Saab Sunday Reading

Hi all, on a gloomy Sunday morning here in Tasmania. Some lazy Sunday reading for everyone….

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Autoblog have started a new blog called Autoblog Green. Those of you interested in biodiesel, ethanol, alternative fuel, hybrid etc etc may find it worthy of a bookmark.

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Gunnar Heinrich of Automobiles Deluxe makes some interesting points in an article posted at The Truth About Cars. The article is about Big3 model development in comparison with your, shall we say, ‘more respected’ car makers. Discussing the evolution of models as opposed to the “here’s something new” approach that the Big3 seem to adopt every 6 months or so.

Saab were, by necessity, from the evolution camp as they didn’t have the funds for brand new models every 3 or 4 years. Hence the decade-or-so life cycles of many Saab models. Of course, now they’re part of GM, there has been a bit more activity.

I think the right place to be is somewhere in the middle, ensuring that the best of a model is eventually achieved but also ensuring that the best new engineering is utilised in a brand new model should it be appropriate.

Have we seen the best of the 9-3 yet? How different will it be on Epsilon II? I guess we’ll find the anwers in the next few years.

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GM have partnered with DCX and……wait for it……BMW in order to produce a full hybrid system aimed at AWD and RWD vehicles. The system is explained briefly over at Edmunds:

The two-mode system, which employs low- and high-speed electric continuously variable transmission (ECVT) modes, should be ready for production in 2007, the partners said.

The system incorporates four fixed gear ratios in addition to the two ECVT modes, and it can use electric motors during all modes for boosting power and regenerative braking. The partners say the new technology provides superior fuel economy, performance and towing capability.

It’s anticipated that this would be able to be used on a wide variety of vehicles from cars to light trucks. Does the 9-7x qualify?

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Finally, an intriguing picture from the Swedish Saab forum, iSaab. Thanks to Mecachrome for sending it in via comments. The photo was taken on a cameraphone just outside the Saab factory at Trollhattan.

weird Saab at Trollhattan.jpg

The car has some sort of tube attached to the exhaust, and my very dodgy internet translator also picked up on a hose extending from under the hood at the front, entering inside the rear door.

What’s more intriguing to me is the shape at the rear. That almost looks like a hatch to me.

Any thoughts, especially from iSaab regulars participating in the discussion, are more than welcome.

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16 Comments

  1. A 9-3 sedan hatch will be the ultimate dream come through. If this is ever produced sales records around the world will be broken over and over. I hope the weird shape is indeed the beginning of a hatch comeback of some sort.

  2. It seems odd Saab would re-work the rear of a 9-3 to accomodate alternate fuel/driveline options. However, I can almost “see” the hatch… Maybe an existing 5-door hatch prototype was used as a mule for testing? The rear does seems a bit stretched, but that would be a very tricky Photoshop job, with part of the car obscured by window glass.

  3. I don’t think it’s either photoshop or a hatchback, but that the image is just slightly distorted because of the windows. The part you see through the opened window seems absolutely normal.

  4. That line on the roof that looks like a hatch…couldn’t it just be the mirror image of the pole behind the car?

  5. If we look at the rail between the lanes…The poles holding that rail up is slightly tilted, isn’t?
    I’m voting for glass distortion and a standard 9-3 testing new engine…Could it be an Aero Ethanol?

  6. Wow… if thats a hatch, bring it on! I was testing an on-board exhaust analyzer recently and it had a tube that hung out the rear window also.

  7. Hmm, I see no distortions that would accentuate the lower half of the rear fascia and the bumper out like that. That bumper itslef looks like a specially fabricated shape intended to hide something underneath. Perhaps some kind of test mule for a different drivetrain/fuel source (ie: 9-3SS biopower hybrid) ?

    Only trolls know 😉

    Anyone notice the 9-5 SportCombi in the leftside mirror ?

  8. I’ll be optimistic and guess it’s the Epsilon 2 mule. It’s supposed to have a longer length than the current 9-5, much lessthe 9-3. Manufactures have donethis in the past (putting a prior model shell on the new platform for testing)

  9. Looks like test mule for next 9-5 maybe.

    I wonder do they have actual prototypes ready for next winter testing from we might get some spyshots ;P

  10. I’m going to go so far as to say that camera phones don’t have the best optics. Here’s the same picture after a 15-degree “stretch”.

    http://trex2.oscs.montana.edu/~pgammelgard/pics/SAAB.JPG

    It looks a lot like a 9-3SS to me. It seems that the lower elft portion of the phone’s optical range was a bit askew, if you will.

    Yes, the rest of the picture looks a bit funky now… but not too much.

    ~Peter

  11. According to the guy who took the picture, the rear looked strange and was longer than ususal. And it had “some kind of instrument on the hood”.

  12. It doesn’t seem to distortion for me.
    I don’t think that a side glass or even the phone camera can make this kind of distortion.
    The only suspicious thing is that the fence stands are also tilted. But I’ve never seen a swedish fence at the highway, so it could be like this. 🙂
    Other details like the car’s mirror and the streetlights seem to be OK.
    If the rear of the mentioned car is the result of distortion than the car’s mirror should be a very strange shape because it seems OK with the same distortion.

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