I bought my 1999 Saab 9-3 in Sept 99 and have never regretted it. Sven the Saab has never left me high and dry (unless the fuel pump or battery died). Super comfy for all riders and far better MPG than listed on the sticker. Easily averaged over 30 mpg on the hwy.
Car requires capable mechanic - not most reliable on the road after 50K. Ignition cassette crapped out at 70K ($600 for T5), seals blew at 80K ($1800.00). I'm at 88K miles today. However, gobs of fun to drive (w/5 speed). I've installed many handling fixes (1999 base version I thought was poor) and it's great fun now. I recently drove 2007 BMW 328i wagon, 2010 MINI Clubman, 2010 Audi A3, 2010 Jetta Sportwagen, and 2011 VW GTI and decided to keep 'Helga'. None improved on the room, comfort or dramatically in handling to my old SAAB - so what if $2K yearly on repairs?; it's still cheaper than buying/leasing $25-$36K cars above. An enigmatic car, right for me.
I have the 4 door standard transmission version. It is a very powerful car for the price I paid and climate control works great. There are a few interior problems though. The pixels on the head unit have virtually faded away so you cant make out the time and radio stations. Not a big deal though. One other problem is that the driver side door lock made a terrible noise when it locks and sometimes wont even lock when it is cold out. The alarm system works great after learning first hand. Overall no major engine or other mechanical problems.
I have had the car about 2.5 years and total of 36,000 miles. Fun to drive, turbo is great! I have the 2 door version, and the trunk area will swallow anything with the seats folded! Repairs are usually happen like clockwork every 10,000 miles on my example but worth the upkeep in enjoyment and uniqueness. I have 124,000 on the odometer now.
I bought this car to travel to bicycle races. I wanted something fast (turbo), with good economy (my car gets close about 30mpg highway), comfortable, and with ample interior space for two bikes. This car fit the bill. I was surprised by how reliable it has been. I bought it used in 2001, with 30K miles, the car now has 110K, and the only things I've had to fix are the ignition and serpentine belt. Everything else has been pretty routine (like batteries). An excellent car -- and for some reason, BMW drivers try to drag race my wife when she's driving it .. and they're surprised when the turbo gets going and she drops them. :)