Why the 9-7x isn’t just a badge job

I wrote yesteday about how the 9-7x is gaining some traction in the US market. Not surprisingly, my particular feelings of a qualified respect for this vehicle were challenged in comments. I don’t mind that at all and I fully understand that some people just won’t like it – which is fine with me.

I thought I’d recycle these details from the 9-7x release material though, just so people have a concrete idea as to how many changes went into this vehicle. As Greg mentions in comments, “badge engineering” is the slapping of a new badge on another brand’s model, perhaps a few cosmetic changes, but little more. As you’ll see from the following list, the 9-7x is a much more comprehensive transformation….and this is only the mechanical changes – all those cosmetic changes, including a pretty full interior remodel, we done on top of these.

I’m not trying to convince anyone here, just making sure you’ve got the facts.

To ensure that the new 9-7X meets those expectations, the following enhancements were made to the chassis and suspension systems of GM’s award-winning midsize SUV architecture upon which the 9-7X is based:

– Ride height lowered by one inch
– Additional braces between the cross members and frame
– Firmer springs and shocks
– Stiffened and quicker steering
– Larger front anti-roll bars
– Larger brakes
– Specific Dunlop tires
– Limited-slip differential
– Specifically, here is a list of characteristic Saab driving dynamics and the enhancements that were applied to the 9-7X to achieve the desired results:

Steering (for on-center feel, feedback and precision)

– Toe-in adjusted from 0.1 degrees to 0.2 degrees
– Caster increased an average of 0.5 degrees
– Revised steering valve characteristics including a larger torsion bar
– Steering gear mount stiffened from 6,000 N/mm to 9,000 N/mm
– Intermediate shaft isolator stiffened 33 percent
– New 18-inch Dunlop tires provide better stability and higher lateral stiffness
– Additional braces between cross member and frame at the front

Steering (for response and linearity)

– Steering gear ratio lowered to 18.5:1 from 20.3:1
– Steering gear mount stiffened from 6,000 N/mm to 9,000 N/mm
– New 18-inch Dunlop tires provide better stability and higher lateral stiffness
– Additional braces between cross member and frame at the front
– Front anti-roll bar diameter increased to 36 mm from 34 mm
– Revised shock absorber settings for improved body control (average 70 percent more damping at the front and 20 percent more damping at the rear in the V-8 and 40 percent at the front and 10 percent at the rear in the L-6)
– Added front lower control arm bushing travel limiter

Handling (for stability)

– Toe-in adjusted from 0.1 degrees to 0.2 degrees
– Caster adjusted from 3.5 degrees to 4.0 degrees
– Steering gear mount stiffened from 6,000 N/mm to 9,000 N/mm
– New 18-inch Dunlop tires provide better stability and higher lateral stiffness
– Standard limited-slip differential

Handling (for linearity and predictability)

– Revised shock absorber settings for improved body control (average 70 percent more damping at the front and 20 percent more damping at the rear in the V-8 and 40 percent at the front and 10 percent at the rear in the L-6)
– New 18-inch Dunlop tires provide better stability and higher lateral stiffness
– Front anti-roll bar diameter increased to 36 mm from 34 mm
– Rear suspension upper link bushing stiffened from 4,600 N/mm to 7,000 N/mm
– Rear suspension lower link bushings stiffened from 3,200 N/mm to 4,600 N/mm

Emergency handling

– Standard StabiliTrak
– New 18-inch Dunlop tires provide better stability and higher lateral stiffness
– Revised shock absorber settings for improved body control (average 70 percent more damping at the front and 20 percent more damping at the rear in the V-8 and 40 percent at the front and 10 percent at the rear in the L-6)
– Standard air spring rear leveling
– Standard limited-slip differential
– Front anti-roll bar diameter increased to 36 mm from 34 mm
– Ride height lowered by 25 mm (approximately one inch)

Ride comfort (for body motion and control)

– Front and rear springs stiffened by 15 percent
– Revised shock absorber settings for improved body control (average 70 percent more damping at the front and 20 percent more damping at the rear in the V-8 and 40 percent at the front and 10 percent at the rear in the L-6)
– Front anti-roll bar diameter increased to 36 mm from 34 mm
– Standard air spring rear leveling
– Ride height lowered by 25 mm (approximately one inch)
– Front suspension upper shock mount is stiffer by 33 percent

Brakes (improved brake performance, response time, pedal feel and travel)

– Front caliper material changed from aluminum to stiffer cast iron
– Piston diameter increased to 48 mm from 45 mm
– Brake booster diameter reduced to 240 mm from 260 mm
– Master cylinder diameter increased to 27 mm from 25.4 mm
– Brake pedal ratio reduced to 3.6:1 from 3.8:1

Now you know.

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