There’s another report out in the print and electronic media (is this the one you saw PT?) and boy, they’re really whooping it up down here about the Aussie input into the 2.8l V6. I’m almost embarrassed to print this, as it’ll give you all a glimpse into the miniscule Australian market. Gut check time.
Saab this week unleashed the hot new 9-3 Aero, the first of the Saab range to feature General Motors’ global V6 engine, which has been jointly developed in Australia.
With 184kW of power and 350Nm of torque, the car now takes the honours of being the fastest Saab has ever produced.
It could not come quickly enough at a time when Saab sales have dropped to just 1100 units to date, 500 less than an also "disappointing" 2004 (for the same period).
However Saab Australia and New Zealand director Ralph Stevenson remains optimistic, predicting new products and a stronger dealer network will boost sales.
"Our Sport Sedan had a tough year with new competitors hitting the market, but sales have come on strongly in the last quarter," Stevenson says.
Knocking 20% off the price of the 9-3 will tend to improve sales for a period…..but back to the V6:
Key differences between the V6 engine in the Saab and Holden’s Alloytec V6 include the turbo, a unique manifold and exhaust system, special alloy cylinder head, sodium-filled exhaust valves, engine-mounted cooler and a secondary air system.
The V6 replaces the Aero’s 155kW/300Nm 2.0-litre turbo engine, which is now standard in the 9-3 Vector.
The Aero comes standard with a six-speed manual. A six-speed automatic is optional.
The Aero produces 184kW of power at 5500rpm and 350Nm of torque from 2000rpm to 4000rpm…..
From the outside, the Aero does not look much different except for the missing rear spoiler and the new door handles. Inside is also much the same except for a redesigned steering wheel. But behind the wheel the difference is instantly noticeable.
Once the right foot is pushed the huge amount of torque comes in — and low down in the rev range. The engine is punchy and acceleration is seamless, right throughout the rev range. The tuned note of the exhaust is noticeable, a deep, growly sound that resonates inside and outside the car.
Turbo lag appears non-existent and also appreciated is the lack of torque steer.
So it’s heads down and bum up here in Oz. We’ve got a new Euro competitor, a reconfigured 9-3 range, the SportCombi to start drifting in soon and a heck of a lot of catching up to do. It’s time to start kicking some butt.
Ralph – Trollhattan Saab is at your service. Anything I can do to help protect our home floor – just ask. (I hope he doesn’t ask me to shut-da-hell-up!!)