ALL you need to know about the 2006 9-3 Sport Sedan

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This is the first official pic GM have released of the 2006 model 9-3 Sport Sedan. How much has changed and what’s happening with the model?

All you need to know – and I mean ALL you need to know, is reproduced below.

Summary: Saab 9-3 Sport Sedan

Product Headlines:

· First Saab positioned in premium, compact sport sedan segment
· Best-ever chassis dynamics for close driver involvement
· Long wheelbase and wide track for good handling and spacious interior
· Lightweight, aluminum gasoline V6 and four cylinder turbo engines
· Euro 4 complaint common rail, direct and multiple injection 1.9TiD units
· Six and five-speed automatic and manual transmissions
· Fiber optic electronics for advanced, modular ‘infotainment’ systems
· Exceptionally strong bodyshell for good handling, refinement and safety
· Second generation Saab Active Head Restraints (SAHR)
· Load-limiting seat-belts, dual stage front airbags and roof rail airbags
· ‘Profiler’ customization program and choice of three specification levels
· ‘ComSense’ active safety feature to minimize driver distraction

The Saab 9-3 Sport Sedan is the first step in the biggest product development program in Saab’s history. It spearheads the arrival of entirely new family of cars, each focused on meeting the particular requirements of a different niche in the market.

As Saab’s first contender in the premium, compact sport sedan segment, the focus for the 9-3 is dedicated to delivering a unique, ‘fun to drive’ experience that promises to set new standards for the class.

The coupé-like silhouette, with steeply raked front and rear screens and short front and rear overhangs, communicates a strong, sporty stance, which is reinforced by negative wheel cambers. The overall look is designed to convey a sense of movement even when the car is stationary. The shape of the windows and the wedge-like profile also combine with the integrated headlights and grille to give the car its distinctive Saab identity.

Excellent aerodynamics, including a highly competitive 0.28 drag coefficient, result in low lift forces at the rear axle, improving high speed stability and braking. Careful airflow management also benefits the driver by helping to prevent road grime building up on the rear windows and lights.

The range includes a choice of two all-aluminum 2.8-liter V6 turbocharged engines rated at 250 bhp (184 kW) and 230 bhp (169kW); three 2.0-liter, four cylinder, all-aluminum turbocharged engines rated at 150 bhp (110 kW), 175 bhp (129 kW) and 210 bhp (147 kW); a naturally-aspirated, 122 bhp (90 kW) 1.8-liter unit and Euro 4 compliant 120/150 bhp (88/110 kW) 1.9TiD common rail, direct and multiple injection turbo diesels.

The front-wheel-drive transmissions include five and six-speed manual gearboxes. A six-speed automatic is offered with both 2.8V6 turbo engines and the 150 bhp 1.9TiD, while five-speed versions are available elsewhere. All include Saab Sentronic sequential manual selection and the option of steering wheel controls.

There are three ‘Forms’, or specification levels: Linear, Arc and Vector, plus an Aero high performance variant, the fastest-accelerating Saab yet produced, powered by the 250 bhp (184 kW) V6 Turbo engine.

The car’s main features contribute to an enriched, sporty driving experience in four key areas: driver involvement; responsive performance; driver adaptability and driver-centered design.

Driver Involvement

The 9-3 Sport Sedan is the product of the most exhaustive development program in chassis dynamics ever undertaken by Saab. The handling of the car, its sensitivity to driver inputs and a high degree of feedback all combine to deliver a level of driving involvement and pleasure that challenges the class benchmark. The main highlights include:

· ‘ReAxs’ passive rear wheel steer characteristic. The kinematics of the rear suspension are tuned for a unique rear wheel steer response for optimum handling and stability.

· Four-link independent rear suspension. High lateral stiffness for stability and grip; longitudinal compliance for ride comfort.

· Low mounted steering rack gives excellent feel and precision with progressive power assistance and fast responses.

· Front suspension is by MacPherson struts with lower A-arms mounted on a hydroformed (hollow), sub-frame. High lateral bushing stiffness for good steering response and precision; high longitudinal compliance for ride comfort.

· Advanced chassis electronic systems. Saab-tuned ‘user friendly’ ESP® (Electronic Stability Program).ESP Plus standard with 2.8V6 turbo. Mechanical brake assist, EBD (Electronic Brake force Distribution), CBC (Cornering Brake Control) and TCS (Traction Control System) all standard features.

· Optimized braking power. Front and rear brake discs in three and two sizes respectively, depending on specification.

· Minimized unsprung weight for better ride quality. Front hub carriers, brake callipers, lower control arms in front suspension and toe and lower rear suspension links in aluminum.

. ‘Shear’ bushings at top of rear shock absorber mountings for compliant ride quality and effective vibration suppression.

Responsive Performance

Saab Automobile Powertrain is a center of expertise within General Motors for the development of turbocharged gasoline engines and the Sport Sedan’s turbo powertrains add enhanced refinement and driveability to Saab’s traditional strengths of high torque for strong, mid-range pulling power. They deliver a level of responsive performance in keeping with the chassis’s dynamics, further reinforcing the car’s driver focus. The main highlights include:

· All-aluminum 2.8-liter turbo engine. A development of GM’s new global V6 architecture, this is the first six cylinder unit to be purpose-built for Saab’s turbocharged application. Offering 250 bhp (184 kW) or 230 bhp (169 kW), it combines multi-cylinder refinement with outstanding turbo performance. Single twn-scroll turbocharger fed by both cylinder banks.

· All-aluminium 2.0-liter turbo engine. Saab developed and tuned for 150 (110 kW), 175 (129 kW) and 210 bhp (147 kW) with high torque for swift overtaking. All internal components unique to Saab. Balancer shafts for greater running refinement.

· Advanced, Euro 4 compliant 1.9TiD engine. Common rail with direct and multiple fuel injection delivering 150 bhp (110 kW) with 16-valve layout or 120 bhp (88 kW) with 8-valves. VNT turbocharging. Sporty character with outstanding refinement and fuel economy. A maintenance-free particulate filter is offered as an option..

· Sophisticated powertrain performance. Highly sensitive and precise throttle control, adaptive torque delivery and smooth power on/power off characteristics from powerful 32-bit engine management systems.

· Wide transmission choice. Uprated five-speed and six-speed manual gearboxes. Five-speed, adaptive automatic transmission with Saab Sentronic manual gear selection and optional steering wheel controls. Six-speed units offered with both 2.8V6 turbos and the 150 bhp 1.9TiD engine.

Driver Adaptability

In addition to its driver-focused chassis dynamics and powertrain performance, the 9-3 Sport Sedan is also designed to adapt to a wide range of driver needs, establishing a close interaction with its owner. Main highlights include:

· ‘Profiler’ customization. A wide range of functions can be pre-set according to personal preference including: anti-theft alarm, parking assistance, rain sensitive wipers and automatic climate control.

· Advanced electronics. Extensive use of fiber optics. With a signal capacity 50 times greater than conventional wire circuitry, fiber optics provide a high speed platform for advanced in-car ‘infotainment’.

· DVD-based Satellite Navigation. Designed by Saab with tailor-made software, including voice instruction, location and route storage, and dynamic route guidance, avoiding traffic jams, for example.

· Integrated Bluetooth™* application. Bluetooth wireless technology enables short-range communication between devices such as telephones, PDAs (Personal Digital Assistants) and computers. Hands-free voice control and calling via a Bluetooth headset, as well as the possibility of wireless dial-up networking functionality using a Bluetooth PDA or laptop.

· Advanced Voice Recognition (AVR). Easy-to-use, complete vocal control for radio, satellite navigation, CD and integrated phone. Offered as an option with Saab Infotainment Plus.

· Three specification levels. ‘Linear’ includes understated interior with fabric upholstery and anthracite trim. ‘Arc’ adds 16-inch alloy wheels and rucched leather interior with wood-effect décor trim. ‘Vector’ has 17-inch alloy wheels and a sports leather/fabric interior with matt chrome trim. The ‘Aero’ variant is the performance flagship of the range with lowered, sports tuned chassis and bodystyling.

· Additional load-carrying potential. A standard 60/40 split fold rear seat with ski hatch allows occasional extra cargo to be effortlessly carried.

· Competitive running costs. Longer service intervals and reduced workshop times minimize inconvenience for the owner and reduce scheduled servicing costs. On-board algorithm adapts oil change cycle to how car is used.

· Host of comfort features. Designed to make living with the 9-3 Sport Sedan as convenient as possible, these include: door mirrors that automatically reposition after being folded; a remote front window and sunroof operation and ‘halo’ perimeter lighting at night.

Built Around the Driver

In common with all Saab cars, the 9-3 Sport Sedan is built from ‘the driver outwards’. That means the cabin ergonomics, the instrumentation, the controls and the seating position are all developed from the driver’s perspective. Its safety functions are, of course, shared by all who use the car. Main highlights include:

· Cockpit feel. The main instrument panel arcs around the driver. Logical layout and tactile feel to controls. Steering wheel adjusts for both rake and reach.

· High-positioned Saab Information Display (SID). Located on top of the fascia near base of the windscreen, close to the driver’s natural field of vision. Screen shows satellite navigation directions, as well as radio settings and warnings.

· ComSense driving safety feature minimizes driver distraction. ‘Dynamic workload manager’ briefly suppresses warning messages or incoming phone call during moments of high driver workload. Includes Night Panel function to switch off all main instrument illumination (except speedometer) at night.

· Structural strength. With a torsional rigidity of 22,000 Nm/degree of deflection, the bodyshell is exceptionally stiff. This contributes to the car’s outstanding ride and refinement, handling and safety properties.

· Designed for Real-life Safety. Wide range of crash test configurations carried out during development based on Saab’s database of more than 6,100 real-life road accidents.

· Second generation Saab Active Head Restraints (SAHR). Pioneered by Saab, these help prevent neck injury for front seat occupants in rear-end impacts. Now improved for even quicker action.

· Integrated safety features. Seat belt pre-tensioning and load limiting for both front seating positions, combined with dual-stage front airbags, seat-mounted side airbags and roof rail airbags.

Jan-Ake Jonsson, managing director of Saab Automobile, says: “ The 9-3 Sport Sedan offers a level of driver involvement and responsive performance never seen before from Saab. The integration of a fine-handling chassis with the refined powertrain delivers a true ‘fun-to-drive’ package.

“It is a formula designed to appeal to young, premium car buyers who place a priority on a rewarding driving experience but who also want to express their individuality through choosing a distinctive, less commonplace brand.”

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Design and Aerodynamics: Distinctive Sports Sedan Styling

Highlights include:

· Sporty, coupé-like exterior styling
· Distinctive Saab design harmonizing exterior and interior
· Excellent high speed stability, low lift forces, low 0.28 Cd.

The distinctive styling of the Saab 9-3 Sport Sedan clearly positions it as a product that could only come from Saab. The harmonious lines are soft and organic, yet well defined, communicating the car’s sporty character through creating an impression of power and strength.

The gently arching roofline flows between the steeply raked front and rear screens to create a coupé-like profile. Within this format, the design team has stamped out the car’s distinctive Saab personality by combining sweeping lines and curves for both the exterior and interior.

Exterior Design
The swept back, frontal styling clearly establishes the car’s sporty credentials. The ‘delta’ effect of the Saab grille with its integrated headlamp units steeply angled back is a striking evolution; the rearmost corner of each housing being swept back 450 mm behind the centre point of the bumper. It is a similar angle to the delta wing in the Saab grille and also matches the traditional wraparound shape of the windscreen

The finely-proportioned profile of the car also incorporates widely-recognised Saab styling cues: the combined teardrop form of the side windows with a disguised ‘B’ pillar; the wedge shape and high waistline culminating in that distinctive ‘hockey stick’ curve into the ‘C’ pillar; a single swage line running the entire length of the car and, of course, those prominent oval-shaped door handles.

The Sport Sedan is the first Saab to adopt a ‘monoside’ body pressing; the inset mounting of the doors allowing extremely fine shut-line tolerances, giving the car a strong ‘hewn from solid’ appearance, as well as further improving aerodynamic efficiency.

On most variants, the sporty stance is emphasised by the deep, color-keyed side sills and front and rear bumper mouldings, making the whole body appear low-slung and close to the ground. The curvature of the wheel-arches, with reduced clearances, and the location of the wheels (15,16, 17 or 18-inch) close to the outer edges of the bodywork, with negative camber, contributes to the purposeful appearance. In Aero guise, the sports styling is taken one step further with discreet side sill flares and bumper extensions.

At the rear, the triangular, side cut-out of the light clusters is another Saab design signature, as is the subtle, raised rear lip of the trunk lid first seen on the Saab 9-5 sedan. The rear proportions of car are particularly clean and well-balanced, the horizontal sweep of the rear light clusters providing a counterpoint to the vertical lines of the tail. Apart from a Saab emblem on the hood, the trunk lid carries the car’s only visible badging: the 9-3 model designation on the nearside and the engine denomination on the offside, both flanking the Saab badge.

Overall, the car’s exterior design team developed a shape that is intended to reflect the car’s essentially sporty and dynamic character. It is typically Saab in avoiding any ‘faddish’ styling details which can date very quickly.

In summary, the coupé-like profile, the teardrop shape of the side windows, the shortened front and rear overhangs and the way the wheels fill out the wheel-arches are all features intended to make this car look like it is moving even when it is standing still.

Interior Design
The finely sculptured interior provides spacious and comfortable accommodation for four adults, with generous shoulder width and legroom. The use of high quality materials and the standard of fit and finish is everything you would expect – and more – from a premium-class manufacturer such as Saab.

The overall design echoes the soft curves and flowing lines of the exterior. In the same way, its unfussy styling is clearly a natural evolution from previous Saab models. The fascia layout, the supportive seating, the shape of the door panels and the feel of the tactile, soft-touch controls are all very modern interpretations of classic Saab styling themes. It is a harmonious interior that could only come from Saab.

Attention to detail, so typical of Saab, is everywhere to be seen. The gentle contours in the B-pillar trim are a precise continuation of the lines in the door panels. The rear seat belts are neatly housed just above the rear seatbacks, avoiding unsightly slots in the
C-pillars. The LED for the alarm is integrated into the fascia sun sensor. Even the seat height adjustment levers are coated in a soft-touch plastic finish.

The interior is presented in a choice of ‘light room’ (parchment) or ‘dark room’ (gray) tones for Linear Arc, Vector and Aero specifications. (see Interior Features section for details).

Aerodynamics
The final shape of the 9-3 Sport Sedan was the product of a painstaking liaison between body stylists and aerodynamicists. Saab’s decision to move from a hatchback shape with a relatively narrow track to a wider sedan format posed a tough challenge to the ingenuity of Chief Aerodynamicist Håkan Danielson and his team. Their mission was to produce a shape that cleaves the air as efficiently as possible, giving good high speed stability, optimised fuel consumption and low wind noise inside the car. The result is an impressive drag coefficient of 0.28, equalling best in class performance.

“We have managed to reduce the Cd value by more than 10 per cent compared to the old model, even though the increased width of this car means we are punching a bigger hole in the air,” says Danielson.

Slippery shape
The team concentrated their efforts on achieving a smooth airflow over, around, through and under the car. They focused on points of flow separation at the rear in order to reduce turbulence and improve stability by reducing the size of the car’s wake. The shaping of the side sills and the radius and curvature of the rear corner of the C-pillar also helps reduce drag.

The rear edge of the hood lid ‘kicks up’ to smooth the passage of air on to and around the windscreen. Thee team also worked hard to reduce disturbance where the bottom of rear window joins the trunk deck, a particularly sensitive area in ‘notchback’ shapes. The subtle upturn of the rear edge of the trunk lid is, in effect, an integral ‘lip’ spoiler which helps reduce the size of the car’s wake, the area of turbulent air that trails behind the car at speed.

Good airflow management also contributes to keeping the windows of the car as free from grime as possible. For example, the door mirror casings have a small spoiler-like profile in the bottom surface to reduce contamination of the side windows.

In addition to its excellent low drag shape, the team have made major strides in improving stability. Compared to its predecessor, lift forces at the rear axle – an important determinant of high speed stability, especially under braking – are reduced by an impressive 30 per cent. A value of 0.11 Clr (coefficient of rear lift) is again on a par with best in class.

Low wind noise
Special attention has been given to reducing wind noise. The adoption of monoside body pressings, with inset doors and seals, makes a significant contribution. There has also been fine tuning of the A-pillars and door mirrors.

The traditionally deep curvature of the windscreen reduces the acceleration of the airflow as it approaches the A-pillars, which have a flattened radius where they connect to the windscreen to minimise airflow disturbance. The bottom edge of the door mirror casings is also extended rearwards by 5 mm to further reduce the likelihood of wind noise at speed.

Good airflow management even plays a safety role in the 9-3 Sport Sedan. The ‘wraparound’ rear light clusters have an optimized radius that gives a distinct separation for airflow along the side of the car. However, careful shaping of the angle actually helps the air ‘turn the corner’ first before it separates. The creation of a flow over part of the light clusters has the effect of helping to reduce the build up of road grime, which can impair the visibility of the lights.

Under the car
Airflow underneath the car is becoming an increasingly important area for ‘fine tuning‘ and the forward lower link of the rear suspension has been aerodynamically shaped to reduce wind resistance and minimize the accumulation of road grime on the wheel rims. It is the first time Saab has aerodynamically shaped a suspension part.

Shielding of the ‘exhaust’ air from the cabin air conditioning reduces disturbance where it exits behind the rear wheel housing and airflow under the hood, within the engine bay and at the bottom of the front footwells was also closely scrutinised.

Testing
Advanced CFD (Computational Fluid Dynamics) modelling now replaces a great deal of laborious work in the wind tunnel and also allows faster, more effective communication between project team members. For example, CFD played a vital role in the visualization of airflow and speeded up optimization work in the wind tunnel.

CFD was also the main tool for optimizing internal airflows: in the engine bay to control heat build-up from the engine and in the passenger compartment for best possible comfort.

Full-scale optimization work was carried out in the wind tunnel at Stuttgart University, using a rolling road. But before that work began, advanced test methods developed by Saab made it possible to test up to 70 different body shapes in one fifth scale during an eight hour shift in the tunnel. In this way, aerodynamicists and designers work very closely together and a large number of suggested changes can be quickly investigated to meet aerodynamic targets.

Further wind tunnel testing was also carried out at the Motor Industry Research Association (MIRA) in the United Kingdom and in Detroit in the United States, for wind noise suppression.

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Powertrain: New 2.8V6 Turbo engine leads powertrain line-up

· Wide choice of 8 engine options: 6 gasoline, 2 diesel
· Aluminum 2.8V6 Turbo configured for 250 bhp/184 kW or 230 bhp/169 kW
· Variable valve timing and twin-scroll turbocharger
· Aluminum 2.0 turbo offering 150 bhp/110 kW, 175 bhp/129 kW or 210 bhp/155 kW
· Euro 4 compliant common rail 1.9TiD with 120/150 bhp (88/110 kW)
· 122 bhp/90 kW naturally-aspirated 1.8i engine broadens customer choice
· Range of five/six-speed manual and automatic transmissions

Saab Automobile Powertrain’s expert knowledge and experience of turbocharging is recognized by its role as a Center of Expertise within General Motors for the development of turbocharged gasoline engines. Saab Automobile Powertrain AB, part of GM Powertrain Europe, was therefore closely involved in the conceptual design and development of GM’s new global V6 engine architecture, ensuring it included the possibility of a turbocharged application.

The advanced 2.8-liter V6 Turbo in the Saab 9-3 Sport Sedan includes the following features: lightweight, all-aluminum construction; variable valve timing; a twin-scroll turbocharger; unique cylinder heads, pistons and con-rods, and hydroformed exhaust manifolds with stainless steel liners and air injection for improved cold start emissions. The result is the most sophisticated turbocharged engine to be installed in a Saab, delivering strong power and torque, together with the high level of refinement and excellent low-speed pick-up characteristics associated with a large capacity, six cylinder engine.

The powertrain line-up also includes an all-aluminum, 150/175/210 bhp (110/129/155 kW) 2.0-liter four cylinder turbo engine, a superb 120/150bhp (88/110 kW) 1.9TiD turbo diesel unit and a naturally-aspirated 122 bhp (90 kW) 1.8-liter engine.

Automatic transmissions feature Saab Sentronic sequential manual gear selection and optional steering wheel controls. Six-speed units are offered with both 2.8V6 Turbo and the 150 bhp (110 kW) 1.9TiD engines, while a ‘5+2’ combination, giving two intermediate gears on kickdown, is also available for the 210 bhp (155 kW) gasoline engine. Manual transmissions comprise both six and five-speed gearboxes.

Sophisticated 2.8-liter V6 Turbo
The 2.8V6 Turbo has a 60º vee-angle between its cylinder banks for perfect balance and combines excellent multi-valve refinement with outstanding performance. The all aluminum construction provides a light and compact architecture, well suited to its transverse, front-wheel-drive installation in the Saab 9-3.

The cylinder heads, each with double chain-driven overhead camshafts operating four valves per cylinder, are of high specification aluminum and unique to this turbocharged application. The design ensures enhanced heat resistance under 85 bar cylinder pressures, as well as minimum maintenance costs.

Also unique are pistons with hard anodized ring grooves for durability and under-skirt oil jet cooling, together with steel con-rods that are strengthened by sinter-forging, a process that involves molding metal in a powered form. The exhaust valves are filled with sodium to further enhance cooling. The cylinders have cast iron liners and a bore/stoke of 89.00 / 74.8 mm.

For improved engine breathing, variable cam phasing on the inlet side is electronically controlled and hydraulically actuated, allowing continuously variable adjustment through 50º of crankshaft rotation. On the road, this translates to a more flexible power delivery and better fuel economy under different engine loads.

A die-cast aluminum oil sump is designed to increase structural stiffness and the strong, four-bearing crankshaft is made from micro-alloy forged steel, a specification more commonly seen in competition performance or diesel engines. Together with a dual-mass flywheel, these elements further reduce unwanted noise and vibration, ensuring smooth and refined performance.

The twin-scroll, water-cooled Mitsubishi TDO4-15TK turbocharger, operates at 0.6 bar maximum boost with intercooling and an integral by-pass valve. It is mounted centrally above the transmission and fed by both banks of cylinders. The use of two separate inlet tracts, one for each cylinder bank, separates the exhaust gas pulses, improving gas flow, reducing energy losses and raising turbocharger efficiency. The turbine wheel is made from a special high-grade steel alloy, commonly used in the turbocharged engines of world championship rally cars, which is resistant to erosion, cracking and creeping under high temperatures and centrifugal forces.

Also unique are double-skin exhaust manifolds, which are hydroformed with stainless steel liners to improve cold start emissions by minimizing heat absorption to the manifold. Air injection into each manifold for up to 30 seconds after a cold start also helps the central pre-catalyst, positioned upstream of the main catalytic converter, achieve ‘light off’, its effective working temperature, as early as possible.

The 32-bit engine management system, with software calibrated specifically for the Saab 9-3 application, utilizes a torque-based engine control strategy and direct coil-over-plug ignition with a robust engine-mounted control unit. Ignition timing, fuel injection, turbo boost pressure, air mass measurement and the throttle setting are all key engine functions controlled by the software.

The sophisticated control strategy is designed to deliver smooth performance in all driving conditions. The system works with the vehicle’s transmission to modulate torque, providing stirring performance and excellent engine response. The system can also limit torque in low-traction conditions, helping provide confident, sure-footed driving. Variable fuel pressure further contributes to smooth idle and driving characteristics.

For driving comfort, control of the electronic throttle through the movement of the accelerator pedal is programmed to be sensitive to different driving conditions, with greater pedal movement introduced at lower vehicle speeds, such as when maneuvering or parking. At low engine speeds, the engine control system also brings the turbo in quickly by momentarily opening the throttle slightly more than requested by the driver.

The 2.8V6 Turbo is available in two power configurations. The 250 bhp (184 kW)/350Nm engine is exclusive to the top-of-the-line Aero model and a 230 bhp (169kW)/320Nm version is offered in Arc and Vector variants. In both, maximum torque is generated from just 1,800 rpm all the way to 4,500 rpm, with 90 per cent of this value available from an exceptionally low 1,500 rpm.

Impressive on-the-road performance is typified by a superb low-speed engine response, attributable to the careful programming of the engine management software and the increased engine capacity. Under a full throttle load at take-off or low engine speeds, 90 per cent of maximum acceleration is delivered within one second.

The fast, but controlled, torque build-up immediately above the 720 rpm idle speed is delivered with a turbine-like smoothness. For the top-of-the-line 9-3 Aero Sport Sedan, the result is zero to 100 kph acceleration in a rapid 6.7 seconds – a new performance benchmark for Saab – and 80-120 kph in fifth gear in just 7.9 seconds. Careful tuning of the Aero’s twin sports exhausts downstream of the main catalyst adds a distinctive, exhilarating engine note.

Overall, the new engine’s high level of performance and six cylinder refinement perfectly complements the Sport Sedan’s superb chassis dynamics, giving a truly rewarding, fun-to-drive experience.

Lightweight 2.0-liter Turbo, choice of three power ratings
The compact, all-aluminum, four cylinder 2.0-liter gasoline engine has a block perfectly ‘square’ in configuration, with a bore and stroke of 86 mm, and carries a unique Saab four-valve cylinder head, maintenance-free chain-driven camshafts, counter-rotating balancer shafts, for improved refinement, and an integrated oil cooler. It is controlled by the latest Trionic 8 version of Saab’s own, in-house engine management system, among the most sophisticated of its kind in commercial production.

All main internal components are unique to Saab’s turbocharged application. These include a five-bearing forged steel crankshaft, strengthened con-rods, redesigned pistons and gudgeon pins, piston oil cooling jets and reprofiled camshafts. The cylinder head is a unique alloy casting optimized for turbocharging, with substantially revised inlet porting, modified inlet valves and sodium-filled exhaust valves.

A major innovation for Saab is the in-board location of the turbocharger, behind the transversely installed engine. This position allows an even quicker warm-up for the front exhaust catalyst, giving improved fuel consumption and lower cold start emissions, as well as benefiting weight distribution.

A Mitsubishi TD04 turbocharger, with an integrated by-pass valve, is used together with intercooling in all applications. It operates at 0.5, 0.7 and 0.85 bar maximum boost pressures, respectively, for the 150 bhp (110 kW), 175 bhp (129 kW) and 210 bhp (155 kW) engines. The latter also has altered valve timing.

The power characteristics of all variants help set new Saab standards for four cylinder engine refinement, throttle response and progressive torque delivery, as well as yielding competitive fuel consumption and low CO2 emissions.

In common with all Saab gasoline engines, outstanding levels of torque are generated at low engine speeds, with at least 90 per cent of peak values available from just below 2,000 rpm.

Maximum power and torque figures are as follows:150 bhp (110kW) at 5,500 rpm, 240 Nm at 2,000 – 3,500 rpm. (Badged 1.8t)

175 bhp (129 kW) at 5,500 rpm, 265 Nm at 2,500 – 4,000 rpm. (Badged 2.0t).

210 bhp (155 kW) at 5,300 rpm, 300 Nm at 2,500 – 4,000 rpm. (Badged 2.0T).

The 32-bit Saab Trionic 8 engine management system, incorporating direct ignition, is torque-based and specifically developed to meet to the needs of turbocharged engines. In common with the 2.8V6 turbo engine management system, it controls ignition timing, fuel injection, turbo boost pressure, air mass measurement and the throttle setting.

The torque delivery of the engine is noticeably ‘linear’, encouraging the driver to hold intermediate gears for longer periods. Under acceleration, Trionic will control engine torque if there is insufficient grip available at a requested throttle opening and it will also cushion the transitory effects of large accelerator pedal movements in order to maintain a smooth power delivery. As with the 2.8V6 turbo engine, the degree of required pedal movement is related to the driving situation and the control of the electronic throttle is optimized for a quick turbo response.

Saab Trionic 8 is unique in using the spark plugs as sensors to monitor ionization rates during ignition. It is able to individually control the combustion process for each cylinder, detecting any combustion malfunction before it may become critical.

Naturally-aspirated 1.8i option
The appeal of the Sport Sedan is broadened by a naturally-aspirated 1.8-liter engine choice in all specifications, except Aero. The 122 bhp (90 kW), 16-valve unit, with direct ignition by Bosch and an aluminum cylinder head and close-coupled catalyst, is focused on delivering excellent fuel economy, with low emissions and running costs, whilst retaining lively performance.

The use of an electronic throttle and a variable length intake manifold has allowed Saab Powertrain engineers to retain a key Saab driving characteristic – strongly perceived low and mid-range pulling power. At least 90 per cent of maximum torque (167 Nm at 3,800 rpm) is generated between 2,400 and 5,700 rpm, while zero to 100 kph acceleration in 12.5 seconds still feels adequate.

With service intervals up to two years, or 30,000 km, and lower insurance groupings, scheduled running costs will be competitively low. An electro-hydraulic power steering system is also fitted as standard with this engine, minimizing mechanical losses and contributing to lower fuel consumption.

This engine, badged ‘1.8i’, is available only with a five-speed manual transmission and brings the Saab 9-3 Sport Sedan within the budgets of more cost-conscious drivers who still seek a premium-class driving experience.

Sporty 1.9 Turbo Diesel
This sophisticated common rail, direct and multiple injection engine is configured for 150 bhp/110 kW (16 valves) or 120 bhp/88 kW (8 valves). It significantly narrows any perceptible difference between diesel and gasoline engine performance levels – except in the frequency of visits to the filling station.

It offers exceptional maximum torque of 315 Nm or 280 Nm, between 2,000 and 2,750 rpm, with 90 per cent of these values generated between 1,750 and 3,250 rpm. The engine is also available with a maintenance-free particulate filter that ensures compliance with Euro 4 emission standards to be introduced in January 2006.

The four cylinder, cast-iron block has an alloy cylinder head with twin, chain-driven, overhead camshafts and hydraulic tappets for the 16-valve version and a single camshaft in 8-valve format. It includes a steel crankshaft and connecting rods, a variable geometry (VNT) turbocharger for a quick low-end response and a high power capability, a dual-mass flywheel, a weight-saving pressure cast aluminum intake manifold and electronically-controlled exhaust gas re-circulation (EGR) for quick warm-up and low emissions.

Offered in Linear, Arc and Vector variants, this engine gives excellent performance with outstanding running refinement, as well as competitively low fuel consumption and emissions. Its sporty driving characteristics are a perfect match for the Sport Sedan’s fun-to-drive chassis dynamics.

The 150 bhp (110 kW) version is focused more on performance. In-gear acceleration, the most important feature for everyday driving, is on a par with the 210 bhp (155 kW) gasoline engine and the zero to 100 kph dash is accomplished in a brisk 9.5 seconds. The 120 bhp (88 kW), 8-valve version is focused more tightly on the cost of ownership, returning 5.8 liters/100 km over the combined cycle and CO2 emissions of just 157 gms/km.

Common rail technology provides consistently high injection nozzle pressures of 1,600 bar, allowing small multiple injections of fuel, between two and five, to release as much energy as possible from a given amount of fuel. This extremely efficient combustion process, controlled by the Bosch ECM, pays dividends in a number of key areas. Apart from improving fuel consumption, emissions and power, it is crucial in helping to iron out the strong vibrations traditionally associated with compression ignition.

An electro/hydraulic power steering system is also fitted with the 1.9TiD engine. This helps to further optimize fuel consumption by utilizing electric power during low-speed maneuvering, when more steering assistance is required, as well as minimizing mechanical losses.

Advanced Automatic Transmission
A six-speed automatic transmission is offered for both versions of the 2.8V6 Turbo and the 150 bhp (110 kW) 1.9TiD engine. A five-speed version is available on all other gasoline turbo engines, with an additional ‘5+2’ transmission exclusive to the 210 bhp (155 kW) unit, introducing two intermediate gears, ‘2.5’ and ‘3.5’, for greater access to acceleration on kick-down.

All transmissions include ‘Saab Sentronic’, a sequential manual gearshift giving closer driver involvement. When the shift lever can be moved across the gate to ‘manual’ Sentronic mode, ‘up’ and ‘down’ changes can be made with full lock-up in 3/4/5 or 6th gears. This process is taken a step further by the option of steering wheel buttons, which bring gear-shifting right to the fingertips of the driver. The level of driver control offered by Saab Sentronic means that ‘sport’ or ‘winter’ mode settings are no longer required.

In automatic mode, these ‘smart’ transmissions from Asin AW are adaptive to driver usage patterns and prevailing road conditions, fully exploiting Saab turbo power characteristics. The transmission can sense changes in engine performance, engine load, road gradient or altitude and will quickly find the ‘right’ gear without any irritating ‘hunting’.

Six-speed manual gearbox and improved gear change quality
A close-ratio six-speed manual gearbox is standard fitment for both 2.8V6 Turbo engines and optional for the 210 bhp (155 kW) turbo. With a wider set of gear ratios, it is also standard for both 1.9TiD engines, including a taller final drive for the 8-valve version to optimize fuel consumption. The gearbox is rated for 400 Nm maximum engine torque and has dual output shafts for compact design and to lower transmission vibrations.

On all gearboxes, gear change quality is enhanced by the adoption of a cable linkage, instead of rods, from the gear lever. The driver now enjoys a faster change with a much smoother and more positive feel. Noise resonance and vibration are also reduced.

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Interior features: Space with Grace

Highlights include:

· Focused driver’s environment
· ‘Profiler’ customization function
· High positioned Saab Information Display (SID)
· ‘ComSense’ driver safety function to minimize distraction
· Three interior ‘forms’ – Linear, Arc, Vector
· Dual-zone ACC (Automatic Climate Control)
· Advanced ‘infotainment’ systems

Focused Driver’s Environment
The Saab 9-3 Sport Sedan is designed to provide a near perfect driving position for the vast majority of drivers, almost irrespective of size, through a multi-adjustable driver’s seat and a steering wheel that adjusts for both rake and height.

The main instrument panel gently arcs round the driver, an evolution of the same theme in the previous model. In typical Saab fashion, the controls are all logically grouped, those most frequently used bring nearest to hand and closest to the driver’s natural field of vision. The short gearshift lever is just a hand span away.

The main dials – a large speedometer, with a compressed scale above 140 kph, is flanked by a smaller rev-counter and a combined fuel/water temperature/turbo boost gauge – are recessed in traditional Saab fashion. They are white on black and continue to be softly illuminated in green as Saab believes this is the most restful color choice for night driving.

Also located in the main instrument panel are twin adjustable air vents and audio or infotainment system controls with, according to specification, a 5.8 inch, high resolution color monitor screen displaying particularly clear graphics.

The ‘Profiler’ feature, fitted as standard, offers great scope to pre-set a wide range of functions according to personal preference. It is particularly ‘user friendly’, with selections highlighted through a single, rotating button linked to on-screen prompts. The operation of the automatic climate control system, including air distribution, fan settings and the heated seats; the clock/alarm; speed scale illumination and, where fitted, the anti-theft alarm, parking assistance, rain sensitive wipers, the heated seats and the engine block heater can all be tailored in this way.

New for Saab is a high-positioned Saab Information Display (SID), located in a binnacle at the top of the fascia, near the base of the windscreen. For safety reasons, this is as close as possible to the driver’s natural field of vision so that information can be seen without any head movement or much eye re-focusing. The SID shows, for example, local time, outside temperature, radio settings, warning signals and direction arrows from the satellite navigation system, where fitted. It also shows information from the Profiler function and the car computer. Again for safety reasons, Saab 9-3 Sport Sedan drivers are less likely to be distracted by having to look away from the road when checking route directions on the main screen.

Saab has been seeking to minimize potential driver distraction for many years. The sport sedan’s ComSense safety function includes the use of a ‘dynamic workload manager’, introduced with the first generation Saab 9-5 sedan in 1997. This enables the brief suppression of dashboard warning messages, or the interception of an incoming call on the integrated telephone, when a moment of high driver workload is detected by the operation of the indicators or heavy braking.

In the same way, the ‘Night Panel’ feature on the Sport Sedan, and all Saab cars, allows the driver to minimize distraction by switching off, or dimming, all the main instrumentation illumination at night (expect for the speedometer). The development of steering wheel controls for the audio system and telephone, as well as voice activation programs, are seen as further means of keeping the driver’s attention on the road.

As befits a sports sedan, the three-spoke steering wheel is slimmer and sportier than previous Saab designs. Adjustable for height and rake, it can carry buttons for the ‘infotainment’ system, telephone, telematics or gear shifting with automatic transmission.

A substantial central console below the main instrument panel is inclined slightly towards the driver and sweeps elegantly down between the front seats. It accommodates the air conditioning or automatic climate controls, more minor switchgear, the gearshift lever, ignition switch and handbrake. The main storage compartment can be specified to incorporate coin slots, a 12-volt outlet for a battery charger, an optional MP3 input and a smaller roll-top compartment with a cup-holder below the central arm-rest.

A particularly neat innovation is the ‘disguised’ handbrake, which is beautifully integrated in the edging trim of the console. It is a Z-shaped lever, self-adjusting and with a positive, easy-to-use action. On the other side of the console, mirroring the integrated handbrake is a ‘Smart Slot’ detachable sleeve, for further storage of small items.

In true Saab tradition, the ignition switch continues to be located alongside the handbrake. It is now entirely electronic in operation and the customary, mechanical Saab reverse manual gear lock is replaced by an automatic, electronic steering column lock.

Seating comfort
Saab has earned an enviable reputation for class-leading seating comfort and the Sport Sedan continues that tradition. All four seating positions are upholstered to be comfortable and supportive, without being too firm. The front seat squabs and backrests are well bolstered where it matters to give excellent under thigh and lateral back support. The rear of each front seatback is also fully upholstered, including a large storage pocket, and carefully shaped to optimize rear seat leg room.

All four seating positions offer similar standards of comfort, rear seat passengers benefiting from with their own adjustable air vents, reading lights, cup-holders, a centre armrest and generous storage facilities.

Saab’s new generation active head restraints (see Safety section for details) are fitted to both front seats and the rear head restraints can be folded flat without compromising seat comfort.

Interior decor
Each of the three ‘Forms’ or interior specification levels: Linear, Arc and Vector, is designed to create a distinct ambience or atmosphere inside the car. All can be specified in a ‘light room’ (parchment) or ‘dark room’ (gray) color scheme for the seats, door panels, the main interior trim and carpets. However, the door cappings are always presented in anthracite, as part of their integration with the fascia and main instrument panel, and the interior headlining is always white.

The line-up starts with the ‘Linear’ form, intended to communicate a Scandinavian, understated and modern environment. The seats and door panels are entirely covered in black textile and the door trim inserts and the center console molding for the gear lever are finished in anthracite.

‘Arc’ adopts the look of wood and leather to hint at a more conventional and luxurious ambience. The seats and door panels are beautifully upholstered in rucched leather and the door trim inserts and center gearshift molding are presented in a high gloss, wood-effect decor.

‘Vector’ is more progressive and performance-focused. The main instrument display adopts a black on white theme and the sports seats are trimmed with leather and fabric inserts, including more bolstering to the seat squabs and backrests. The door trim inserts, center molding and steering wheel spokes are finished in matte chrome.

‘Aero’ is, of course, the ultimate performance expression of the 9-3 Sport Sedan and the sports styling of the interior, including deeply bolstered leather seats with distinctive fabric trim, reflects its essential character. The sports steering wheel has distinctive matt chrome inserts in the leather rim, a design inspired by the control column of an aircraft – hinting at Saab’s aviation heritage.

Heating and Ventilation
Saab engineers are constantly seeking to raise the efficiency of air conditioning systems, often balancing conflicting needs, such as ensuring quick engine warm up in cold conditions while also providing an adequate supply of warm air for the passenger cabin. For more consistent performance, Saab favors ‘energy balanced’ rather than sensor-controlled automatic systems. This means there are no sudden eruptions of the fan, of example, when a door or window is briefly opened.

All variants are fitted with highly efficient, Saab-developed air conditioning systems, either manually (AC) or automatically controlled (ACC). AC is operated through familiar rotary controls, whilst the automatic climate control functions on a ‘dual zone’ basis, allowing different temperatures to be selected for the left or right hand side of the car. This can be useful when the driver, for example, may wish to keep alert by having a slightly cooler setting.

The ACC can also be pre-selected via the Profiler. And rear passengers benefit from adjustable, twin air vents at the rear of the central console, as well as outlets under the front seats

The heated front seats are now included within automatic climate control, which can switch on and progressively lower the seat heating as the interior warms up. This function and other ACC settings, such as the fan and air distribution, can also be selected through the Profiler customization menu.

Infotainment
The Saab 9-3 Sport Sedan benefits from one of the most powerful electronics systems to be installed in a series production car (see Electronics section for full details). Fiber optics are used to provide a high speed platform for the car’s extensive ‘infotainment’ (communication and entertainment) functions and are capable of handling all likely future requirements in the fast-developing field of infotainment and driver communication, making it easy for owners to fit upgrades.

The sedan cabin sets new standards for Saab in terms of interior refinement and noise suppression and it has allowed technicians to take acoustics to new level. The interior is designed to provide excellent acoustics, irrespective of seating position, and the 9-3 Sport Sedan offers a choice of three modular systems which can be changed or upgraded easily.

The Saab Audio system includes an RDS radio and 70 watts playing power. It can be upgraded with a Premium 150 sound system, which incorporates two amplifiers giving a total of 150 watts playing power. Steering wheel controls, a single-slot CD player or an in-dash 6-disc CD changer are available as options.

The Saab Infotainment system adds a monochrome display, with menu functionality for easy use, to the Premium 150 audio and Saab Infotainment Plus includes a large 5.8-inch color display and a GPS/DVD-based satellite navigation system. Both systems feature an auxiliary input socket in the center console, allowing an MP3 player, for example, to be connected to the audio system

Available as an option for Saab Infotainment and Saab Infotainment Plus is a Bluetooth™-prepared integrated GPRS telephone, with keypad, voice recognition, steering wheel controls and an SMS capability. The phone also offers a wireless connection to a Bluetooth-qualified headset via a ‘push to talk’ steering wheel button.

For Saab Infotainment Plus only, Advanced Voice Recognition (AVR) is available, giving the driver voice control of the radio and satellite navigation system and, when fitted, the integrated telephone and CD player. An optional WAP browser is also available.

Both Saab infotainment systems can be upgraded with a Prestige 300 audio, offering 300 watts playing power.

Storage and Load-carrying
Although the Saab 9-3 is a sport sedan, in the practical tradition of all Saab products it offers excellent on-board storage and load-carrying facilities.

There are numerous places in the passenger compartment where various items can be stowed. Up front, there is a small cubbyhole in place of the optional ashtray (still with a cigar lighter as a power point), two good-sized door bins; a large air-conditioned glove compartment and two pouches at the front of the seat squabs.

The Smart Slot opposite the disguised handbrake provides convenient storage for items such as credit cards, pencils and a small wallet or notebook. A CD disc holder, cup-holder and ice scraper are available as accessory items for this feature.

Rear seat passengers are also well served. In addition to the two door bins, there are large pockets in the front seatbacks and a flat storage area in the center armrest. A neat double cup-holder is also spring-mounted in the front of the seat squab.

The trunk is deep and tall with a wide opening and an ample 421-liter capacity. Two pull handles in the top of the trunk lower the 60/40 split rear seat-back, which includes a ski-hatch, to give a flexible and impressive load-carrying potential. The floor of the trunk also has two tie-down loops to safely secure heavy items.

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Chassis, Brakes, Steering: Sporty Dynamics come as standard

Highlights include:

· Sporty handling to challenge class benchmark
· Saab ‘ReAxs’ – unique rear wheel steer characteristic
· Braking system includes MBA, CBC and EBD
· Excellent steering response
· Saab-tuned ESP® and ESP Plus

The Saab 9-3 fulfils its role as a ‘fun-to-drive’, sports sedan by displaying exceptional handling characteristics that not only set new standards for Saab but also challenge the class benchmark. It is the result of a rigorous development program, the most exhaustive ever undertaken by Saab, designed to combine the benefits of front wheel drive – predictability and excellent driver feedback – with new levels of chassis control for a more rewarding driving experience.

The exceptionally stiff body and all-new suspension provided Saab engineers with a solid foundation on which to achieve outstanding chassis dynamics, exemplary ride refinement and impressively low levels of noise, vibration and harshness.

The chassis’s innate talents are backed up with a full arsenal of electronic driver aids, including ABS (Antilock Braking System), TCS (Traction Control System), EBD (Electronic Brake force Distribution), Cornering Brake Control (CBC) and an optional ESP® (Electronic Stability Program).

Sporty Handling
The top priority of 9-3 Sport Sedan’s chassis development program was to achieve best-in-class handling characteristics. This was an essential requirement as the car is targeted at drivers whose priority is a satisfying, high performance driving experience.

Saab’s chassis engineers are confident that anyone who drives the car will immediately appreciate its quick responses to steering, throttle and braking inputs, together with its impressive levels of grip, driver ‘feedback’ and body control. A low center of gravity and
and the exceptionally stiff bodyshell also play an important role.

Saab’s own ‘benchmarking’ processes and the findings of comparison tests with competitor cars carried out by an independent agency confirm that the Sport Sedan’s driving dynamics place it at the top of its class.

‘ReAxs’ – passive rear wheel steer
The adoption of a four-link rear suspension layout, with toe-links and the use of ball joints instead of rubber inboard and outboard suspension bushings, has allowed engineers to dial in a unique, passive rear wheel steer characteristic (Saab ‘ReAxs’).

When cornering, the elasto-kinematics at the rear axle induce a very slight deflection of both rear wheels in the opposite direction to the steering input, i.e. toe-out for the outer wheel and toe-in for the inner wheel.

Depending on the radius of a bend and the consequent loadings at the rear axle, one degree of movement at the front wheels would typically produce a small but significant response of about one hundredth of a degree at the rear.

This is sufficient to prevent excessive understeer, where the driver is forced to apply progressively more steering lock to turn the front end of the car, increasing the scrub angles of the front tyres. The ReAxs characteristic overcomes this ‘crabbing ‘ effect, helping the tail of the car follow the direction of the front wheels, instead of its nose. For the driver, this gives the car a better balance, helping it turn in and respond more closely to steering inputs.

Suspension Design
The front suspension is by MacPherson struts with de-coupled top mountings, separating the damper and spring loadings, gas shock absorbers and a direct-acting anti-roll bar. The lower control arms are attached to a hydroformed (hollow section) front sub-frame, including a hydraulic bush on the rearmost mounting each side for optimum damping. For good directional stability and ride comfort, the layout is designed to be largely impervious to lateral forces and compliant longitudinally.

The independent rear suspension is also mounted on a sub-frame and incorporates three transverse and one longitudinal link and an anti-roll bar. Compared to the rigid, torsion beam used for the previous model, the new layout has far more longitudinal compliance. Like the front suspension, bushings are stiff for lateral forces and relatively soft longitudinally. The new suspension allows greater scope for optimizing both handling and ride characteristics, as well as helping to prevent road noise entering the cabin.

New for Saab is the adoption of shear bushings in the rear shock absorber top mountings. These effectively dissipate vibrations from the road by absorbing small vertical up and down movements before they are transmitted directly into the mounting and the structure of the car. This feature improves ride quality and also plays an important role in further attenuating road noise.

Reducing Unsprung Weight
To deliver the high standard of ride quality expected in this class of car, Saab engineers carried out a thorough program to minimize unsprung weight. As a result, the front wheel hubs and brake callipers, the lower control arms in the front suspension and the toe and lower links in the rear suspension are made from aluminum.

Braking System
In EU specification, three brake sizes are fitted according to engine power. For all four cylinder engines, except the 210 bhp version, 285 mm front (ventilated) and 278 mm solid rear discs are fitted. For the 210 bhp engine they are 302/292 mm (both ventilated) and for the 230/250 bhp 2.8V6 turbo engines these are increased to 314/292 mm.

High speed braking stability sets new standards for Saab thanks to the ReAxs control of the rear suspension geometry. This effectively ‘preloads’ the rear tyres by applying some lateral force through toe-in as braking commences.

An automatic brake boost feature, Mechanical Brake Assist, is introduced for the first time by Saab. This increases braking pressure from the master cylinder when the driver stamps hard on the brake pedal, stopping the vehicle quicker and activating the ABS more effectively.

A four channel ABS (Anti-lock Braking System) and a Traction Control System (TCS), with additional throttle control, is standard fitment for all variants. A series of electronic brake control functions also utilise the ABS wheel speed sensors and variable valving at each wheel.

Electronic Brake force Distribution (EBD) ensures an optimum braking force is always applied at both axles for maximum stability under heavy braking.

New for Saab is the introduction of Corning Brake Control (CBC), which is activated when the car is cornering under heavy braking. Brake pressure is individually varied between all four wheels so as to keep the car stable, minimising any snap oversteer or understeer characteristics.

All four brake discs have full size dust shields. These ensure braking performance is not impaired by large amounts of snow, mud or dust jamming the callipers.

Precise Steering
The power steering on Saab cars is widely acknowledged for achieving just the right balance between assistance and ‘feel’. In the straight ahead position there is virtually no assistance, in order the give the driver as much direct control as possible, and even at low speeds the driver’s feel for the road surface is never impaired

The rack and pinion steering system for the 9-3 Sport Sedan continues this tradition. The hydraulic pump is camshaft-driven and the rack is mounted low down at the back of the front sub-frame. The geometry and tuning of the front and rear suspensions also combine to give the steering its distinctive feel, linearity and responsiveness. At just 2.97 turns from lock to lock, it is the quickest steering yet fitted to a Saab car. For variants with the 1.8i naturally-aspirated gasoline and 1.9TiD engines, an electro-hydraulic power steering system is fitted as standard, giving less assistance at higher speeds and contributing to lower fuel consumption.

As a general indication of the tautness of the chassis, tests show its lateral acceleration response time – the speed at which all chassis response to a steering input is completed – is about 30 per cent faster than average for this size of car.

Advanced Electronic Stability Program (ESP®)
The fine chassis dynamics of the new 9-3 can be supplemented by an advanced, Saab-tuned ESP® system which is designed to help counteract over-exuberance or misjudgements from the driver.

The ESP® has been honed by Saab technicians using dedicated software to match the behavior of the chassis. The ‘intelligent’ system is extremely progressive in use and is designed to function almost imperceptibly, avoiding harsh interventions when the chassis has already reached the limits of adhesion. ESP Plus is fitted as standard with both versions of the 2.8V6 turbo engine and is specially tuned for sporty driving, intervening progressively to warn the driver when the limits of adhesion are being reached. .

A yaw sensor in the center of the car detects movement around the vertical axis and a sensor on the steering column measures the steering angle being applied. Inputs from these sources are then correlated with the speed of the car.

The system is extremely flexible and it is programmed to execute whatever actions will most effectively prevent the onset of a loss of control. Depending upon the chassis’s disposition, it is possible for braking to be applied via the ABS system to all four wheels at once, as well as control of the electronic throttle.

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Part 2 of this entry is now available here

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