: Quick Ride: 2001 Saab 9-3 Viggen Convertible



Jesda
03-24-11, 08:57 PM
I had a brief lunch meet with a couple local Saab owners this afternoon and got the chance to take a ride in Scott’s recently acquired 2001 9-3 Viggen. The Viggen, Swedish for “thunderbolt,” is Saab’s performance badge, comparable to Volvo’s T5 or Mazda’s “Mazdaspeed.”

The first real Viggen was the Saab 37 Viggen fighter jet from the late 1960s. Sweden and the US government entered a technology sharing agreement that enabled faster, cheaper development and gave Sweden the protection of US forces in the event of a Soviet attack. Unlike the Viggen automobile, which uses a turbocharged 2.3L I4 motor, the fighter jet used a Volvo RM8, which was in turn a modified Pratt and Whitney powerplant.

http://jesda.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/03/saab_37_viggen_l3-630x417.jpg

Now fast forward a few decades to 1999, almost a decade after the Cold War ended, when Saab introduced the Viggen series, of which only 764 three-doors, 863 five-doors, and 1,305 convertibles were exported to the US. MSRP ranged from $38995 for the three-door to $44995 for the convertible.

http://jesda.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/03/saab_93_viggen_2000_01_m-630x472.jpg

Three-door versions weighed a reasonable 3100 lbs.

Scott’s Viggen convertible is powered by Saab’s 2.3L B235R turbo I4, with 230hp and 258lb-ft of torque, enough to pull the car from 0-60 in under 6.5 seconds.

http://jesda.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/03/IMG_20110324_123405-630x472.jpg

Unlike Saabs built in the Cold War era, the engine is transversely mounted like a standard front-wheel drive car with accessories and belts on the side, as opposed to the classic 900′s configuration where the engine is backwards (accessories at the firewall) with the transmission all the way out in front. This makes servicing the car a bit tighter (access is available through the wheel well like most front-drive cars) but improves weight distribution and allows the hood to be shorter and lower for a sportier, sleeker look.

http://jesda.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/03/IMG_20110324_123506-630x472.jpg

Unfortunately, front wheel drive has limitations. Cadillac and Acura deal with it using throttle and slip control as well as equal length half shafts. The 9-3 Viggen did not receive traction control until 2001, making full-throttle acceleration in the Viggen somewhat comparable to riding a bull. Purists consider it a nuisance, but some find it to be quite thrilling to reign in.

Viggens were equipped with (according to Wikipedia):
Heavy duty clutch and pressure plate
Stiffened and lowered springs
Firmer dampers
Stronger CV joints and driveshafts.

Torque is electronically limited in first gear to 184 lb-ft on up to 258 lb-ft in third gear to manage and maintain traction. The only transmission option was a 5-speed manual, as it ought to be. Some owners have installed steering rack braces to reign in torque steer.

http://jesda.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/03/IMG_20110324_123350-630x472.jpg

All Viggens came fully loaded with Viggen-specific power leather seats that had the Viggen logo embossed on the seat back, Viggen wheels, Trionic 7 engine management, carbon trim, and Viggen badges on the fenders.

http://jesda.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/03/IMG_20110324_123320-630x472.jpg

Buyers of brand new Viggens were treated to Saab’s Viggen Flight Academy which included two days of driving instruction and dinner with Saab executives.

So, let’s talk about the Viggen I rode in today.

Scott was in a hurry to get back to work, but generously took a moment to give Steve and I a spin around the neighborhood. My first impression was that the car smelled different from traditional Saabs, with a pleasing leather scent and less of the glue and vinyl smell in classic 900s like mine. I have to admit, I do prefer the classic odor. The seats were well-bolstered and switchgear looked and felt solid.

Like all 9-3s, the center stack features a computer display with fuel and trip information as well as error messages, a clever slip-out cupholder neatly tucked between the info display and the radio, and a night panel mode that dims all the interior lights for more alert night driving, a feature inspired by Saab aircraft.

http://jesda.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/03/IMG_20110324_123256-630x472.jpg

Saab enthusiasts like to piss and moan about how modern Saabs feel cheap compared to their predecessors, and yes, some things don’t feel quite the same, like the light plastic door handles that pull outward. On classic Saabs, the exterior door handles are made of metal with a push-lever tucked behind. Opening the door on an old Saab makes a satisfying, chunky sound with a strong “carved from granite” feel.

http://jesda.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/03/IMG_20110324_123424-630x472.jpg

But this Opel-based 9-3 sounds more refined when you shut the door, closing with a firm and tight thunk rather than a loud clank. The doors feel lighter but have soft stitched leather padding on the panel inserts. Overall, the inside of a 9-3 is similar in refinement and quality to a BMW 3-series.

http://jesda.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/03/IMG_20110324_124459-630x472.jpg

I sat in the back seat and enjoyed reasonable space, much more space and comfort than I had in my 2004 BMW 3-series convertible. It was a little bit tighter than my 1991 900 but in exchange you gain modern safety protection, more supportive seats, and a trick roof that automatically hides the soft top under a tonneau cover. Saab and BMW were the only manufacturers in the mid 90s that offered this type of folding roof in the US on a four-seater.

An adaptable space in the trunk allows you to fold a flap create more cargo room when the top is up.

http://jesda.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/03/IMG_20110324_123701-630x472.jpg

The B235R makes a jet-like whir as the turbo spools, throwing you back in your seat. Unlike my classic 900, there were no noticeable squeaks or rattles and unlike my 3-series, the ride was surprisingly compliant. In terms of ride quality, I’d rank the 9-3 Viggen far above the 900 Turbo and the 900 Turbo a bit above the BMW E46 convertible.

Part of that is due to the BMW’s portly 3700lb curb weight, and my BMW was equipped with sport wheels which adversely affected ride quality. The BMW’s weight also affects fuel economy, where the Saab has a significant advantage:

http://jesda.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/03/fueleconomy.png

http://jesda.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/03/bmwvert-630x344.jpg

The BMW, at least on paper, has a more rigid chassis, which is in part why it weighs so much more. This particular BMW was totaled after it saved my butt in an accident in 2008.

http://jesda.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/03/accident-630x472.jpg

Because I did not drive this Viggen, I can’t say whether the 9-3 has more or less cowl shake than the E46, but the Viggen felt dramatically more modern, solid, and secure than my old 900. The difference was night and day.

So, overall…

Its an impressive car and a tremendous value.

I’d choose a Saab Viggen convertible over a topless BMW 325 or 328, but between a Viggen and 330ci, the decision is tough. The BMW offers a richer interior and slightly higher build quality, but everyone seems to drive a BMW convertible. Out here in west St Louis County, they’re as common as pickup trucks are in Texas. The Saab 9-3 and 9-3 Viggen have better transmissions, automatic or manual, with a lighter clutch and smoother action.

Character counts for me more than most, so I’d probably pick the rare and unique Viggen if all else was equal. However, in reality, the ubiquity of 3-series BMWs means it is more likely that I would find an E46 convertible in the price and condition I wanted.

Jesda
03-24-11, 08:57 PM
http://www.q45.org/cpg/albums/userpics/10001/normal_P1020042.jpg

And it would be very, very difficult to convince me to trade or sell my cheerfully clunky old 900 for anything. Did I mention that character counts? [I'm also $7000 into it.] Scott bought his Viggen after his classic 900 (a white convertible like mine) was damaged in an accident, and that’s probably what it would take for me to make the switch.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AHgqQgYxY7Y


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kbNgdPqezJ0

Bonus:
http://jesda.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/03/IMG_20110324_123436-630x472.jpg
Steve’s red 1990 900 SPG, a sharp little machine. You may have seen the article on the SPG in Hemmings:
http://www.hemmings.com/hsx/stories/2008/12/01/hmn_feature25.html

http://jesda.com/2011/03/25/quick-drive-2001-9-3-viggen-convertible/

Destroyer
03-24-11, 09:08 PM
I have always liked the old Saabs. I remember the old 900 turbos. Quirky? Yes but they had a "charm" and "coolness" about them. I will make it a point to own a Saab in the future.

thebigjimsho
03-24-11, 09:32 PM
How about a Saab 99? My father's was flesh colored.

ted tcb
03-24-11, 10:41 PM
Nice review, Jesda.

Any idea how much money that Viggen would've sold for used?

BTW, I love the classic lines on your 900 ... it could never be mistaken for anything other than a Saab,
which speaks of design character.

Jesda
03-24-11, 10:46 PM
He got the Viggen for $6800 with 98,000 miles.

I~LUV~Caddys8792
03-24-11, 11:54 PM
Nice, so the Viggen was sorta like Saab's version of AMG or M Series, just not as quite as extreme?

Watch those 2.3 turbos for oil sludging. Due to a low quality conventional oil being run in that small, hot, turbocharged engine, the crappy oil will sludge up and possibly plug up the pick up tube in the oil pan. I was talking to a mechanic in Rochester on Tuesday that specializes in European imports, and he told me he had a similar problem on a 2002 9-5 he just bought.


Regarding myself and potential Saab ownership.....I wouldn't mind a 99-04(first generation) 9-5. Not something I'd normally buy, but it might be fun to have, somewhere long long down the road, in a distant universe....

ted tcb
03-24-11, 11:59 PM
He got the Viggen for $6800 with 98,000 miles.


As mentioned, you have about the same amount in your 900.
You must've made mental comparisons on the two cars, same money, different eras.
I like your 900 for reasons stated, plus, you've thoroughly sorted out any mechanical issues.

drewsdeville
03-25-11, 12:02 AM
You can see the traction problems and the torque limiting in the numbers. It "only" pulls 7 seconds 0-60, but still manages the 1/4 in a decent 15 seconds...pretty impressive gains it's able to make up once the wheels are rolling and you are beyond of first gear. Must be fun.

orconn
03-25-11, 12:07 AM
I have been tempted by Saabs on several occasions, but when push came to shove I couldn't tolerate the slowness of normally aspirated cars, nor the turbo lag of the turbo inducted ones. I never drove a Viggen so the torque steer I experienced with the Saabs was relatively mild in comparison. But I will say that the violent torque steer you describe would be definite turnoff for me. I have always preferred the way Saab convertibles looked verses the Volvo drop tops. The big high butt looked more in keeping on the Saab than on the Volvo.

I~LUV~Caddys8792
03-25-11, 12:08 AM
That's about normal Drew. On average it's about 8 seconds between a car's 0-60 and it's 1/4 mile time.

drewsdeville
03-25-11, 12:15 AM
That relationship works on slower vehicles, but seems to fade and become inconsistent at the 15 second mark or so and below. Usually a car that can pull 15 seconds 1/4 can also manage 0-60's in the 6's, at least from what I can recall.

Actually, take a 3800CS car, for instance. They do the quarter in a similar 15 seconds and it seems to me they all could pull 0-60's well into the 6's. That's a pretty common set of numbers for the performance level.

Another comparison, a N* powered Cadillac can manage a 7 second 0-60 but chugs down the 1/4 at 15 and a half or so.

The way I see it, the Saab has to pull a half second out of it's ass after first gear to match a car of a similar performance level. A half second is actually quite a bit and is harder to pick up at higher speeds than out of the hole.

I~LUV~Caddys8792
03-25-11, 12:28 AM
I always saw it that unless a car was terribly, terribly slow, it was usually 7.5-9.0 seconds between it's 0-60 and 1/4 mile time.

For example...
1997 Buick Regal GS: 0-60 in 6.6 and a 15.0 second quarter mile.....8.4 second difference.
1987 Buick Regal GNX: 0-60 in 4.7 and a 13.5 second quarter mile....8.8 second difference.
1983 Buick Riviera Convertible: 0-60 in 14.8 and a 19.5 second quarter mile...4.9 second difference.

The slower the car takes to get to sixty, the shorter the time until the quarter mile is reached after sixty mph is hit. I bet that '83 Riviera hit the quarter mile around 75 mph, whereas the GNX was doing over 100 and the Regal was probably 90-95.

Here's the database I've used since I was about 15.
http://www.albeedigital.com/supercoupe/articles/0-60times.html

Obviously, if the car is not stock, then the data would be different.

Jesda
03-25-11, 12:31 AM
As mentioned, you have about the same amount in your 900.
You must've made mental comparisons on the two cars, same money, different eras.
I like your 900 for reasons stated, plus, you've thoroughly sorted out any mechanical issues.

It certainly rules out the classic 900 as a bargain car, since they've aged so much and most examples have been neglected so badly. People don't covet them like BMWs or MBs, so they get treated like diapers. The few out there in good shape are getting expensive to buy.

As for resale value, only the SPG or rare/special editions like Monte Carlo Yellow or Springtime In Sweden convertibles are worth anything ($6k-$9k). An auto like mine is worth $3k at most, if sold to an enthusiast.

My friend who bought the Viggen put his old (217,000mi) and lightly wrecked 900 up for sale two days ago and it already sold for $1000 after getting 18 inquiries. It had nice leather seats, new AC, zero mechanical flaws, and a dashboard with no cracks.

For someone looking for a weekend toy, the classic 900 is a really dependable, well made car once you get it restored. Its definitely more for a hobbyist than a casual driver.

Parts for the 1994-2002 900/9-3 are readily available and cheap thanks to GM's backing and some sharing with Opel.


Nice, so the Viggen was sorta like Saab's version of AMG or M Series, just not as quite as extreme?

Its kind of like Chevy's SS.

I~LUV~Caddys8792
03-25-11, 12:56 AM
These newer Saabs, do they have the awesome seats like Volvo does, or is that just a Volvo sort of thing? I really enjoyed all the newer S60s and S80s I've ever sat in, but the cars them selves don't do much for me in terms of excitement or interest. Across the board, how do the newer Saabs stack up to the newer Volvos? Is one more luxurious? Is one more of a driver's car?

Jesda
03-25-11, 01:15 AM
Volvos have much, much nicer interiors than Saabs. I'd say Volvo has Lexus beat on interior refinement, partly because Volvo stepped up, but especially because Lexus stepped down. Saab has Volvo beat on character and driving enjoyment.

The current Saab 9-3 uses cheap and creaky plastic unless you get a special trim level like the Carlsson or Independence edition, in which case they use stitched leather and carbon fiber. With the 03-06 9-3 sedans and convertibles, the Aeros have great seats while the Linears are just okay to sit in, and the Aeros have more computer displays, a MUCH better sound system, and more gadgets.

I think these days, base model Saabs all have the higher trim level seats. And I think all 9-5s except the new 2011 have the same seats.

When I was considering a 9-3, it took hours of studying to figure out all of Saab's option packages and levels since 2003. Its a confusing train wreck of Arc, Aero, Linear, Carlsson, Independence, Turbo4, Vector, 2.0T, and Linear Launch. There's a few other special editions not shown on saabusa.com.

Playdrv4me
03-25-11, 02:34 AM
The fit and finish of the current S80 (ESPECIALLY with the matte wood) absolutely blows the LS460 out of the water...

http://volvo-s80.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/07/2011-Volvo-S80-Interior.jpg

It's a shame that the S80 V8 always gets left out of the executive sedan comparisons.

Stingroo
03-25-11, 08:42 AM
The way I see it, the Saab has to pull a half second out of it's ass after first gear to match a car of a similar performance level. A half second is actually quite a bit and is harder to pick up at higher speeds than out of the hole.

That's what I was thinking too. Pretty cool car. Friend of mine had an 9-3 on lease until this year. I only rode in it a handful of times, and drove it once, but I can say it was pretty fun, and damn swanky compared to my standards [as someone who really doesn't give a shit about luxury appointments lol].

He's got an A5 now. Trying to weasel him into lending it to me for a weekend. :)

thebigjimsho
03-25-11, 02:35 PM
My '04 V did(with no wheelspin) 13.7 @104. My buddy's turbo SHO did 13.7 @114. A stock SHO would be in the low 6 sec 0-60 but still be a low 15 second car. And it makes its power up high. With the torque of the turbo and torque limiting in 1st gear, it's easy to see why it's a 7 sec 0-60 but still a 15 second car...

orconn
03-25-11, 02:38 PM
The fit and finish of the current S80 (ESPECIALLY with the matte wood) absolutely blows the LS460 out of the water...

http://volvo-s80.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/07/2011-Volvo-S80-Interior.jpg

It's a shame that the S80 V8 always gets left out of the executive sedan comparisons.

Now that is a really nice dash! But somehow I think I've seen it before!

thebigjimsho
03-25-11, 02:48 PM
Volvo interior seem too cold and robotic to me.

I~LUV~Caddys8792
03-25-11, 07:06 PM
Yeah, I agree with Jim. While it's definitely clean cut and very well laid out, it still seems cold and unloving compared to something from the new S Class, XJ Jaguar, A8 or Equus. However, it's much better IMO than the interior in the new 7 Series.

Jesda
03-25-11, 08:43 PM
http://www.theautochannel.com/news/2006/02/27/211953.1-lg.jpg
Ahh, sanitized cleanliness.


Most black interiors are crap, especially late 90s/early 2000s Cadillac. The only dark interiors I've seen that didn't look like you were sitting inside a trash can were the Mercedes W124, Audi A8, and maybe the LS400.

I'm waiting for manufacturers to stop using loud trim pieces and motorcycle gauge pods and return to sleek minimalism. I really, really miss the clean, chic interior of my S60. Colors and textures evoke different emotions and responses, and its hard to get it right. Its a fine line between boring and sleek.

Stingroo
03-25-11, 08:52 PM
I like that Volvo interior. No obnoxious screen, actual BUTTONS for functions. Yeah, I like that a lot.

concorso
03-25-11, 09:16 PM
Jesda, wider front tires would help the torque steer alot. OR, they should, at least. MY ex's Viggen exhibited much less understeer when she went to wider and grippier tires.
Also, didnt those Viggens have some sort of passive rear steering?

thebigjimsho
03-25-11, 10:25 PM
http://www.theautochannel.com/news/2006/02/27/211953.1-lg.jpg
Ahh, sanitized cleanliness.


Most black interiors are crap, especially late 90s/early 2000s Cadillac. The only dark interiors I've seen that didn't look like you were sitting inside a trash can were the Mercedes W124, Audi A8, and maybe the LS400.

I'm waiting for manufacturers to stop using loud trim pieces and motorcycle gauge pods and return to sleek minimalism. I really, really miss the clean, chic interior of my S60. Colors and textures evoke different emotions and responses, and its hard to get it right. Its a fine line between boring and sleek.
Am I supposed to wear a strightjacket while looking at this pic??

thebigjimsho
03-25-11, 10:26 PM
And it looks like Strong Sad in that diagram for the climate control...

Jesda
03-25-11, 10:53 PM
Am I supposed to wear a strightjacket while looking at this pic??

http://www.redesign-day.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2009/09/black-and-white.jpg

And for the rest:
http://image2.onlineauction.com/auctions//15318/yvac-685906-3.jpg

I~LUV~Caddys8792
03-26-11, 12:53 AM
I prefer the latter one. '70s Americana goodness.

Jesda
03-26-11, 02:40 AM
Dude, that's a single wide!

ga_etc
03-26-11, 03:03 AM
About anything beats the old BMW dash designs. Effective, but very cold and germanic to to me.

http://www.mattmcnulty.com/e30/interior_dash.jpg

Jesda
03-26-11, 03:48 AM
I like that a lot. Simple, sporty, good to touch, and well made. Sometimes, less is more. The contrasting colors look nice too. The only thing I'd change is the addition of dark wood trim around the shifter to break up the monotony. Classic BMW interiors feel and function much better than they look.

Still my favorite interior of any car I've owned:
http://www.q45.org/Q/myq/100_0505.JPG

Every single panel was thick, padded, and heavy. The switches and buttons had a snickety expensive feel. For some reason the 94 ash tray cover I installed in my '92 never fit correctly. There was even a motorized door that opened to reveal EQ settings.

thebigjimsho
03-26-11, 02:27 PM
I like that a lot. Simple, sporty, good to touch, and well made. Sometimes, less is more. The contrasting colors look nice too. The only thing I'd change is the addition of dark wood trim around the shifter to break up the monotony. Classic BMW interiors feel and function much better than they look.

Still my favorite interior of any car I've owned:
http://www.q45.org/Q/myq/100_0505.JPG

Every single panel was thick, padded, and heavy. The switches and buttons had a snickety expensive feel. For some reason the 94 ash tray cover I installed in my '92 never fit correctly. There was even a motorized door that opened to reveal EQ settings.A Supra copycat...

thebigjimsho
03-26-11, 02:30 PM
About anything beats the old BMW dash designs. Effective, but very cold and germanic to to me.

http://www.mattmcnulty.com/e30/interior_dash.jpg
I guess I'm sounding hypocritical. I grew up being fond of BMW interiors. Yes, they weren't very warm, but ergonomically, they were excellent. I think today, an excellent interior should be both.

Jesda
03-26-11, 02:48 PM
A Supra copycat...

Yep, but about 20 times nicer with grown-up materials. Both cars borrowed their interior designs from Europe

orconn
03-26-11, 02:53 PM
I agree an interior design should be both ergo metrically well layed out, but also pleasing to the eye and touch. I am appreciative of a binnacle design that allows for assessment of speed, rpm, engine temp and oil pressure. I don't mind warning lights or msgs. I prefer individual buttons or switches for accessories activation and control.

One of my all time favorite dash designs is that of the 4th series Seville. An award winning desigm that is plain and simple (compared to today's over complicated and aesthetically crude ones) and easy to use. I also appreciate the tasteful use of wood embellishment, which warms the interior while not over indulging in "kitsch."

thebigjimsho
03-26-11, 02:55 PM
I liked it in the Supra since the all black looked apropos. In a luxury car, it gives off the wrong vibe in that all-black face.

thebigjimsho
03-26-11, 02:56 PM
I prefer the latter one. '70s Americana goodness.


Dude, that's a single wide!
rawls!

thebigjimsho
03-26-11, 03:00 PM
Yep, but about 20 times nicer with grown-up materials. Both cars borrowed their interior designs from Europe


I liked it in the Supra since the all black looked apropos. In a luxury car, it gives off the wrong vibe in that all-black face.
Very similar, Jesda. An I'm sure you're familiar with this interior. More color with a nicer palette and tasteful wood accents...



http://mycarpictures.net/var/albums/oldsmobile/2001_Oldsmobile_Aurora_Interior_01.jpg

Aron9000
03-26-11, 04:24 PM
I always thought the Lexus SC400 from the 90's had a really cool looking interior, along with the bigger LS400 sedan.

http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-L2BBA99ACVw/TVyM2Bhyr_I/AAAAAAAAADU/InVaMemoxtY/s1600/Lexus_SC_400_interior_01.jpg

thebigjimsho
03-26-11, 04:36 PM
I always thought the SC400 was THE luxury coupe of the 90s. I know some like the 300 better but I always preferred the V8 and auto(gasp) giving the panache in the luxury coupe. Plus, the bigger wheels and tires of the SC400 filled out the wheel wells and completed the coupe look...

Jesda
03-26-11, 09:48 PM
Very similar, Jesda. An I'm sure you're familiar with this interior. More color with a nicer palette and tasteful wood accents...



[IMG]http://mycarpictures.net/var/albums/oldsmobile/2001_Oldsmobile_Aurora_Interior_01.jpg[/IG]

One of my favorite 90s interiors ever.

The SC's layout looks like inspiration for the 5th gen Seville

I~LUV~Caddys8792
03-26-11, 10:58 PM
Dude, that's a single wide!

Oh, whatever. My mom is a realtor, and so over the years I've seen plenty of houses built from about 1975 to 1982 with interiors that look much like that. Dark stained wood trim everywhere, tinted "smoked" glass on the lighting fixtures, etc.


Still my favorite interior of any car I've owned:
http://www.q45.org/Q/myq/100_0505.JPG

Every single panel was thick, padded, and heavy. The switches and buttons had a snickety expensive feel. For some reason the 94 ash tray cover I installed in my '92 never fit correctly. There was even a motorized door that opened to reveal EQ settings.

I only sat in one Q45 of that vintage, a 1995 years ago, so I don't remember it's interior too well, but those early Q45s remind me a lot of the '93 Maxima SE that my buddy had in high school. A lot of the parts were shared, and the overall design was pretty similar, and even the fonts on the gauges and buttons were the same.


I agree an interior design should be both ergo metrically well layed out, but also pleasing to the eye and touch. I am appreciative of a binnacle design that allows for assessment of speed, rpm, engine temp and oil pressure. I don't mind warning lights or msgs. I prefer individual buttons or switches for accessories activation and control.

One of my all time favorite dash designs is that of the 4th series Seville. An award winning desigm that is plain and simple (compared to today's over complicated and aesthetically crude ones) and easy to use. I also appreciate the tasteful use of wood embellishment, which warms the interior while not over indulging in "kitsch."

I also thought that the 1992-97 Sevilles and Eldorados had a great looking dashboard, with it's gently sloping dashtop, with the binnacle that slowly fades away over the top of the passenger side airbag. The 1996-97s were greatly improved with the revised layout where they used a much larger tach and speedo and added an analog coolant temp gauge as well and moved the climate control to the center stack, not next to the gauges as before.


I always thought the SC400 was THE luxury coupe of the 90s. I know some like the 300 better but I always preferred the V8 and auto(gasp) giving the panache in the luxury coupe. Plus, the bigger wheels and tires of the SC400 filled out the wheel wells and completed the coupe look...

I agree. I think a proper luxury coupe should have the V8, even if the other option is that wonderful 2JZ inline six. Speaking of luxury coupes, I'd still love an early Mark VIII Lincoln. I think they were the best looking luxury coupe of the '90s, were about the quickest (aside from the CL600 and 850Ci), are cheap to own and fairly reliable.

Here are a few of my favorite dashboards....

1992-99 Mercedes Benz S-Class. Wonderful materials, fantastic build quality. As was to be expected, everything felt very substantial and very expensive. Great design, nice to look at no matter how many miles you rack up on it. Awesome ergonomics. I loved the carpeting on the bottom side of the dash, and the wood trim was Eucalyptus in the 320, and Burl Walnut in the 420, 500 and 600.
http://i83.photobucket.com/albums/j313/Chadillac8705/Bianca/November2008004.jpg

Volkswagen Phaeton. I love the vast amounts of wood trim, the sort of wood they used, and even though there's all sorts of buttons and displays, the dashboard overall has a clean look to it. I think the Phaeton had a better looking dashboard than the A8.
http://photos.ecarlist.com/WU/9a/ss/00/Uu/o7/RP/eG/Xl/Ty/Sg_640.jpg

1996-97 Cadillac Seville/1996-02 Cadillac Eldorado/1997-99 Cadillac Deville Concours
See above. Also noted: nobody else back then used anything like Zebrano Wood. Zebrano wood was uniquely reddish.
http://photos.ecarlist.com/OW/Ho/y2/s2/1A/g1/wm/OE/9P/tk/HA_640.jpg

1997-02 Audi A8/S8.
Much like the Mercedes interior, it's built of fantastic materials and the build quality is sublime. The Audi's has more buttons though, and that's always better. Audi has been making some of the nicest interiors for atleast 10 years.
http://www.autointell-news.com/european_companies/volkswagen/audi-ag/audi-cars/audi-a8-6l/audi-a8-quatro-6l-03-interior-60h.jpg

orconn
03-26-11, 11:20 PM
I agree VW/Audi have had some of the nicest interiors around for some time. Nice clean designs, well executed.

By the way, Chad, Mercedes had Zebrano wood veneers long before 190's use of them on the Sevilles.

Destroyer
03-26-11, 11:42 PM
The S Class Benz of the 90's make everything else look cheap. I hold my W140 in the same regard I hold my Porsche 928: best cars I have had. The 928 has that "love it or hate it" look about it. I absolutely love it, especially the pre-87 models. Sexy in a big way. I am still looking for another clean '85-'86 928. I would buy another W140, this time with a V8. The V12 is too troublesome. :yup:

Jesda
03-27-11, 12:18 AM
I'm undecided between W124 and W140 on interior quality. W140 was softer, more comfortable, and more luxurious, but W124 seemed just a tiny bit more tightly screwed together. The difference is probably negligible to most.

It could also be that W124 has fewer cubby holes and gadgets, so there's less stuff that could rattle or come loose over time. W140 has heavier doors, thicker glass, and overall better body integrity.

Jesda
03-27-11, 12:24 AM
Oh, whatever. My mom is a realtor, and so over the years I've seen plenty of houses built from about 1975 to 1982 with interiors that look much like that. Dark stained wood trim everywhere, tinted "smoked" glass on the lighting fixtures, etc.

Yeah, Sam Walton's house (mansion) was like that, but to complement the Arkansas outdoorsy theme, he had a lot of glass to let light in so it still felt open and airy, and double height ceilings. When you have a standard home with a dark interior, it makes the inside feel like you're sitting inside someone's cigar box. [Its as if Ron Jeremy could walk through the door at any minute with a camera man and Christy Canyon right behind him.]

I~LUV~Caddys8792
03-27-11, 12:26 AM
....and that's a bad thing, how?

Jesda
03-27-11, 12:43 AM
A blurry VHS tape is one thing...

Aron9000
03-27-11, 03:14 AM
Yeah, Sam Walton's house (mansion) was like that, but to complement the Arkansas outdoorsy theme, he had a lot of glass to let light in so it still felt open and airy, and double height ceilings. When you have a standard home with a dark interior, it makes the inside feel like you're sitting inside someone's cigar box. [Its as if Ron Jeremy could walk through the door at any minute with a camera man and Christy Canyon right behind him.]

Hey now, my house is kind of like that!!! At least it has vaulted ceilings, but all the kitschy 70's/80's designer cues are there, dark wood cabinets, massive brick fireplace, and a giant jacuzzi tub in the bathroom that opens to the bedroom with no wall, so you can watch your girl shower from bed.:eyebrow:

Jesda
03-27-11, 03:18 AM
Swank!

Playdrv4me
03-27-11, 03:26 AM
One of my favorite 90s interiors ever.

The SC's layout looks like inspiration for the 5th gen Seville

Well I'll be damned... I think you might be right. That interior came out in '92 so it would have given GM PLENTY of time to study and copy it. SOOO many similarities between the two it's scary.

orconn
03-27-11, 02:19 PM
Well I'll be damned... I think you might be right. That interior came out in '92 so it would have given GM PLENTY of time to study and copy it. SOOO many similarities between the two it's scary.

Among other European and international awards that the design used on the 4th generation Seville it also received one (I don't remember which august body) for superior dashboard design. To this day I find the design to be one of my favorites for both appearance and ergometrics. I have heard complaints from some who complain about the steering wheel blocking the view of certain information, despite the amazing flexibility available thought the seat and steering wheel position adjust ability.