you when sitting in the car is the irresistible aroma of the leather, which emits a soothing aroma, not unlike a new car. While you may not be here to buy a car that smells nice, the effect adds to the serene interior presentation, which combined with its cosseted ride and calm ambience really adds to the luxurious experience. The premium sports Parchment full leather seats are in good condition, with minor signs of wear but no issues with rips or damage. The rear seats look unused and are in good condition, with the headlining and parcel shelf not showing any evidence of age. The carpets and mats are in excellent condition, this is also the verdict for the boot carpet, suggesting limited use which also applies to the spare wheel and tools. The Nappa leather dashboard is beautifully made, with no significant observation to suggest abuse, the stitching is as new, with no marks or scuffs seen on the facia. The premium leather steering wheel is in good condition, with the faintest traces of use. The door cards are in good condition, with no suggestion that they are ‘kicked’ open. The dials, switches and controls are in good condition, with minor signs of wear on a few of the switches but all are functional, which includes the very effective climate control temperature which retains the ability to change from one extreme to the other in minutes. The DVD sat nav is fully operational. It's worth noting the factory-original 11-speaker Bose surround-sound system (including Bose subwoofer) sounds tight and crystal clear.
The car has seen climate-controlled storage at a not inconsiderable cost, which is clearly evident by the lack of outside elements that tend to show up easier on black cars. The Jet Black metallic paint retains a decent lustre, it has been treated to a recent exterior detail, with a machine polish with Meguiar’s treatment. The car has a handful of age-related marks, with a few scuffs on some of the panels but could easily be remedied by a specialist. Structurally the car stands up with its head up high, there were no significant issues with corrosion observed, the sills, arches, inner wings, boot floor, engine bay and floor pan are solid, with a little surface corrosion noted on the subframe. There are no significant dents on the car, with the exception of a tiny chip spotted on the front edge of the bonnet. The doors hang well, with no obstruction to opening and closing. The panel fit is consistently flush throughout the car with equal panel gaps observed. The bumpers are in good condition with no significant distracting damage.
The unique 19in six-spoke alloy wheels have been recently refurbished and are in excellent condition, the owner was also keen to point out that the car came with Giugiaro-styled Vredestein Quatrac Pro tyres fitted on the rear, and felt it would be worth the effort to track down and fit matching tyres to the front of the car, to make the most of Saab’s advanced all-wheel-drive system, complete with an electronic rear limited-slip differential.The Saab was treated with tinted Gen-3 Glasscoat glass (not plastic coated) from the Humberside Saab dealer from new, and as hoped show no signs of damage to the lamination and helps to set the car's presence nicely. All the trim, including the door and glass rubber, is in good order with no issues observed. The titanium-finish grille is in good condition, with no significant issues with any of the Aero Carlsson specific parts, such as the body kit and rear spoiler.
The car drives impeccably, suggesting that Saab pulled out all of the stops as the company started to loosen up the GM shackles and created a worthy legacy to support the brand reputation for mechanical durability. The suspension is not overly firm and offers a cosseting ride that absorbs the badly maintained roads well - no knocking came from the back or front, suggesting that the drop links are in good condition. The car is fitted with lowered (by 10mm) Hirsch suspension, which elevates the ride to a far better standard than the ordinary 93 models. The steering emitted no noise at all when in action. The engine start-up presented no problems, with the engine reaching temperature with no drama. Any condensation from the solid dual exhausts soon disappeared and the engine ticked over sweetly with no untoward noises, knocks or complaints. The engine performance as expected from a 276bhp V6 Turbo is swift. However, its progressive power delivery suits the demeanour of the car's character and working with the combination of the advanced all-wheel-drive system and sports chassis, grips the road with confident stability. The 6-speed 'Sentronic' hydraulic automatic transmission gearbox functions well in manual sport mode too, with no issues with its operation.
Paperwork, body condition and evidence of maintenance go a long way to sway you into buying a potential classic, but the extra sweetener is an owner who presents a passion for the brand. This, along with three other Saabs in the family's possession, confirms the well-known emotional bond that Saabs have with their owners.
Owners are not just attracted to the reliability, build quality and driver satisfaction but also the very ethics and background of the company. This is what makes the brand's demise even sadder, who as a company managed to forge their own path often against the flow of conformity yet still maintaining a reputation for quality. The Saab 93 Aero Carlsson 2.8 XWD V6 is a fine tribute to the company and in this limited edition form, one that symbolises the very best elements of the marque.
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