Australia – here’s your new Saab 9-3

The following is the press material for the new Saab 9-3 lineup for 2008.

I went to Melbourne and drove the new vehicles last week and will be providing my own writeup of the experience in the next day or so. Until then, here’s the facts from the company:

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Responsible, dynamic performance: New Saab 9-3 range debuts in Australia

The new Saab 9-3 range features bold, more assertive looks, reflecting a series of powertrain improvements that include the introduction of all-wheel-drive and more powerful diesel, petrol and BioPower (E85) engines.

The introduction of distinctive new frontal styling for the 9-3 Sport Sedan, SportCombi and iconic Convertible, inspired by Saab’s award-winning Aero X concept car, is designed to reinforce the range’s sporty appeal and performance focus.

The new 9-3 range heralds the introduction of a ‘tri-fuel’ engine line-up that now includes:

    an innovative 132kW, two-stage 1.9 litre performance turbo diesel model due to arrive in Australia in January,

    Saab’s new 206kW, 2.8V6 performance all-wheel drive model, the limited edition Turbo X, landing in Australia by June next year, and

    a new 147kW 2.0t Saab 9-3 BioPower option which is also being considered for Australia.

The advanced all-wheel-drive system (Saab XWD – ‘cross wheel drive’) is exclusive to the Turbo X Limited Edition (see separate release) and 9-3 Aero Sport Sedan and SportCombi models. It features innovative developments in wheel slip management and the use of an electronically-controlled rear limited-slip differential.

The new 1.9-litre two-stage turbo diesel, called TTiD, offers class-leading efficiency and is the first diesel engine in the premium segment to use an integrated two-stage turbocharging system.

New model line-up

Saab Australia is also introducing a change to the levels of specification within the 9-3 range. Previously levels of trim and luxury appointments on Saab vehicles stepped up for each model including Linear, Vector and Aero in line with an increase in performance.

For the new model year, customers will now be able to match the levels of comfort and luxury specification with the engine combination of their choice. (Model list included below.)

Progressive design

The new 9-3 range is visually distinguished by all-new bodywork forward of the A-pillar, with new bumper mouldings and light assemblies front and rear, as well as new doors and handles for the Sport Sedan and SportCombi. Flared side sill extensions become standard across the range. All these elements combine to give the car a clearer Saab identity and a bolder, more assertive stance. For the Sport Sedan, for example, 70 per cent of the external body panels and parts are all-new.

The styling strategy brings together contemporary and classic Saab design themes in a progressive, modern expression of the brand’s distinctive character.

The deeper, more prominent evolution of the Saab grille adopts a theme first seen on the Aero X concept car. This is complemented by all-new headlamp lenses and light units that now incorporate a thin ‘eyebrow’ lighting zone designed as a brand specific ‘signature’ feature. These wraparound units culminate in an upswept rear edge, introducing a Saab design theme from the 9-5 range and classic 900 model. The grille’s central wing motif, referencing Saab’s aircraft heritage, is, of course, retained.

The new look sees the adoption of another Saab signature feature: a ‘clamshell’ hood, closing across the top of the front wings. The hood pressing incorporates a sweeping, U-shaped styling line, as first seen on the Aero X, which echoes the curvature of the windshield.

The swept-back frontal lines are complemented by a front bumper and splitter assembly with a deep, trapezoidal air intake, even more pronounced on Aero versions. This is flanked by deep black vents which are framed, like the grille, in a matte chrome finish. As with the Aero X concept, these represent a metaphor for the intakes of a jet engine.

At the rear, the Sport Sedan and Convertible now feature smoked white light clusters. The new bumper mouldings are much deeper with curved, uninterrupted surfaces. The trunk lids of the Sport Sedan and Convertible are also altered to accommodate a new matte chrome life handle trim with an integrated badge, similar that on the SportCombi.

The removal of all external rubbing strips from bumpers and doors (colour-keyed on the Convertible) contributes to a cleaner and more cohesive overall appearance. New door panels now adopt a simple, uncluttered form with redesigned and colour-keyed handles. The sill extensions are visually integrated front and rear with the scalloped corners of the new bumper mouldings.

Other external enhancements include the introduction of flat wiper blades, for reduced wind noise, and new alloy wheels, with an 18-inch design now offered as an option on all variants. Two new colours are added to the range, including a Snow Silver metallic paint finish similar to that seen on the Aero X.

Responsible performance – new 1.9 TTiD engine

The new 9-3 range adds another diesel model to the line-up, a powerful new four cylinder diesel engine with a unique two-stage turbocharging system, a world ‘first’ in the premium car segment, giving class-leading levels of efficiency.

The 1.9-litre, 16-valve engine, badged TTiD, produces 132 kW and 400Nm (manual only) of maximum torque, specific power outputs that are unmatched among competitor products on the market. With combined fuel consumption of 5.9 l/100km projected for the Sport Sedan, this engine also offers class-leading economy, together with in-gear performance on a par with the 2.8V6 turbo petrol engine.

The two-stage turbocharger housing is integrated with the exhaust manifold and contains two turbochargers of different sizes. The pair of turbine/compressor wheels are sequentially mounted and each is able to by-pass the input and output feeds of the other, while also being able to operate in tandem.

This arrangement provides a driver with ‘the best of both worlds’: good, instant torque at low engine speeds – via the low-inertia small turbo when the exhaust pressure is light – and strong ‘top end’ power at higher revolutions, when the bigger turbo is engaged.

Saab’s two-stage turbocharging uses a system of by-pass valves that directs the exhaust gas stream between the two turbine wheels and also separates the air intake charge from the compressors. From tick-over to 1,500rpm the exhaust feeds only the small turbo. Between 1,500 and 3,000rpm the flow is split between both turbines, giving stronger boost and ensuring a smooth transition phase to full power operation, above 3,000rpm, when only the larger turbo is engaged.

The compact design provides more efficient packaging than systems using two separate turbochargers linked together externally in series. It ensures that the complex control and regulation of gas flows on both the exhaust turbine and intake compressor sides is achieved with a minimal number of seals and connections.

The TTiD engine is a substantial development of the current 16-valve 1.9TiD unit, using common rail, direct and multiple fuel injection. It operates with a maximum boost pressure of 1.8 bar (1.4 bar for the current engine) together with a slightly lower compression ratio of 16.5: 1 (17.5:1). The cast-iron block, alloy cylinder head and all internal components are strengthened as necessary to withstand the higher thermal pressures.

The exhaust gas re-circulation (EGR) system is characterized by extremely efficient cooling and now includes an electronically controlled by-pass for improved emissions. This feature, together with the fitment of a maintenance-free exhaust particulate filter, is expected to ensure compliance with more stringent future Euro 5 emissions standards.

Other technical enhancements include the adoption of a larger air-to-air intercooler, for better cooling of the intake charge; the introduction of more efficient pre-heating elements inside the cylinder head, for faster starting in cold conditions; and the use of a weight saving plastic intake manifold.

The Saab TTiD engine meets a growing demand from drivers unwilling to sacrifice performance in the interests of fuel economy. With power characteristics typical of a much larger engine, it is an example of Saab’s commitment to ‘right-sizing’, the achievement of ‘big’ engine performance without the usual drawbacks, such as extra weight, bulk and higher fuel consumption.

In recognition of its outstanding performance, the Saab TTiD engine is available only in Aero specification. It is offered in all three body-styles, in addition to the current 110 kW 1.9 TiD engines, with a choice of six-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmissions.

New 2.0t BioPower

Saab leads Europe’s emerging flex-fuel segment with its unique BioPower concept. This combines turbocharging with the use of E85 fuel to deliver increased engine power and performance, as well as greatly reduced fossil CO2 emissions. The new Saab 9-3 range now features the introduction of a more powerful BioPower engine, in addition to the current option.

Running on E85 fuel (85% bioethanol/15% petrol), the new 9-3 BioPower 2.0t engine delivers 14 per cent more maximum power (147kW vs 129kW) and 13 per cent more torque (300Nm vs 265Nm). In the Sport Sedan, this gives projected zero to 100 kph acceleration in 7.9 sec and 80 to 120 kph in fifth gear in 10.0 sec, compared to 8.5 sec and 11.1 sec, respectively, on petrol.

Saab 9-3 BioPower is not initially available in Australia, but is being considered for the market following the introduction of the Saab 9-5 BioPower for sale in this market.

Sporty driver focus – XWD

The active, all-wheel-drive system (Saab XWD) is designed to optimise handling and stability in all driving conditions. It is fitted as standard on the Turbo X Limited Edition and offered on Aero versions of the 9-3 Sport Sedan and SportCombi, in combination with an up-rated 206kW, 2.8V6 turbo engine. This delivers almost 15 per cent more maximum torque to 400Nm to exploit the greater traction available. It comes with a choice of six-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmission.

Optional cornering bi-xenon headlights provide improved vision. The steering-linked bulbs can swivel up to 15 degrees when negotiating a bend or corner above 15kph. In highway driving above 110kph, the low beam is also automatically raised slightly for improved illumination. (Full details in separate release)

More powerful 2.8V6 Turbo

For the new 9-3 Aero XWD models and the Turbo X Limited Edition, the current 2.8-litre, 24-valve V6 Turbo engine is up-rated to 206 kW and 400 Nm maximum torque. This has been achieved to by increasing available boost pressure from 0.5 to 0.8 bar.

The advanced specification includes: a lightweight, all-aluminium construction; variable inlet valve timing; a twin-scroll turbocharger and hydroformed exhaust manifolds with stainless steel liners and air injection for improved cold starting.

The two-wheel drive Aero model will also offers an additional 4kW, taking maximum power to 188 kW.

Other enhancements include the introduction of tyre pressure monitoring and Bose Centerpoint Surround Sound audio. The Bose system is available as an option on all Sport Sedan and SportCombi variants, this offers exceptional reproduction quality through five channels from CD, MP3 or XM digital radio sources. Surround sound quality is automatically provided even if a CD is not encoded for it. With 11 (Sedan) or 10 (Combi) speakers, performance is optimised for the acoustic requirements of each passenger cabin.

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Pricing and quick spec – First price is for manual and then second for automatic.

9-3 Sport Sedan

Linear 2.0t
129kW/265Nm
$43,400
$45,900

Linear 1.9TiD
110kW/320Nm
$45,900
$48,400

Vector 2.0t
129kW/265Nm
$49,900
$52,400

Vector 1.9TiD
110kW/320Nm
$52,400
$54,900

Vector 2.0T
154kW/300Nm
$53,400
$55,900

Aero 1.9TTiD
132kW/400Nm
TBA

Aero 2.8TS
188kW/350Nm
$70,600
$73,100

Turbo X
206kW/400Nm
TBA

9-3 SportCombi

Linear 2.0t
129kW/265Nm
$45,900
$48,400

Linear 1.9TiD
110kW/320Nm
$48,400
$50,900

Vector 2.0t
129kW/265Nm
$52,400
$54,900

Vector 1.9TiD
110kW/320Nm
$54,900
$57,400

Vector 2.0T
154kW/300Nm
$55,900
$58,400

Aero 1.9TTiD
132kW/400Nm
TBA

Aero 2.8TS
188kW/350Nm
$73,100
$75,600

Turbo X
206kW/400Nm
TBA

9-3 Convertible

Linear 2.0t
129kW/265Nm
$65,500
$68,000

Linear 1.9TiD
110kW/320Nm
$68,000
$70,500

Vector 2.0t
129kW/265Nm
$69,600
$72,100

Vector 1.9TiD
110kW/320Nm
$72,100
$74,600

Vector 2.0T
154kW/300Nm
$73,100
$75,600

Aero 1.9TTiD
132kW/400Nm
TBA

Aero 2.8TS
188kW/350Nm
$90,800
$93,300

Metallic paint is a $1,300 option on all models.

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4 Comments

  1. I notice that there is no mention of the ‘Sport’ trim level in the pcing quoted? Previously, this ‘Sport’ trim was placed between the ‘Linear’ and the ‘Vector’ and scored such enhancements as 17″ alloys, leather, etc etc. Is this trim level being continued in the new model? Also, when is Saab australia intending to update it’s wensite. I logged on shortly after the ‘launch’ and was amazed to see that they didn’t have the new model featured or enable you to build-your-own etc. Surely we should have expected this website to have been updated to coincide with the Australian release. Disappointing! Doeas anyone know ehen we will get to view the full spec on the new model lineup (either on line or in brochures?) Again, i would have expected deealers to be armed with new brochures to coincide with the launch and to satisfy the publicity that such an event should generate?

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