9-3 BioPower debuts in the UK

Following is a press release from Saab UK regarding the announcement of the 9-3 BioPower range…..



* Saab brings innovative BioPower flex-fuel technology to 9-3 range with launch of new 1.8t BioPower engine at Geneva Motor Show

* Saab becomes first – and only – car company in UK to offer an alternative-fuel engine in every model in its line-up

* Saab’s ground-breaking BioPower technology means significantly reduced fossil CO2 emissions coupled with substantial power and performance increases

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With the arrival of the 1.8t BioPower engine across the Saab 9-3 range, Saab is proud to become the first, and only, car company in the UK to offer an alternative fuel engine choice in every single model in its line-up. Available in all three 9-3 bodystyles of Sport Saloon, SportWagon and Convertible, Saab’s pioneering BioPower flex-fuel engines are now available to a whole new audience of customers in the UK.

The 1.8t BioPower engine emits 50 – 70 per cent less carbon dioxide (CO2) than its 1.8t petrol engine equivalent, yet produces 17 per cent more maximum power and ten per cent more torque when running on the eco-friendly yet potent fuel source bioethanol E85. It is the third Saab BioPower engine to be launched in the UK. Two Saab 9-5 BioPower variants are already for sale here, both offering significantly reduced fossil CO2 emissions and substantially increased power and performance.

“The success of the 9-5 BioPower has encouraged us to extend this concept to the 9-3 range,” says Jan Åke Jonsson, Saab Automobile’s Managing Director. “This means we can now offer BioPower variants throughout our core product line-up.” Indeed, on the back of the success of the Saab 9-5 BioPower range of cars, Saab is already the biggest-seller of flex-fuel cars in Europe. The launch of 9-3 BioPower at the Geneva Motor Show this week promises to extend Saab’s leadership in this emerging and exciting segment.

Saab 9-3 BioPower models will be available with manual or automatic transmissions, and will go on sale with immediate effect in the UK and Ireland and other Nordic markets. Sales in other European markets will commence later this year.

Saab 9-3 1.8t BioPower:

Running on bioethanol E85 fuel (85% bioethanol/15% petrol), the new 9-3 BioPower 1.8t engine delivers 17 per cent more maximum power (175 hp/129 kW v 150 hp/111 kW) and ten per cent more torque (265 v 240 Nm). In the 9-3 Sport Saloon, that translates to projected zero to 62 mph acceleration in 8.4 seconds and 50 to 70 mph in fifth gear in 13.9 seconds, compared to 9.5 seconds and 15.0 seconds, respectively, on petrol.

Technical Specifications

1998 cc. Four cyl. in-line.
Bore/Stroke: 86/86 mm

Aluminum cylinder head/block. DOHC, chain-driven, 16-valves, twin balancer shafts.
Turbocharged, intercooled. Compression ratio, 9.5:1

Saab Trionic 8 engine management. Direct ignition, multi-point fuel injection, electronic throttle control.

Click the following table to enlarge.


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  1. Congratulations to Saab for offering the latest and greatest.

    However, I’m curious to know the fuel consumption figures for E85 vs. petrol. From what I’ve read, E85 consumes quite a bit more fuel. Which leads me to the following question: Does the larger amount of fuel used with E85 fuel offset the emissions figures? (i.e. You wrote that “the 1.8t BioPower engine emits 50 – 70 per cent less carbon dioxide (CO2) than its 1.8t petrol engine equivalent.”)

  2. I think it should read more like “the 1.8t BioPower engine emits 50 – 70 per cent less NET carbon dioxide (CO2) than its 1.8t petrol engine equivalent”. As in, when a Car is driven on E85 Continuously then because of the closed loop carbon cycle i.e. in the case of the 9-3 BioPower it will emits 50%-70% less emissions compared to the same engine running on Petrol because 50%-70% of the CO2 that comes out of the tail pipe is reuse to grow the products that the fuel is created from again. As in the case here in Ireland, the Grass uses CO2 to grow, the cows eat the grass, they milk the cows, whats left from the cheese process is distilled into E100, 15% Petrol is added to make E85, the car burns the Fuel and if we use the figures from the 9-3 BioPower then between 50%-70% of the CO2 from the car is again reused to grow the grass and it all begins again- A closed loop cycle.

  3. Sorry i forgot to say that i have not got the figures on the CO2 for the 9-3 BioPower, but if we use the 9-5 BioPower as an example then both the 2.0t Petrol and 2.0t BioPower both emits the same CO2 figures for both engines except the BioPower when run on E85 will recycle the CO2. So what im saying is that a Saab 9-5 BioPower even with the larger amount of fuel it burns with E85 fuel does not offset the emissions figures, they remain the same. I hope that helps.

  4. A little off topic but nevertheless related. I found this quote from Bob Lutz recently. My first reaction is wow ! Does he remember GM owns Saab? Second, why did they introduce the G8 in Chicago with a gas guzzling V8. I wish GM got their act together much faster. This planet does not have many decades to spare. (Do they really think we will let them increase the production of the abominable tar sands of Alberta so they can keep driving their f****** Hummers ? Granted, our G. W. B.- inspired Prime Minister thinks so, but I hope we will boot him out of office quicker than a bio-powered Saab.

    Even decisions on which engines to use in which products, which have traditionally been left to regional managers, are being shaped by global forces now, Lutz said.

    “One of the answers, which is being increasingly adopted in Europe and we plan to use it too, is to use engines in cars that are fundamentally way too small and then turbocharge them. You could envision (the Pontiac G8) with a four-cylinder Cobalt engine but turbocharged to 270 to 280 horsepower. That’s a formula that works great for fuel economy because when you’re not in the acceleration game you’re cruising along on a tiny, little engine,” Lutz said. “Trouble is that costs about $1400. Nothing is for free.”

  5. Yes! The wonderful 9-3 is available with a biopower engine. Good for the environment. Gold for the drivers.

  6. Lutz does not remember GM owns Saab. His latest MO is to sell Pontiacs and Saturns ie <$20K cars, not $30K Saabs that might sway buyers from his beloved Cadillax.

    All the cacophony from the E85 bandwagon has been deafening. Normal 93s get ~28mpg…E85s ~21. A tough sell when diesel/BioD 93s get 40 to 50. Eh what?

  7. Unfortunately Fred, one of the downsides of biodiesel is that due to limited availability of B100, most people would be running B0 or at best B20 like “BioWillie”. While a 20% decrease in fossil fuel consumption is admirable, it does little to help the problem overall. Further, the NOx emissions from diesel automobiles are too high to meet new clean-air requirements unless there’s a filtering or urea system installed. That would be too expensive for SAAB to develop to sell diesels in the U.S. for it to be worth it.

  8. Psycho Dave,

    I really, really like that commercial, and especially now that it’s in English too.

    Unfortunately, I can’t play back this song (that Saab lets you download) once it’s on my computer, despite trying two different programs (including Windows Media Player 11). The format is not recognizable for some reason- yet it’s an mp3? What gives?

    Is anyone else facing the same problem? I can download it but no program seems to recognize the “format.”

    Gripen, I agree that the strict emissions likely keeps Saab’s diesels from coming here to the US. It’s a shame, really. However, on the biodiesel, there are places (including a school here locally) that do run on B100 if I am not mistaken- they refine the vegetable/cooking oil and run their bus on that alone. I might be wrong, but that’s at least the apparent claim of the local news stations here in SLC.

  9. RJ: yeah, there are a couple of stations here in the L.A. area which sell B100. You have to join the “Biodiesel Users’ Group” or something like that to be able to buy it from these two stations, but membership is free.

    The problem I’ve read with B100 is two-fold. One, there’s no real standard for B100, so there’s no way to be sure that all B100s are equal. Two, it has been known to gum-up some engines.

    I’m all for it, but they need to jump these hurdles before its adoption on a widespread scale.

  10. Ah yes there is a standard for US biodiesel(ASTM D6751)as well as EU and other countries. Go to biodiesel.org to clear up misconceptions and locate suppliers.

    Could you reference the “known bioD gum-up” plz?

    A 20% decrease in fossil fuel use by subbing BioD would be way more than “admirable”.

    Just as petrol/E85 engines need to distinguish fuel ratios, so too must diesel/BioDs to optimize power/economy/emissions.

    A whole slew of mfgs will have 50-state diesel cars for MY08. Nothing from GM at present…sorry 6.6L Duramax not included.

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