The All New Saab 9-3 Sport Saloon | Part Two
The new 9-3 is the product of the most exhaustive development program in chassis dynamics undertaken by Saab. The handling of the car, its sensitivity to driver inputs and a high degree of feedback all combine to deliver a level of driving involvement and pleasure that challenges the class benchmark. The main highlights include:
‘ReAxs’ passive rear wheel steer characteristic. The kinetics of the rear suspension are tuned for a unique rear wheel steer response for optimum handling and stability Four-link independent rear suspension. High lateral stiffness for stability and grip; longitudinal compliance for ride comfort Low mounted steering rack gives excellent feel and precision with progressive power assistance and fast responses. Front suspension is by McPherson struts with lower control arms mounted on a hydroformed (hollow), rubber-isolated sub-frame. High lateral bushing stiffness for good steering response and precision; high longitudinal compliance for ride comfort. Advanced chassis electronic systems. Saab-tuned ‘user friendly’ ESP (Electronic Stability Program). Mechanical brake assist, EBD (Electronic Brake force Distribution), CBC (Cornering Brake Control) and TCS (Traction Control System)all standard features. Optimized braking power. Front and rear brake discs in three and two sizes respectively, depending on specification. Minimized unsprung weight for better ride quality. Hub carriers and toe and lower rear suspension links in aluminium Anti-roll bars in hollow section steel. ‘Shear’ bushing at top of rear shock absorber mountings for compliant ride quality and effective vibration suppression.
Saab is a center of expertise within General Motors for the development of turbocharged petrol engines and the new powertrain adds enhanced refinement and driveability to Saab’s traditional strengths of high torque for strong, mid-range pulling power. It also delivers a level of sporty performance in keeping with the chassis’s dynamics, further reinforcing the new car’s driver focus. The main highlights include:
New all-aluminium 2.0-litre turbo engine. Saab developed
and tuned for 150 bhp/110
kW (badged 1.8t), 175 bhp/129 kW (badged 2.0t) and 210 bhp/147
kW (badged 2.0T) with high torque for swift overtaking. All internal
components unique to Saab. Balancer shafts and dual-mass flywheel for greater running
Sophisticated powertrain performance. Highly sensitive and
precise throttle control, adaptive torque delivery and smooth power on/power off characteristics
from new Trionic 8 engine management, latest version of Saab’s
own 32-bit in-house system.
More transmission choice. Uprated five-speed and all-new
six-speed Saab manual gearboxes. Five-speed, adaptive automatic transmission with
Saab Sentronic manual gear selection and optional steering wheel controls.
Unique ‘pendulum’ engine mounting. Engine noise
and vibration is reduced by installation of rods at the base of the engine for optimal
In addition to its driver-focused chassis dynamics and powertrain performance, the new 9-3 is also designed to adapt to a wide range of driver needs, establishing a close interaction with its owner. Main highlights include:
‘Profiler’ customisation A wide range of functions
can be pre-set according to personal preference including: anti-theft alarm, parking assistance,
rain sensitive wipers and automatic climate control.
Advanced electronics. Most extensive automotive systems
use of fiber optics. With a signal capacity 50 times greater than conventional wire
circuitry, fiber optics provide a high speed platform for advanced in-car ‘infotainment’.
Dual zone air conditioning with automatic balance control.
Senses changes in sunlight or shade outside the car and automatically adjusts airflow to keep interior temperature constant.
Satellite Navigation. Designed by Saab with tailor-made software, including voice instruction, location and route storage and dynamic route guidance, avoiding traffic
jams, for example.
Integrated Bluetooth™* application. Bluetooth wireless technology enables shortrange communication between devices such as telephones, PDAs (Personal
Digital Assistants) and computers. The new 9-3 supports hands-free
voice control and calling via a Bluetooth headset, as well as wireless dial-up
networking functionality using a Bluetooth PDA or laptop.
* Bluetooth is a trademark owned by Bluetooth SIG, Inc. and
used by Saab Automobile
AB under license
Three specification levels. ‘Linear’ includes understated interior with fabric upholstery and anthracite trim. ‘Arc’ adds 16-inch alloy wheels and ruched leather interior with poplar wood trim. ‘Vector’ has 17-inch alloy wheels and a sports leather/fabric interior with matt chrome trim. The ‘Aero’ variant is the performance flagship of the range with lowered, sports tuned chassis and bodystyling, available only with the 210 bhp engine. Additional load-carrying potential. A standard 60/40 split fold rear seat with ski hatch allows occasional extra cargo to be effortlessly carried. Lower running costs. Longer service intervals and reduced workshop times minimize inconvenience for the owner and reduce scheduled servicing costs by 30per cent, compared to previous model. On-board algorithm adapts oil change cycle to how car is used. Host of comfort features. Designed to make living with the new 9-3 as convenient as possible, these include: door mirrors that automatically reposition after being folded; a remote window and sunroof operation and ‘halo’ perimeter lighting at night.
Built Around the Driver
In common with all Saab cars, the new 9-3 is built from ‘the driver outwards’. That means the cabin ergonomics, the instrumentation, the controls and the seating position are all developed from the driver’s perspective. Its safety functions are, of course, shared by all who use the car. Main highlights include:
Cockpit feel. The main instrument panel arcs around the
driver. Logical layout and tactile feel to controls. Steering wheel adjusts for both
rake and reach. Green instrument illumination and Night Panel function for restful
High position display. Saab Information Display (SID) located
on top of the fascia near the base of the windscreen, close the driver’s
natural field of vision. Screen shows satellite navigation directions, as well as radio settings
Structural strength. With a torsional rigidity of 22,000 Nm/degree of deflection, the bodyshell is more than twice as stiff as its predecessor’s.
This contributes to outstanding ride and refinement, handling and safety properties.
Designed for Real-life Safety. 75 crash configurations carried
out during development, utilizing Saab’s 6,000-strong database
of real-life road accidents. Tests include truck-to-car side impacts, car-to-car frontal impacts
with a closing speed of120 kph and replica moose impacts.
Second generation Saab Active Head Restraints (SAHR). Pioneered
by Saab, these help prevent neck injury for front seat occupants in rear-end
impacts. Now improved for even quicker action.
Integrated safety features. Seat belt pre-tensioning and
load limiting for all outer seating positions, combined with dual-stage front airbags,
seat-mounted side airbags
and side roof rail airbags.
Announcing the arrival of the new model, Peter Augustsson, Saab Automobile’s President and CEO, said: “ This car offers a level of driver involvement and responsive performance never seen before from Saab. The integration of a fine-handling chassis with the new, refined powertrain delivers a true ‘fun-to-drive’ package. “It is a formula designed to appeal to young, premium car buyers who place a priority on a rewarding driving experience but who also want to express their individuality through choosing a distinctive, less commonplace brand.”
Published 27 October 2002
The information contained this Saab news article may have changed since publication on the 27 October 2002. Our car specifications, reviews, and prices may only apply to the UK market. You may wish to check with the manufacturer or your local Saab dealer, before making a purchasing decision. E.&.O.E. You may NOT reproduce our car news in full or part, in any format without our written permission. carpages.co.uk © 2017