Ok, sure, they're fast....and can also probably be modified such that they're faster than a lot of our modified Saabs.....
....but have you ever gotten an Ovlov into some twisty roads? Drove a friend's modified S70 T5 that does 0-60 in 5.7 sec which is slightly faster than my modified 9-3, and thought the handling was a bit sloppy, so I challenged him to a run through some really curvy roads in the area and his Ovlov went all to **** trying to stay on the pavement through them, where my Saab still wasn't at its performance limit.
I read somewhere that quite a few Volvo's use a SAAB ECU. Certainly true for the 740 and 760.
The only remaining Volvo that I admire is the C70. The shape is far more attractive IMHO than any of the other Volvo's. But I think that Volvo cut out quite a few potential customers by not having a 4 door version.
My mechanic friend who works on Saabs and Volvos drives an '85 740 turbo that he's done a bunch of stuff to, and one of those mods was replacing whatever controlled the boost originally with the APC box out of a Saab (not sure which model/year). Raised his boost a bit, and he's had no issues with it......very interesting cross-compatability.
I certainly prefer the styling of Saabs to Volvo's. However, even with my Koni/Abbott setup, I still feel that the suspension isn't brilliant on my 9000, but I have had some good handling cars (including the Elise) as my benchmarks.
I have to say that my 2.0TS Alfa 164 cornered a lot better than my 9k & I believe that they use the same chassis. I still get a little frustrated at my what I perceive to be poor handling on the 9000. Of course, the monster performance goes some way to soothing this frustration!!
I have to say that I agree with what you say. The handling is a let down. Last week I had a drive of Pete Tandino's 900 and a stock 900 Carlsson. They both reminded me of how sweetly the 900 handles compared to my 9000 Aero.
But, I drove a stock classic NA 900 recently (car loan from the Garage)& I thought it drove like a truck!
I terms of handling, I think a lot of the competition is better. My BMW 535 sport (boo, I hear you say!) rang rings round the 9k handling wise & the ride quality was in a different league too. Performance wise though, the Aero stuffs the BMW
& it is a much nicer cabin to spend time in, even though it looks outdated.
All c900's feel a bit cumbersome at first by way of the controls, but the better ones tend to shrink around you as the miles go until at some point you realise what absurd liberties you can take with it and you start thrashing them around roundabouts like Mini Coopers .
That said, Turbo models do feel a LOT different than normally aspirated ones, and you have to take in mind that lots of them are high milers which, unless springs, shocks and bushings have been renewed at some point, always felt positively boat-like in comparison to my sub-100K example.
In defense to the 9000, I must say the Aero positively and utterly trounced the competition (BMW 530i -which came in last in this respect, Alfa 164 Q, Audi S4) in terms of handling in a German comparison test - so personally I'm a bit surprised you have so many problems with the handling. Personally, the light and feelless steering of the German competition never inspired much confidence in the handling capabilities of such big beasts, and Alfa's never felt quite polished enough.
But for ultimate handling potential, it's gotta be the Classic 900, unless you shell out for a 9-3SS (but then your power upgrading will be, er, a bit more challenging).
I think that Alfa 164 was a lot heavier at the front end than mine - the 2.0 handled a lot sweeter as a result. It felt as nimble as a hot hatch to drive & 0-60 in 9s was very respectable given the small engine.
Steering is good on the 9000, I'll give you that. But, the 9k always feels like a big car to drive & I find that it often gets upset by road imperfections when cornering.
Yes, I would be most interested to drive a sorted classic 900 as I am sure that the one I drove was a little tired.
Still, returning to the original topic, I would be most interested to drive an Ovlo at some point to compare the two marques.
I drove Volvos for a few years, and the 480 Turbo is still the best-handling car in my book. The 850 GLT 20V compared very favorably to my fathers 9000 CSE 2.0t. I have yet to find a Saab that handles as nice as these Volvos. My 9-3 Viggen sure as hell doesn´t. Well, perhaps after the suspension upgrade ...
Er yeah, but the Viggen can herdly be described as the best-handling Saab ever. To be bluntly honest, the deficiencies in its behaviour (or more to the point the more powerful engine higlighting some flaws in the NG900/9-3 steering and suspension design) are a bit of an anomaly in the light of its forebears and successors. FWIW fitting Abbott's Viggen Rescue Kit reputedly almost entirely sorts matters out. I would strongly advise to go with the VRK before contemplating changing springs/dampers etc.