Black Turbo News

This is a bittersweet post to have to write.

Any post on the Black Turbo is a good one, but this one’s got a somewhat sad element to it.

Just over a month ago I stood in Trollhattan talking to a guy about the software that would govern the Black Turbo. I asked if the horsepower numbers it would provide started with a ‘3’ and he replied “definitely”. I asked if the second digit was a ‘2’ and he smiled and said “maybe”.

A number of other sources had also mentioned a 300-320 horse output as well, so combined with the word that came to me directly in Trollhattan, I figured it was a fair bet.

We’ve already heard that the XWD version of the 9-3, the Aero version upon initial release, will come with a boosted 280hp. The standard 2WD Aero will come with 255hp.

The latest word that I’m getting, however, is that the Black Turbo will not be as well endowed as we thought. I’ve now heard from two independent sources that the Turbo-X – the Black Turbo – will also come with a 280hp setup.

It’ll be a limited edition of 2,000 units worldwide and will be visible early in 2008. The 280hp output means that car may bell be all about the body kit and any work done on the interior. This is all believed to look sensational and I can’t wait to see it.

News about a 280hp Saab can rarely classified as disappointing, but I can’t help but feel a little deflated about this. As mentioned, this has drifted in from a few sources and I’m confident that it’s true. There’s still several months left in the year, however, and if the situation changes I’ll keep the site updated.

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63 Comments

  1. Could be a marketing issue. Today, with all the talk about environmentally friendly cars, having the bhp numbers starting with a “3” could draw lot’s of criticism.

  2. Bittersweet? What is the sweet part?

    The only positive spin I can see is that this might have been done in order to avoid having the Black Turbo outshine the new 9-5 when it comes out.

    Still a mistake, IMHO — Saab needs something to stand out among the enthusiast crowd, and a body kit, however nice, won’t cut it.

  3. Yeah, I’m afraid this pretty much ruins it for me. I would never spend more money for a car that looks faster but doesn’t go faster. Having a body kit and a bunch of carbon fiber on my car isn’t worth a penny if it comes with no extra performance. This is Saab’s best chance to be considered a worthy player in the sport sedan market, and for that to happen, the black turbo needs at least 320 hp, if not more.

  4. 280, 320? Either one is good, of course more is better.

    It is a bit disappointing that the ‘black’ turbo couldn’t muster more. You expect the skunkworks to bring it strong.

  5. Let’s just wait until Hirsch-Performance reveals its new 9-3 Troll-version… I bet that it will reach about 350 hp – and probably cost less than a factory black turbo…

  6. i agree with the above comments that a sub-300 bhp, new, “high-performance” saab is wrong. it doesn’t have to be a sales leader; it just needs to be an option for those that want it, and it needs to put the competition on notice that saab can’t be taken lightly anymore.

    perhaps, gm wants to see how well the xwd system will stand up in the “real world” before it “unleashes the hounds.”

    seems like the aero will be more attractive, due to price (roughly compared to the same performance).

  7. I wonder if the limiting factor of the black turbo only getting 280bhp is that the 93’s gear box is only rated to 400Nm, which is where the 2.8v6(280bhp) and 1.9ttid torque is capped.

    Suppose there’s no point upping the power to 320bhp to only keep the torque at 400Nm, and the cost of a suitable rated gearbox to suit would blow the project out of the water?

  8. Coudln’t they at least up the rate a little? is 300 too much to ask for?
    I mean for crying out loud, the out-going s60r was 300 hp.

  9. Yea, that is disappointing and if true absolutely ruins it for me. Rogan nailed it: “I would never spend more money for a car that looks faster but doesn’t go faster“. I’m better off with a XWD Aero.

    I hope this is not the final word, though, and we are going to see something in the 325-350 range. Saab actually needs it considering a stock Japo-crapo-luxo in the same price range comes with 300 bhp these days.

  10. Its got to have more than 300bhp.

    EDS are getting 340bhp out of the same motor in a Vectra – and thats through the front wheels only.

    Saab if your reading this – dont miss this opportunity to show what this engine is really capable of!

  11. I would guess it is a gearbox / engine heat issue or even emmissions.
    The old RS Focus was very delayed because they had trouble getting the engine to run at the required power output reliability.

    I think Swade posted that Saab were asking UK dealers for sales projections a while ago. Maybe a negative response in certain markets has prompted them to make the car a limited edition instead of a full blown model range.

  12. DAMN!!! I was so much looking forward to the 320 hp black turbo. It´s what Rogan says: “Why buy a car that looks faster, but isnt.”

    The Black Turbo then is not just more than a Package with some rims, spoilers and carbon and all in black.

    First SAAB starts the hype talking from a performance Model and then in the end it turns out to be a simple package.

    I was very sure SAAB makes the Black Turbo to position it between the bmw 335i and the m3 engine as a good alternative -> “Best Saab is better than 3 series, but not as fast as the m3”

    Why cant they not just make an engine over 300 hp happen. Saab wants to compete with BMW, Audi, Volvo and DOES NOT HAVE AN 300 HP ENGINE!?!?!? -> sorry saab, that sucks(sorry for my language). I am really disappointed if you dont bring out an 300 hp engine for the black turbo.
    Please Saab just hold on to the tradition like with the viggen. just give us at least 20 hp more. If you want to be Premium you have to at least 300 hp.

    DRIVING A BLACK TURBO WITHOUT AT LEAST A 300 HP ENGINE TO ME MEANS DRIVING CHEAP TUNING SHIT!
    (LIKE THOSE YOUNG GUYS TUNING THEIR CARS BUT ONLY THAT THEIR CARS ARE LOOKING GOOD AND NOT THAT THEY ARE HAVING A BETTER PERFORMANCE!) -> get what i mean? for example VW Golf with spoilers n stuff that looks like 300 hp but only has 70 hp…..

    I am still not giving up the hope.

    PLEASE SAAB BRING US AT LEAST 300 HP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  13. I’m confused. Saab UK sources just recently intimated at more power for this model than the standard 280 !?!

  14. I’d would have liked to have seen a 280bhp engine, but biopowered to get a 15% increase to 320bhp.

    That wouldbe sensational marketing for the biopower image and Saab full stop.

  15. The Turbo X is a very stunning car and 280hp is not to be sniffed at. There have been a lot of reports that the eLSD will be an option on the new XWD system. On the Turbo X it will be standard. The engine is quite capable of producing over 500hp but the current setup on the 2.8V6 doesn’t actually allow for much more than 280hp to be produced. Basically it is all about getting the engine to breath and it’s a lot more complicated than blowing more air in it. The Turbo X is the debut car. There is no other 280hp version.

    Unfortunately the ‘Black Turbo’ has been hyped up a bit, and now I have a bit more insight I can clearly see somebody has got confused into thinking it was a different car.

    At the end of the day it all boils down to money. 2008 will mark a new era for Saab with not just a striking looking portfolio of models but will incorporate very sophisticated drive systems. Ask yourself this question. With a limited budget which would you rather have; another 50hp in just 1 single model or the option of XWD across the complete 9-1 model range?

    These are the decisions manufactures must make and I’d like to think GM and Saab are making the right ones.

    My thoughts at the time were ‘there are going to be some upset people’ However; we must remember Saab is about safety and applied performance driving. Saab has not set out to have a legalised track racer aka M3/RS4. The Turbo X is beautifully styled. The 0-60 is expected to trail behind the M3 within a second but is tuned to outperform in agility.

  16. This is disappointing, 320bhp should have been possible. Surely GM have gearboxes in their world that are able to take that amount of power and over 400Nm of twist?

    280bhp is all well and good, but for a flagship of the range in that sector, it really needed to be at least 300bhp.

    The eLSD being an option on the standard 280bhp car is also a disappointment :(. It’s only an electronic diff is it not? So why deny it, strange decision.

  17. I’m with WooDZ. Saab’s future lies in practical, safe, comfortable, eco friendly and yet spirited cars. Millions in development to sell a few mindless halo cars is not going to propel Saab sales across the world. If there are a few twits out there that think this planet needs another 300 plus hp family car, who gives a damn ? Like mentioned, Hirsh will certainly be there to satisfy your boyish and incredible selfish aspirations. I just hope you keep your testosterone satisfying indulgences to the track, where you can crash all you like in barriers and the likes. Sorry for the rant, but I just can’t believe people are not seeing was is hanging over our heads. Not enouph water in England for you lately?

  18. Agree. Now that they finally getting good press about the whole BioPower thing and beeing environmentally friendly, why ruin it with by joining the bhp race with the Germans at times like these? It’s not worth it. That’s not what Saab is for me. And as mentioned, work close with Hirsch and let them handle that part of the market. That way you can keep the green image of the Saab brand.

  19. So, no redesigned MY08 9-5, no MY08 Black Turbo with any guts, and a very boring MY08 9-3 (new nose job, new handles, no door trim = yawn)… And while SAAB safety is impressive, outside of the UK, sales aren’t as impressive. This is just another example of promises (or perceptions) made only to have them unkept under the guise that ‘that’s not what the SAAB brand is about.’ Meanwhile, other luxury makes continue to build their brand and sales in the critical US market on more HP (Porsche, Audi, Lexus, BMW). I’m not feeling too good about SAABs relevance or future.

  20. I am glad to see someone mentioned weight. While I would not be against a 320bhp black turbo, I am not sorry that it is not happening. Saab need to get away from the more BHP more weight insanity. I am far more interested in BHP/Tonne and CO2/Km. Take 150kgs out of the car rather than add 30-50 BHP.

    Removing weight is embracing Saabs aircraft heritage and gives the company a strong USP.

    I would also ask when has Saab been just about BHP? I thought a Saab was all about torque for overtaking on single lane Swedish roads. I think that those that feel they need a 300+ engine to feel adquate along side other cars can give Hirsch a call if they uprate the engine. If a Saab says anything its that you don’t worry about what the rest of the world think.

    I am curious btw as how many posting here are in a position to buy a Black Turbo in the next 12 months.

  21. Uh, allow me to disagree here, No. 9: Saab needs to save its sales, not the planet! Let Al Gore do the latter.

    BioPower surely must imply power. Saab would have hit the news if they put out a production car that is environmentally friendly and also sucks the doors out of an M3, or a 335 at the very least. They did it with turbocharging back in the 70s, they could do it again. And please take notice: turbocharging was not about saving the environment by better fuel economy at the expense of performance, it provided a cool mix of both economy and performance. Saab is a company that sells “sport sedans” and “sport combis” at quite the premium in a market where it competes with comapnies that constantly up the bhp, Saab needs to catch-up and if it does so by using ecofriendly fuels and engines, even better. But Saab is not an econobox maker: let Kia, Fiat and Skoda take care of that market niche.

    Saab needs a flagship performance model to survive the horsepower wars in the U.S., this company needs to sell cars and make profits. A 300+ hp Lexus and a Prius are all made by the same company and I haven’t heard anyone thrash Toyota because of that. Hell, it is Toyota that has the aura of the most eco-friendly brand these days.

    In fact, this whole thing just highlights how utterly lost Saab branding is sometimes: born from jets, we compete with Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz, and make eco-friendly cars. Make a decision at last: are you the former or the latter, and then, if you want to be both you better back it up with something!

    Off to research JAS39 Gripen’s green credentials now. 😉

  22. Actually, I’m not sure that the Black Turbo should take up the gauntlet and rush for the more and more horsepower.
    Even for a sporty driver the 280 HP should be good enough in traffic in the class of the 9-3.
    Honestly, driving according to the rules and speed limits, who can exploit the 300+HP cars at the streets?
    If it’s important, you can buy a tuning upgrade.

  23. 1. taking apart a brand new car to “hirsch-ify” it is goofy. build it correctly from the factory.

    2. this business about a 300+ bhp car will tarnish saab’s image is nonsense. a high-performance model would only be minor piece of the portfolio. saab will still develop biopower and cars that are still “eco” friendly. (not everyone that buys a bmw, lexis, benz, and audi gets one that has more than 300 bhp; but that option is available for those that want it.) i think saab’s image is more tarnished by only offering 20-year-old horsepower.

    3. why not just ditch the car and buy a saab bicycle?

    4. if “born from jets” doesn’t connote high performance, then what _does_ it mean? ever see the commercials?–they ain’t drivin’ ’em like they’re in a parade….

    5. it’s not about “testosterone.” i have no desire to be on a racetrack. i just want to get from point “a” to point “b.” i would probably feel safer in a saab that has 300+ bhp, as it would be easier/safer to merge onto the interstate. also, i probably wouldn’t mind pulling off to the “shoulder” when i’m on the interstate to take cell call. if i had that much power at my disposal, i’d probably be like the lambos, ferrari’s, carrera’s that amaze me when i see them just crusing along at about 72 mph on the interstate.

    6. if saab can’t do the “black turbo” justice, just stick with the aero.

  24. Since when does higher horsepower necessarily mean better performance? Shame on all of you. The Lotus Elise tears up the track with a 180hp Toyota engine. Until a few years ago, the base Porsche 911 didn’t even have 300 hp (the Boxster S still doesn’t!). 280 hp is PLENTY if the car is lighter and the suspension is tighter. All reviews of the regular 2008 Aero’s performance have been very positive. With 30 more HP and (I’m guessing) a lighter curb weight, this car should kick ass. Reading these comments, you’d think this was some kind of Ford Mustang tuner site. Sheesh!

  25. saab9x:

    2. Minor piece of the portfolio? Saab hardly have a portfolio. They have two models. And they are selling 130.000 cars a year. A little bad press in key markets like Sweden, and you could loose 10% of the sale. Saab are in no position at the moment to go in opposite direction of the opinion.

    3. Since when do you need 300 bhp in a car for it to be fun to drive? As a Swede I can say that Saab has never been about bhp. It has been about safety and handling and design.

    4. Born From Jets? Good ergonomic design? Technical approach?

    5. Feel safer with 300+ bhp? I don’t get it. The only place were you need 300+ bhp would be on a track (or if your driving like an idiot on public roads).

    6. So all of a sudden, a marketing term we havn’t even seen in real life are not made justice by something we havn’t seen yet?

    I suggest you go with a BMW or an Audi. I think Saab owners have more taste than just yelling about bhp.

    Calm down…

  26. Dave, it’s not about the performance you’ll get out of it, it’s about having that car in your line-up. Most Audi buyers don’t get the RS4, but the fact that Audi makes it inflates the brand’s image and makes their lesser models look cool in the eyes of Average Joe.

    It’s all about the message you send. Saab needs to produce an M3/S4/AMG/G35 ass-kicker for everyone to look at the brand with more respect. It’s called addressing and impressing your target buyers.

  27. ctm,

    you make 2 incorrect assumptions about me that are of a personal nature:

    a. that i would need your suggestions, or be even the fainitist bit interested therein; and

    b. that i’m not calm.

    nevertheless, thanks anyway, though.

  28. YOU HAVE GOT TO BE KIDDING ME, RIGHT?
    I am shocked that Saab is going to give the “Turbo-X” this little horse power in the world of luxury cars that have well over 300hp. It is really a let down, and saddened to see that Saab will juice up this model, then completely split, and dissapoint its core followers the way they have.

    Don’t get me wrong, i am by no means selfish, but XWD is not enough. OOOH Wow, it took Saab HOW many years to actually get a AWD system. Wow, so impressive (sarcasm intended).
    The 9-3 has so much potential to be a M3 killer. Saab really would have had a true Halo vehicle for the 9-3 range. And then giving us a new name, “Turbo-X” sounds great and all, but its nothing more than a package. What a let down. Oh wow, new wheels and a body kit? Really? Saab you cease to amaze me lately. Like others have said, the outgoing S60r is even has 300hp.

    And for CTM and everyone else who is saying that you can buy hirsch kits, not even half of the people who OWN saabs even know upgrades are available to the engine. Not to mention Saab will lose sales and potential media coverage just because of this.
    Do you guys really think that this is good for press because it helps our “image” of fuel economy? For a buyer looking at this vehicle, they probably will care less about fuel economy than power. Also, the motoring press (as soon as they started to recognize the brand) will turn and laugh and think nothing has changed here. We must remember that the motoring press determines a LOT (I must emphasize this, A LOT LOT LOT) of decisions and sales for any auto buyer. I can’t remember the last time that Saab was ever 1st in ANY head on review in ANY magazine. Being seen as #1 is a good thing for a brand. Saab would have at least had a fair shot at this. And would of had potential to be on many covers of many magazines.

    This is very disgusting news to hear. And I think that this just sealed the deal on one of the last remaining S60Rs for me. Thanks alot Saab, you got momentum then dropped the ball before you even got it, and lost plenty of sales and status quo because of it. Its like Saab sent a 10 yr old boy into Vietnam to try and become a Hero. IT AIN’T GONNA HAPPEN! At least not with 280hp…

    Oh and before everyone shoots back at me angry and all, talking about fuel economy: There are so many companies that are both powerful and have a line of fuel efficient vehicles. You have Toyota (Lexus, Scion) and Honda (Acura), these companies both have fuel efficient vehicles, and a seperate line of powerful vehicles. Saab has the power and the fuel efficiency, Its just the Power is quite starved… and needs proper nutrition.
    …Rant over and out…

  29. This whole comment chain is with a few exception totally honestly abit ridiculous. As far as I have seen Saab has never ever officially commented on or even acknowledged the existance of a Black Turbo, let alone 320 hp and then Saab (suddenly when the rumours talk about 280hp/400Nm of torque) has let everyone down, broken promises, are assholes, do not get anything about cars, drives people to go buy S60s instead etc etc. What???? If anything you have all got yourself carried away with unconfirmed rumours, which is OK cause that’s what being a fan is all about, and nothing else to blame your disappointment at then yourselves. That said, I do believe in the rumours that a Black Turbo is in the makings, where there is smoke there’s usually a fire and I for one think the facelift looks pretty awesome and strong in Saab charector and a Black MY 08 9-3 Aero with unique Limited Edition changes in and out with XWD and e-LSD with 400Nm of Torque sounds really intriguing and like an absolute blast to drive and will pass judgement on anything until confirmed, seen and test-driven. I do not think Saab has to go with 320hp Jappo racer for the sake of doing it. It’s the torque rather than hp and the complete package that for me always has defined Saab and created such incredible fun drives and think we will not have any reason to be disappointed with 400Nms….. Think (if rumours are true) that chances are high I’ll end up in one as it would be a perfect lease renewal from my MY 04 210hp Aero.

  30. Ron,

    I don’t think that Saab needs take efforts all the way to push some more horse into the 9-3 engine just to be a little bit more powerful than the competitors.
    It’s an “arts for art’s sake”. Saab tried to keep the developing of powerful engines always for practical and not for marketing purposes.
    In the other hand, there could be some technical reasons, too. Pulling up the 2.8 V6 over 300 HP surely will increase the emission and fuel consumption and also could decrease the MTBF of the engine. It’s simply: more power=more wear, more costs.
    Furthermore, it sounds strange that Saab buyers don’t know about Hirsch, because in my country the Hirsch upgrade is the part of the official sales brochure and price list.

  31. Just an addition: I will be much more happy if Saab can produce RELIABLE cars with less than 300 HP, than 320 HP car wich needs much more repair because of the overload.
    Just remember the timing chain problem in the B204x/B205x engines, the DI problems, etc.

  32. To answer Jon’s question: I’ll be in the market for a new car in the next 18 months or less since that’s when my company car will be renewed. I’ll likely take the monthly stipend in lieu of the car, so I could buy anything. I’ll likely buy a 9-5, but the black turbo is certainly a consideration.

  33. With all due respect to the natural enthusiasm to see big numbers, there might be more to this than meets the eye. Or rather, less……

    All other things being equal, there is a lot to be said for looking closely at weight/set up without even touching the engine. I’ve just finished reading a story on the Carparo which is basically a just-legal racing car build by some guys who usually work for McLaren F1. The whole article was about how keeping weight down has huge implications for the horsepower requried and also the handling.

    Exhibit a: Porsche 911 GT3/RS. The top model in the line-up does not have more horsepower than the others – but it does have a lot less weight. Its engine is mapped differently, the exhaust is different, seats stiffer and steering/suspension set up as well. Performance through intelligence, not just brute horsepower.

    Exhibit B: Lotus. All the reliability issues aside, Lotus has always been about removing weight and focussing on handling. To me these sound like fairly Saab-like values.

    If the Black Turbo comes out loaded with carbon fibre and a trick susupension setup , it won’t need the horsepower. Whats more, it would be a very clever way to beat the more=more Catch 22 of power & weight.

  34. The ‘Black Turbo’ Started here on TrollhattanSaab. This is what happens when somebody gets the wrong end of the stick.
    Ever heard the saying careless talk sinks ships?
    This this is it. Saab didn’t start the spin TS did.
    But it looks like a few people are now blaming Saab for lying. Saab didn’t actually do anything hear. The said the the XWD will have 280hp. The person who leaked the ‘Black turbo’ to Swade, is the person you need to blame for misleading you. They got it wrong not Saab. The ‘Black Turbo’ is the 280hp XWD.. there is no other car. the two are the same.

  35. Sorry if I’m out of line or ignorant here but…

    I haven’t seen anything in any media even remotely official (or officially leaked) that a hi-po “Black Turbo” special edition is on the cards.

    With all due respect to Swade, any talk of a “Black Turbo” has really originated from this site. Power figures have been suggested and the 300+hp came up in discussion between Swade and a Troll. What is attempted in development and what comes out of durability testing are two different things. The Troll may have been optimistic that they could do it but I have seen several situations where proposed and actual figures have not lined up.

    I personally would love to see 300+hp in a special edition, but the way it all looks timing wise, it would seem that the launch of the “Black Turbo” will really be the launch of XWD. In which case the “Black Turbo” is a special package car to kick off the XWD, not a boosted car that comes in and kicks ass after the Aero XWD has already hit the ground.

    Everybody talks of slaying these BMW, Audi and Merc hero cars. For the price people will pay (and are willing to pay) for a “Black Turbo” I expect it will kick the ass of anything these three Germans make within remotely the same price bracket any many in the next one up.

  36. As usual PT always comes up with the valid factual points that bring all the wishes and emotions back to earth. Why don’t we all look back in history and review all previous special releases that Saab has brought. All of them have always had more performance grunt than any of the standard models. Weather it is power, suspension, interior etc etc. The Black Turbo has to have more than just body kits, wheels and trims. In any case as Mats stated, why don’t we all wait for the Hirsch, Maptune, BSRs etc etc to come out and give us all the additional KW and Nms. I will be certainly on the cue waiting to snap one of these examples and of course add the BSR upgrade. I’ll have an Audi like RS4 at the price of a 9-3 which may be even better !!!

  37. re the weight issue:

    over the weekend, i replaced my inside plastic doorhandles with the chrome ones. sure, the chrome weighs more, but they’re much more appealing, give the interior a bit more class and make it seem less “plasticky.” besides, it was a 3-minute job per door, once i got the hang of it. (i normally don’t care much about other brands, but i happened to be walking by a new benz the same day and noticed–you guessed it–chrome door handles. for some reason, that i can’t seem to articulate, i found that amusing. oh welll….)

    now, chrome door handles won’t kill the weight of a saab, but they serve as an example how different materials, perhaps the same ones used by the brands that anchor the premium segment, may not be the most practical when keeping down the weight of the vehicle, but can add to the enjoyment of the car by making it more interesting to look at, to touch, or to be around.

    if “gaining” more horsepower (or using it more efficiently) means reducing a saab’s weight, then i’m afraid everything will become plastic or carbon fibre, which is cost prohibitive, so we’re basically talking, plastic; and plastic is not what some would consider to be a “luxury” type of material.

    eggsngrit’s recent post reminds me of my old office car, an ’87 plymouth colt. (hey, it saved almost 300,000 miles of wear-n-tear on my saab.) it was full of plastic and, of course, was light as a feather, which was a curse and an incredibly scary and dangerous ride once the wind kicked up. i’ve never been “pushed around” by wind in my saab and i hope the brand will always have that type of quality.

  38. Yeah but we won’t let go do we ??? Regardless of workload every spare minute we get we head back to this site. It’s part of our lives isn’t it ???

  39. I agree and disagree with you Kamakazie. It isn’t merely getting carried away. We all want to see Saab actually grow some nuts and actually compete with the big guys; or, alternately, take a genuine independent approach like lighter and greener for just as good performance. Right now, they’re not competing and they’re not showing vigorous independence.

    Dang it Saab, either take “Born from Jets” seriously and add boost or “Find your own road” but do something quick or it will be over soon!!

  40. Also had wanted to say that the Saab Aerospace JAS-39 Gripen is known for using composites in its skin and structure. If Saab auto really wants to play up the connection they should some out model lightened by using composites (ie carbon fiber). As Lotus founder Colin Chapman said, “add lighness”.

  41. Now, now…. a debate this fine article has turned into. I can see all the points made, except that Swade, or TSN, is to blame for any misconceptions.

    The hardest part of gaining intel on anything is validating it when it’s only on paper or has sources that can’t readily be confirmed. Swade has provided us with an amazing amount of intel before hand, and he is very good at filtering the bogus and semi-bogus material that other sources have trouble deciphering.
    I think Swade should be immune to the finger pointing game; he is not even remotely as bad as the self-proclaimed automotive experts that are used in the auto-press.

    WooDz:
    My chiefs and shipmates have always used the phrase “Loose lips sink ships,” which is very similar to the phrase you mentioned but remember this one for future reference:

    “Shooting your Intel only blinds you to future possibilities that you can’t see.”

  42. Kamikaze, the many auto buyers, (probably around 60%) don’t know what torque is…let alone how to spell it. Everything in the luxo world is determined by HP it seems nowadays. Now I’m not saying that saab needs to follow the pack on EVERYTHING, but honestly, for this new edition to the range, it should have been uprated HP. Explain to me, WHY would I honestly buy this pretty piece of sheetmetal for when I can get the SAME performance for THOUSANDS less, by going with the aero. A body kit? really? I swear, saab, you are so amazing, you think of everything.
    It wasn’t even a matter of the HP that threw me off the Richter, it was the fact that the Aero and the Turbo-X is vertually the same, minus the paint, leather and body kits i presume. If saab is trying to impress the public, they just DEPRESSED the public, and tried to sucker punch us into buying this Turbo-X just because of the body kit and leather. However, I can’t exactly jump all over saab JUST YET, until I get final word on pricing of this Turbo-X package itself. The more $$$ it cost from the aero, the worse. I can only see the press getting a hold of the Turbo-X now. They won’t be unimpressed, because of XWD, but they WILL be unimpressed, because the car is vertually undifferentiated from the Aero minus some body kits. so I say the Turbo-X should cost only $3,000 more than the Aero.

    Its funny that on my way home from work, I saw a sign on a church billboard that said “always go the extra mile, it is never crowded”. I kept thinking saab doesn’t have the HP to even REACH that extra mile. If Saab was serious about itself it could at LEAST build ONE, JUST ONE, model special edition to compete in the 300s. Not the whole lineup or anything. Think about Born from Jets.
    Saab, it is time to pull your thong from your nose and put it on.
    Adam, I agree with you about taking things lighter, and about plastics and CF and such. I just cant see how The 9-3 is getting lighter. It has XWD now for Gods sake. So the 30hp bump in the top model that we got has been lost in weight. so we are virtually back down to 250hp again. And don’t even get me started with Fuel economy. So the engine is being stressed either way Ivan.
    Oh and Ivan, Hirsch is not available everywhere, like, say, IN SAABS BIGGEST MARKET… the U.S.. So, buyers WON’t know about it straight offhand. And if people are REALLY interested in buying these upgrades, it should come from Trollhattan, and an option when buying. (aka standard hp from the factory). What is the problem with giving more HP from the get go. It is enticing, and it gets people in the showroom. even if they DONT buy it they will have OTHER options, like a detuned Aero or a 2.0T (which is an incredible 4cyl in its self).
    Last point. If people are wanting excellent fuel economy. This model would not have cut it anyway with the 280 hp. Think about it. 280hp, V6, AWD… I don’t think so. So what is the hurt in offering 300hp or even the 320hp? Not that any of this is saabs fault about the faulty info of the hp numbers and all, but even if we DID get the 280hp #’s the first time, the press would have still been unimpressed and called it mediocre at best. And I would have liked the car either way, but wouldn’t buy it. Because your really not gaining anything with it. I’m sure the Aero will have the special leather as an option, and you can get it in black. Not to mention you can always get a bumper kit if you are severely eager (like I was with my OG9-3) Just go about 20mph into a tree, and then back up fast into another tree, file an insurance claim, go to the body shop and persuade them to order the body kit bumpers, (and pay out of pocket for the spoiler and side skirts). Thats how I got my Viggen Kit…(despite my rate jumping 15%…but thats how bad i wanted them, and don’t regret it one bit until the insurance bill comes around each month).
    Saab (since 2006) has been giving these special edition models each MY. I’m sure they will do the same with the 10yr anniversary of the 9-5 in the U.S. in ’09. Quick Timeline:
    2006-20th anniversary 9-3 vert
    2007-60th anniversary of Saab
    2008-Turbo-X
    2009- 10yr anniversary of 9-5
    etc…
    This is getting old quick Saab. All they are trying to do is sell more cars in one of the most desperate ways ever. I know what they are going to make this Turbo-X into, the same thing they did with the 9-5 from 2006-current. Make it like the 9-5 Aero is now, a package. I think it is stupid, but whatever. NOTHING…SPECIAL…

  43. Guys, Know we all want the same thing. i.e. Saab to be truly successfull but there is a double irony about it, To be truly sucessfull we are basically all suggesting “do like everyone else” with the, still unconfirmed in all aspects from Saab I might add, Black turbo we’re discussing. Sure HP is important to the general mass, but I stand by my point earlier. Torque is what’s always made a Saab and what the Turbo legacy is all about and the fact that we’re disbuting whether it should have 280hp or 320hp is kind of silly given everything is speculations created by ourselves. Sure, as pointed out Torque is indifferent to most people (who know rats ass about driving and cars) but is everyone who Saab needs to appeal to? Saab needs to appeal stronger than today to us purists and us who live and die with Saab, and also to the people out there who dare to differ from the norm and who actually understand that Torque more than Hp determines what’s fun to drive and own and gives charactor and as stated above the whole concept of a Black turbo sounds pretty appealing to me still, maybe not the regular car Jappo-or-BMW-know-nothing-about-car-regular-joe-who-owns-lots-of-money jackass gets, but I can really only comment on what I think will be appealing and to me 280hp or 320hp really means jackshit. Cannot wait to see a confirm with details, and see and testdrive the car. I think and believe that me as a Saaber will love it and if my Lexus IS250 and BMW3 neighbors still do not get it I really do not believe the difference between 280hp and 300 or 320hp will make ’em get it…… Saab is for good or for worse a more complex fabric and appeal……

  44. saab9x, Audi and Jaguar both made their flagship cars very light for their class by using aluminium so light weight has no bearing on quality or feel. Looked at the up coming Ferraris? BTW even Ferrari is looking at lower weight lower BHP.

    Also why did Volvo drop the S60? It did not change or improve their iamge one bit. It just gave the press free range to say the M3 was better

  45. TALODERIEL:
    I think I may of come accross wrong.
    I’m not blaming Swade. I’m pointing out that this has come about due to leaked info.
    I too have had the chance to speak with one of the designers and as I have mentioned above the 2.8 can be tuned to produce over 500hp. But in its current setup it’s difficult to push the envelope much further than 280hp without running into heat and air starvation problems.

    Swade does a great good here and Saab see his work as possitive too.

  46. Listen to WooDz words, I also mean something like this.
    As far as I heard the first generation 9-3 2.8V6 Aeros are suffering some overheating problems even with 250 HP engine…
    Saab scertainly have a good reason why they don’t pull it above 300…

  47. “Also why did Volvo drop the S60?”

    honestly, i don’t know much about volvo, but wikipedia seems to think the s60’s coming back:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Volvo_S60

    __

    “… light weight has no bearing on quality or feel. Looked at the up coming Ferraris? BTW even Ferrari is looking at lower weight lower BHP.”

    certainly, though, it’ll be more than 280bhp. anything close to that number will make ferrari a laughingstock.

  48. WRT Volvo’s S60 – I think the comment was about the S60R ( & V70R) which were the AWD, high output turbo flagships. Although they looked great and sounded good on paper, they seemed to attract criticism for a harsh ride ( 18″s…..) and lack of finessse in the drivetrain. I personally considered one more than once but the price was the real killer. Almost a $40K premium over the std model was pretty steep.

    And although Volvo had a good rep for safety, ingenuity, turbos, family-friendliness, they just didn’t seem to need the R series. Sound familiar.

    And now you can say, Volvo has no R’s.

    Say it again slowly……….

  49. saab9x , well done, you completely miss the point. Supercar builders are working towards lighter cars with better performance, not adding weight and requiring ever more power.
    Also, why would a 280bhp Ferrari be a laughing stock if they made one?
    As for the S60, well if its on wikipedia it must be true.

  50. Understandable, WooDz, I think I was more presumptions on my post…. I’m apologize for my quick annotation.

    Do you have any links on the over-heating issue? I’m looking to buy an Aero soon and am highly interested in finding out any problems I can while I scrap the money up. Being a college student and a reservist doesn’t leave alot of free money around 😛

  51. Talonderiel,
    When I took a test ride with the 9-3 Aero 2.8V6 the mechanic of the local Saab headquarter (who accompanied me on the passanger seat) mentioned that the cooling system seems inadequate, however, I don’t have any precise and detailed informations about this issue.

  52. Ivan (MuzX), do you think it is something that is easily offset by a more sporty radiator/fan set-up? If so, I would wonder how hard it is to get that put in without voiding the warranty?

  53. Talonderiel:

    If there is the possibility of getting a full Hirsch-Performance upgrade then this will not cause any warranty issues.

    From what I can understand after my brief conversations with a variety of Saab engineers. It would be a wish to get the car to 300hp, and it may possibly end up being that or maybe 295hp. It just depends on what can safely be achieved without running into starvation issues. The car as it stands at 280hp is in perfect harmony. It is fast and agile and above all else Safe. The engine was developed for the road not a race track however; I get the impression that with a few modifications the magic figure can be achieved. From what I can see though, Money spent doing this could jepodise funding for say XWD on the Diesel or even adding it to the convertible.

    Maybe Swade could get some info from JD racing to explain a bit more indepth on the modifications required to get more power out of this engine?

  54. From WooDz
    «The car as it stands at 280hp is in perfect harmony. It is fast and agile and above all else Safe.» This is a very important point. Notwithstanding Swades love for his Viggen, that particular model, as sold by Saab, without the «rescue kits» that had to be devised by outside suppliers to keep what was probably the most dangerous FWD car ever produced on the road, was probably the biggest single setback to Saab’s reputation. Odf course, it only achieved very marginal sales and helped garnish TWR racing coffers instesd of developping the then, badly needed new 9-3. Something to think about eh?

  55. Thanx for all the info WooDz and Ivan (MuzX)… The more I know, the better! I’ll definitely do some research.

    My background is mainly in American muscle and naturally aspirated muscle tuning for the quarter-mile dragstrip. So this is going to be a new venture for me into the world of forced induction. I plan on it being a daily driver and have very few mods (unless warranty approved and funds available).

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