If the Viggen is all about the engine, the 9-2X is all about the handling.
I am still looking for a replacement car. I first stopped by a reputable local garage specializing in Lexuses. The two guys I spoke with, both with decades of experience, had never seen, let alone worked on, an SC300 with a manual transmission. The search continues.
This Subaru Impreza-based 9-2X Linear caught my attention online. It's a 2005 model and only has 30,000 miles. It was owned by an elderly man and is being sold by his son.
The exterior was in pretty good shape. I suspect this was parked outside, as there was a minor dent in the front bumper and the front tow hook cover(?) was missing. On the back end, the Saab badge was completely faded and the rear wiper blade was dangling from the metal arm.
The interior looked good. There was no wear and tear. The air bag light, however, was on. Also, the vent swivel was hard to adjust. I guess there's no pleasing a former Phaeton owner.
The 2.5 liter NA engine has 165 horsepower and 166 lb-ft of torque. I wish it had more. The turbo 2.0 in the Aero package has 227 horsepower and 217 lb-ft of torque. The 2.5 liter engine's sound was a bit cacophonous. At the low end, it sounded like "D29", the old Dodge Ram Charger I once drove at the police department. At the high end, it sounded like a Cessna single prop.
Again, I drove through the hills of Berkeley (Centennial, Grizzly Peak, Fish Ranch). The shifter was agricultural. But it handled corners like a champ and definitely put a smile on my face as I tossed it around like a rag doll.
On the way up the hill, I was held back by a slow-moving Subaru Tribeca. On the way down, I was nearly clipped by a souped up (I assume) Volvo 240 DL wagon doing its best Initial D impersonation. The driver handled his longroof like a pro and I gave him a thumb's up. On the surface street, I stopped at a light behind another 9-2X. The driver saw me in his rear view mirror and smiled. I waved back like a little giddy schoolgirl.