The 9000 was the result of a joint venture that Saab entered into with Fiat and Lancia. However, the project could not have produced three more different cars. Fiat's Croma and Lancia's Thema bombed, while the big Saab kept going strong, for well over a decade after it was originally launched.
It made its debut in the UK in 1985 as a five-door turbocharged 2.0-litre executive hatch, with a non-turbo 2.0-litre 136bhp model following a year later. Saloon variants were next, and the whole range got US-style high-level rear brake lights in 1988.
In 1991, the range was revised, with uprated suspension and anti-lock brakes as standard. The five-door 9000 hatchback was now called the 9000 CS. The flagship Carlsson version was uprated to 220bhp with a 2.3-litre engine, while at the other end of the line-up, a popular luxury 2.0 CSE model was introduced in 1992.
Light-pressure turbo engines began to arrive in the CS and CD line-ups in 1992, first in 2.0-litre form (but later as part of the 2.3-litre engine line-up; don't confuse a 2.3-litre light pressure turbo - badged Eco or Eco E - with the full-blown 2.3-litre Turbo model).
In 1993, the Carlsson was replaced by an Aero model with a slightly different look but much the same performance formula. After General Motors took control of the Trollhattan Company, the 24-valve V6 from the Vauxhall Omega was installed in top models in 1994.
In 1997, the saloon CD models were replaced by the all-new 9-5. The five-door CS continued, however, but was itself deleted at the end of 1998, to be replaced effectively by the new 9-5 estate.