We are potentially planing to purchase a 2001 Saab 9-5 Aero with the 2.3L Turbo engine and 87,000 miles on it. The car seems to be fun to drive, quick, has great lines and full of the normal Saab quirkiness that attracted us to the car. It has come down between this and a 2003 BMW but both of us like the Saab and the quirkiness of one, and the fact that it isn’t a BMW. However, neither of us know much about Saabs have read some horrifying reviews online about them and problems owner’s have experienced, also we don’t want to spend $2500 per year in maintenance. The car does have a slight vibration at highway speeds. Should we run for the BMW or should the Saab be relatively trouble free as their following would suggest?
Either vehicle will be more expensive to maintain than, say, a Toyota or Honda, but if that Saab quirkiness is what you like, you’ll just have to pay for it. I suggest you find an independent mechanic who specializes in Saabs, and budget some money for annual expenses.
You don’t say what BMW but I conclude it’s a 3 series (E-46)
The E-46 is the standard that all cars in its class are compared to (how does it compare to a E-46? is always asked by the car review writers)
Look for a CPO BMW (Certified Pre-Owned) hope 2003 is no to old.
Remember the before sale,mechanic of your choice inspection
Saab goes to the Sabb specialist,BMW to the BMN specialist
Don’t accept a general mechanic for this inspection.
You might keep the inspecting mechanic as your after purchase mechanic.
Get the Saab checked by a specialist and have him pay special attention to the turbocharger. If the car has been thrashed by previous owners, you don’t want it.