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 flex-fuel engines.
The distinctive frontal styling, inspired by Saab’s award-winning Aero X concept car, is designed to reinforce the range’s sporty appeal. Its engine line-up will ultimately include an innovative 180 hp (132 kW), twin-turbo 1.9 diesel, an uprated 280 hp (206 kW), 2.8V6 turbo petrol engine and an additional 175 hp 2.0t Saab BioPower option, delivering 200 hp (147 kW) when running on bioethanol E85 fuel.
The state-of-the-art all-wheel drive system (Saab XWD – ‘cross wheel drive’) is exclusive to Saab 9-3 Aero Sport Saloon and SportWagon models. Saab XWD is a fully automatic, on-demand system capable of sending up to 100 per cent of engine torque to the front or rear wheels whenever necessary. It features innovative developments in wheel slip management and the use of an electronically-controlled rear limited-slip differential, designed to optimise handling and stability in all driving conditions.
The system is governed by its own electronic control unit, which functions in harness with the engine, transmission and ABS/ESP control modules. The hardware consists of a Power Take-off Unit (PTU) in the front final-drive that transmits engine torque through a prop-shaft to the Rear Drive Module (RDM). This incorporates a Torque Transfer Device (TTD) and an optional electronically-controlled Limited Slip Differential (eLSD). Both are wet, multi-plate clutch units from Haldex.
The ultimate ‘icing on the cake’ with Saab XWD is the eLSD option. This is the first application of an electronically-controlled, rear limited slip differential in this segment of the market. The eLSD is installed alongside the RDM and operates via pressurised clutch plates on a principle similar to the larger TTD. In icy or wet split-friction conditions, for example, it uses inputs from the rear wheel speed sensors and can transfer up to 40 per cent of torque between the drive shafts, to whichever wheel has more grip.
Saab XWD will be available to order a few months after launch of the new 9-3 range this September.
The new 9-3 range features a powerful new four cylinder diesel engine with a unique twin turbocharging system, giving class-leading levels of efficiency. The 1.9-litre, 16-valve engine, badged TTiD, produces 180 hp (132 kW) and 400 Nm of maximum torque, specific power outputs that are unmatched among competitor products on the market. With combined fuel consumption of 47.9 mpg projected for the Sport Saloon, this engine also offers class-leading economy, together with in-gear performance on a par with the 2.8V6 turbo petrol engine.
The Saab 1.9 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 1.9 TTiD engine is available in Aero specification, as well as Vector Sport. It is offered in all three bodystyles, in addition to the current 120 (88 kW) and 150 hp (110 kW) 1.9 TiD engines, with a choice of six-speed manual or automatic transmissions.
The 1.9 TTiD will be available to order a few months after launch of the new 9-3 range this September.
As of model year 2008 (MY08), the Saab range will be offered with a simplified but comprehensive set of trim levels, comprising Airflow, Linear SE, Vector Sport and Aero.