September 16, 2011, 12:12 pm
I've owned three turbo 4's, all Saabs. One of them had a turbo failure at right around 50k miles due to a bad bearing, but it was replaced under warranty. My last Saab had a low pressure turbo with almost zero lag. Here's what I've experienced with turbos:
1. The technology keeps getting better.
2. Heat is your enemy. On hot summer days the intercooler struggles to keep up with the heat generated by the turbo. On cold winter days its smooth and runs like a champ.
3. Heat damages the bearings, so oil temp and circulation are key. The oil filter is the linchpin in the whole operation. If it gets clogged, you're screwed.
4. There are a lot of places to burn your hands if you have to get to something under the hood, i.e. lightbulbs. The extra pipes get hot!
5. Cars with 100k miles required a little extra maintenance budget. Double that budget for turbos because there are more moving parts, more opportunities for failure.
6. Small turbo engines get really good gas mileage on the highway. I used to get 35+ mpg with the cruise set at 80 mph.
If you plan to lease your car and return it while it's still under warranty, there's nothing to worry about. If you're the type of buyer to keep a car for a long time, start saving now for the repairs after 100k miles...the extra heat, pressure, and moving parts comes at a price.
I went with a NA I-6 because I'm tired of sweating bullets over the 100k+ repairs. I like paying off my cars and living with no car payments, so that means keeping them well past their warranties.