Big thanks to Saab007, who attended the Aero Academy last week and emailed me to let me know about some non-driving knowledge he gained while he was there.
He got to chatting with one of the Saab guys there, who answered a few questions and quite possibly avoided a few others. The full bug is here at SaabCentral, but here’s the stuff I think will be of most interest (for US readers at least).
1) A Bluetooth retrofit kit for the 9-3SS is in the works, release date unknown (?withheld). Its delay is not related to Onstar whatsoever.
2) Digital Onstar for ’07. No retrofit kit planned for analog Onstar 9-3SS owners.
These are the ones I find most inetersting….
3) Hirsch upgrades (as in ECU) a small possibility in the US, and is being looked into. (How seriously, I don’t know) Main problem is that none of the ECU upgrades are US/DOT certified legal Stateside.
Similar problems here in Oz. Hirsch stuff all has to be copliance tested, which is expensive.
4) 18″ OEM wheels not brought Stateside because they do not pass the Feds’ pothole tests. That means they bend easily. Also, partly due to previous CAL, blah blah blah…. Also asked about the 18″ turbine wheels seen on Aero X and E100 9-3 Hybrid Convertible. Not in the works, apparently.
No turbines? I can’t believe it! They’d have to be nuts to not make those.
5) TPMS in ’06 models may or may not show up (even though section dedicated to it in the owners manual).
6) a US E85 hybrid model based on current 9-3 platform, possible in the future. Big issue is poorer fuel economy, limited E85 availability, and demand. Also, heavy demand in Europe would limit/delay its US release.
This next one’s very hard to believe, given the common understanding that Epsilon, as it is, can’t accept AWD.
7) 4wd availability on current 9-3 platform also possible. Could happen. Never know.
It’ll be very interesting to see what comes of all these.