SAAB 99 Turbo vs. Porsche 911 Turbo vs. BMW 2002 Turbo

SaabWorld member Naranto was invited (or to be more exact the SAAB was invited) to take part in a feature to appear in Classic & Sportscar Magazine in 2015.

Article introduction:

Turbo Pioneers. Practical performance or untamed power? BMW 2002 Turbo vs. SAAB 99 Turbo and Porsche 911 Turbo 930. Turbo terrifics Gamechangers from Saab, BMW and Porsche that gave forced induction to the masses in every market. This pioneering trio brought the fledgling turbo into the mainstream. Simon Charlesworth braves the Saab 99, Porsche 911 and BMW 2002. Photography Tony Baker.

Today, the turbo is all grown up. It has been rehabilitated and domesticated, exorcised of the wild ways of its youth. No longer is it just a crudely effective mechanical means with which to conjure mega-horsepower bragging rights. Swiss engineer Alfred Büchi’s ‘spinning top’ is now a mild-mannered device that assists in ticking all of the right eco-efficient boxes.

Even in Formula One, the turbo is there to assist the hybrid powerplant rather than offer seemingly unlimited power for a short period of time before expiring in a cloud of smoke – as was the case with the more extreme 1980s incarnations.

The European trio that you see here, however, represents the pioneering generation of turbocharging. Sired by motorsport, or at the very least conceived with it in mind, these now-classic roadgoing machines have a considerably different image. These were renowned in their day for being quick-tempered beasts with a sadistic predilection for spitting unwary drivers off the road in a frenzy of fishtailing and tyre smoke. Cars to approach with caution and a degree of awe.

So, as the shortest straw is drawn and the office brown trousers are issued, will this reputation prove to be deserved? Or have the Porsche 911, Saab 99 and BMW 2002 all been misrepresented, their image unfairly tarnished by decades of Chinese whispers? Let’s find out…

Read the full article here: Giant test BMW 2002 Turbo vs. SAAB 99 Turbo and Porsche 911 Turbo 930

Clockwise, from left: Saab is the most subtle shape; wacky orange trim; ornate ‘Inca’ alloys; front-drive chassis means 99 is easy to punt along; blown engine is a development of Triumph’s slant-four unit.

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