Archive for January, 2002

Perfect partners

Posted on 21. Jan, 2002 by .

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2002-01-21

Perfect partners

The words ‘Saab’ and ‘Turbo’ are inseparable, like two sides of the same coin. For 25 years Saab has led the world in the art of turbocharging and that exciting turbo thrust is the motive power behind the sporty and dynamic appeal of the Saab brand.

The expression ‘turbocharged’ is commonly used to describe an outstanding performance or a display of great power. It is a term that has escaped from automotive technical manuals to become a colorful adjective. The meaning is clear to most, even without technical knowledge. But without Saab it is doubtful if a description such as ‘turbocharged performance’ would have meant anything outside automotive circles. Saab put ‘turbo’ on the map.

Before Saab’s arrival, turbocharging was almost exclusively confined to racing cars and diesel engines in heavy duty trucks and buses. As for road cars, it was strictly the preserve of a few ‘exotic’ and limited-production ‘specials’. The technology was too crude and the rush of power too sudden to meet the demands of everyday driving. It was Saab who would lead the world in effectively refining the turbo.

Something for nothing!
Put simply, turbocharging is a way of extracting more power from an engine by using its exhaust gases to drive a compressor wheel which then forces a great deal more air into the engine than it could normally suck in on its own. The compressed air ‘charge’ provides more combustion, more energy, and ultimately, more power.

Unlike a larger, multi-cylinder engine of similar performance, a small turbocharged unit only delivers that extra power when it is needed. Under a light throttle, it is ‘off-boost’ and gives the same fuel economy as a ‘normal’ engine of the same size.

The process is particularly elegant because a turbocharger harnesses waste energy to drive its compressor – it is almost like getting something for nothing! Why not use the forces that are already there, rather than let them disappear down an exhaust pipe?

Put another way, all engines have a fuel pump, a water pump and an oil pump – so why not an air pump, too! Indeed, Saab engineers think it’s strange that an engine is not turbocharged.

Turbo Innovator
When the first Saab 99 Turbo was shown at the 1977 Frankfurt Motor Show and then driven soon afterwards, its arrival was hailed as the beginning of a new motoring era.

An exhilarating, new kind of performance was brought before a mass audience for the first time. Journalists driving the first turbo test cars raved about the rush of acceleration, the hard push in the back of the seat and the thrill of being swept along by an unstoppable force. Saab turbos effortlessly ‘flattened’ hills, shrinking trip times and displaying a turn of speed seen only from so-called ‘supercars’. Most of all, Saab brought a smile to the faces of enthusiastic drivers around the world.

The image of a black, three-door Saab with those inimitable ‘Inca’ alloy wheels (shaped like that to mimic turbine blades) was to become a visual icon of its time.

Imitation is said to be the greatest form of flattery. In Saab’s case that’s certainly true. Within five years of the sale of the first turbo-powered Saabs, the number of turbo models from other manufacturers rocketed from a mere handful to more than 60. Saab had made the turbo desirable. Suddenly everybody had to have one, and manufacturers raced to get a ‘hot turbo’ in their range.

Turbocharging was the power behind Saab’s great sales success in the 1980’s, catapulting the Swedish manufacturer into the automotive fast lane. Suddenly everybody knew about Saab. Its products began to move upmarket, appealing increasingly to buyers of premium quality, sporty cars who want to better express their individuality.

Totally turbo
Saab is unique among the world’s major motor manufacturers in applying turbocharging to its entire model range. While exhilaration, excitement and a fun-to-drive experience are the obvious benefits, the modern turbo really does have something for everyone.

That typical ‘tidal wave’ of power and searing acceleration has a vital safety benefit. It enables swift, decisive – and safe – overtaking. That extra power is easily accessible; to get a strong response the driver does not have to rev the engine hard or, in many cases, even change downshift.

It’s a smart solution, too. A turbo can easily match a much larger engine when power is required but at all other times it is, of course, a smaller, lighter, quieter, more efficient and more economical powerplant.

It is also a very reliable package. Saab has developed the technology to such a high level that experience shows the turbocharger to be just as reliable as any other engine component, such as an alternator, clutch or gearbox.

To deliver the kind of all-round performance Saab now expects, the engine management system under the hood of its cars is among the most powerful in commercial production. It can carry out more than two million calculations per second. That’s more processing power than the computers that put men on the moon. And it’s why Saab, unusual for such a relatively small manufacturer, prefers to develop and produce its own system in-house, instead of relying on outside suppliers.

Brand builder
Turbocharging is an integral part of Saab’s sporty tradition which goes right to the heart of the brand’s appeal. It symbolizes performance with responsibility: offering greater overtaking safety as well as extracting more energy from a given amount of fuel.

The turbo is also a clear demonstration of Saab’s ‘less is more’ philosophy. Saab customers are not interested in mere ostentation or ‘conspicuous consumption’ without a real purpose. Just as Saab’s ‘form must follow function’ design ethic echoes the minimalist flavor of Scandinavian design, the turbo is an engineering expression of the same approach.

Ultimately, Saab turbocharging is about enhanced performance. That unrivalled turn of speed is as exciting as it is reassuring. For Saab, the turbo puts pleasure into motoring and is one very good reason why Saab drivers should always look forward to getting behind the wheel.

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A Scandinavian success story

Posted on 21. Jan, 2002 by .

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Photo Credits: Saab Automobile

2002-01-21

A Scandinavian success story

The sleek Convertible from Saab has come to symbolize the essence of the Saab brand: it is sporty and fun to drive yet also has a multi-dynamic quality, through its year-round, all-weather abilities and useful practicality.

Saab’s 9-3 Convertible currently dominates the premium soft-top sector in Europe, accounting on average for more than 30 percent of sales. In Sweden, Holland, and the United Kingdom, this figure is over 50 percent. It is an extraordinary success story, considering that Saab accounts for just six percent of sales in the premium sector as whole. As the company celebrates 15 years of convertible production, no other manufacturer can claim such success in producing a soft-top model.

Secrets of success

It’s true to say that many people who are not even motoring enthusiasts will often nominate ‘the Saab Convertible’ when asked to name their ‘dream car’. The frequent choice of celebrities and business high-flyers, the Saab Convertible is clearly an aspirational choice for many. But what is its great attraction?

Image clearly has a lot to do with it. Apart from having an enviable reputation for quality and durability, the Saab brand enjoys an air of exclusivity because Saab products are certainly not the ‘orthodox’ or commonplace choice in the premium sector of the market. For many, Saab is also something of a ‘Scandinavian’ icon, a symbol of independence and free thinking which also brings some excitement to that sense of traditional Scandinavian ‘cool’.

Looks are important, too. And right from its first public showing almost 20 years ago, the Convertible has always drawn admiring glances. It appears to be a unique, ‘bespoke’ design not derived at all from an existing, fixed-head model. The clean lines are flowing and graceful and – even more importantly – the Saab Convertible has always looked just as good with its roof up as down.

As it’s a Saab, all versions of the Convertible are, of course, turbocharged to deliver sporty performance and driving appeal that parallel its sleek looks.

Car for all seasons
There are, of course, a number of more mundane, but no less important, reasons for the Saab Convertible’s success. First and foremost, there are its all-weather abilities. The Convertible has always been marketed as ‘a car for all seasons’, not so surprising when you consider that in most major markets it is used more often with the roof up than down.

As you would expect from a car built to withstand severe Scandinavian winters, the top is extremely tough and snug fitting. Constructed in three layers, it is well insulated, totally weatherproof and very durable.

An automatic hood, together with leather upholstery, has always been part of the generous standard specification. The roof is now hydraulically-operated from the driver’s seat and stows neatly away in the boot.

And, unlike many competitors, the top has always been fitted with a heated glass rear screen. Not a plastic substitute which may crack easily or become permanently fogged.

Customers have also come to appreciate the widely acknowledged power and efficiency of the Saab heating systems. Even on a cold day, Convertible drivers and passengers can still enjoy the pleasures of open-top motoring thanks to a comforting, warm blast of air from the powerful heater.

Another strong attraction is the Saab Convertible’s ability to comfortably accommodate four adults, thanks to a roof installation that does not sacrifice too much rear seat space. For many owners it is an important reason why the Convertible is not simply a second car. It has the all-weather ability and the space to fulfil routine, everyday family duties.

Practicality is further enhanced by the large ski hatch in the rear seat-back and a very useable 378 litres of luggage space in the trunk, thanks to the flexible pocket which stores the top.

Where it all began
The first open-top car from Saab was shown in 1956. Back then, Saab car production was carried out by a division of the aircraft company and the chassis of the Saab Sonett 1 was unusually made from aviation specification, riveted aluminium panels. It was a lightweight, two-seater sports car powered by the ubiquitous Saab two-stroke engine and intended for circuit racing with the possibility of road-going versions to follow. However, only six were built because a sudden change in competition regulations put an end to the project. It would be another 30 years before Saab again produced a ‘topless’ model.

Raising the roof
The Saab Convertible we recognize today was first shown at the Frankfurt Motor Show in the autumn of 1983. Saab surprised the world by displaying a two-door Saab 900 concept with the roof removed and replaced by an electrically-powered top. It was a roomy, genuine convertible model and, not surprisingly, its unveiling raised the roof.

The enthusiastic response from press and public alike made a decision to take the car into product almost inevitable. Even then, Saab was cautious in committing resources to a car so very different from its mainstream production models.

A limited run of just 400 cars was eventually produced for the US market in 1986, at the Valmet Automotive plant in Uusikaupunki, Finland. Valmet are expert coach-builders and all Saab Convertibles have been produced there ever since.

Ironically, a car offering the pleasures of open-top motoring on warm, sunny days is actually built at one of the world’s most northerly car plants.

Converting the world

When the Convertible went on general sale in 1987, the order book was full before production had even started. Demand was so great and production capacity so limited, that a two year waiting list quickly built up. Facilities at the Valmet plant were then expanded to meet demand and the rest, as they say, is history.

The Saab Convertible has gone from strength to strength, with production and sales volumes more than doubling. In the first seven years (1987-93), almost 49,000 Saab 900 Convertibles were produced – 14 percent of all Saab 900 production – at an average of just 7,000 units per year.

An all-new ‘second generation’ Saab 900 model was launched in autumn 1993 and the eagerly-awaited soft-top version appeared the following year, to be succeeded by the current Saab 9-3 evolution in 1998. Sales have continued to accelerate and now total 124,000 units for 1994 – 2001, 23 percent of all 900/9-3 production and an average of more than 15,000 units a year.

Brand flag carrier

Over the years, the Saab 900/9-3 Convertible has been a prime mover in raising the profile of the Saab brand. It has enabled the Swedish manufacturer to reach new markets and market segments, spearheading Saab’s transition into a global player in the premium automotive sector.

Whilst the Saab Convertible has become a widely recognized ‘icon’ of automotive style, it also demonstrates that Saab products have practical, multi-dynamic qualities to match their sporty appeal. In this way, the Convertible plays an important role in helping to communicate the Saab brand. Its open-top dimension has also established an important Saab tradition that is carried on today through the Saab 9X concept car first shown at the Frankfurt Motor Show last year.

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The Saab 9-3X – Defining the Saab brand

Posted on 07. Jan, 2002 by .

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2002-01-07

The Saab 9-3X – Defining the Saab brand

Norcross, GA – The Saab 9-3X is the latest statement of Saab’s commitment to the development of innovative and distinctive new products.

The Saab brand will enter an exciting new segment of the automotive market – the cross-over – with its latest concept, the Saab 9-3X. The 9-3X builds on the sport multi-dynamic theme launched by the Saab 9X concept that debuted at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September 2001. It is a natural extension of the signature Saab sporty yet versatile range of products: turbocharged luxury 9-5 sedans, the award-winning “four-season” 9-3 Convertible, and the exciting 9-5 Aero SportWagon.

Saab customers lead demanding lifestyles that include a blending of careers, families, and free-time pursuits. They are confident individuals who seek to seamlessly balance these dimensions in their daily lives. Saab’s goal is to provide products that support these dynamic lifestyles – satisfying emotional wants and rational needs by delivering sporty, versatile cars. The Saab 9-3X is based on these values. It is an innovative and dynamic cross-over coupe that gives the driver the ability to pursue any path, either on or off-road.

“I would say this unique concept opens up a new mid-size, cross-over segment of the market,” said Saab Brand Director, Knut Simonsson. “An all-wheel-drive cross-over product from Saab must, naturally, be a little different. Here we have a sporty coupe concept that is multi-dynamic: it can be adapted for different uses. The 9-3X offers enhanced on-road stability for everyday driving, while also providing extra traction when needed for the occasional off-road experience, and, above all, it’s great fun to drive either way!”

The Saab “X” cars are the first visual evidence of how Saab’s Executive Director of Design, Michael Mauer, and its head of Advanced Design, Anthony Lo, see the brand developing. Both concepts are bold and distinctive, breaking new ground by challenging conventional design wisdom.

The Saab 9-3X, like the 9X, is a bold flag-bearer for the Saab brand. It sets the tone for future products and is a further step towards helping Saab achieve its commercial goals.

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Saab 9-3X On the move

Posted on 07. Jan, 2002 by .

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Photo Credits: Saab Automobile

Saab 9-3X – On the move

The Saab 9-3X is designed to deliver levels of performance and a ‘fun-to-drive’ experience that fulfil the promise of its sporty looks. The advanced powertrain features an all-new, lightweight 2.8-liter V6 turbo engine, designed to incorporate Saab Combustion Control, a semi-automatic transmission and a state-of-the-art, ‘intelligent’ four-wheel-drive system.

New-Generation Engine
The ‘Ecopower 2′ all-aluminum-alloy, 2.8-liter V6 engine is benchmarked to set new standards in efficiency, refinement, packaging and emissions control. Saab Automobile is GM’s global center of excellence for charged engines, and Saab engineers have been directly involved throughout the engine’s design and development program.

The slim, 60-degree configuration features double overhead camshafts, four valves per cylinder, direct ignition and variable valve timing. Maximum power is 280 bhp at 5,500 rpm but, in Saab tradition, torque is of more importance and is with this engine extremely generous, with almost 400 Nm available throughout the operating range from as low as 1,700 rpm.

The engine is very light and, in view of its compact dimensions, is ideally suited to a transverse installation. The single turbocharger is mounted on the transmission alongside the engine, feeding through the central intake manifolds. Engine highlights include:

Saab Combustion Control (SCC)
This revolutionary technology from Saab improves fuel consumption by up to 10 percent and reduces emissions by as much as 75 percent, all without impairing engine performance. Direct injection, variable valve timing and a variable spark gap are the key features, alongside a spark plug injector which provides air-assisted fuel injection and turbulence for better combustion, as well as a high-energy spark.

The SCC engine concept allows exhaust gases to comprise up to 70 percent of the combustion mixture, a far higher proportion than conventional exhaust-gas-recirculation systems. Carbon monoxide and hyrdocarbon emissions are reduced by almost 50 percent and nitrogen oxides by 75 percent. The Saab Ecopower 2 V6 is the first production engine designed to incorporate this technology.

Twin-scroll turbocharger
The turbine wheel is made from a titanium/aluminum alloy for lightness, durability and low inertia. ‘Twin scroll’ management of the exhaust-gas flow to the compressor speeds up airflow at low engine speeds to give an improved throttle response and engine pick up.

Oil quality sensor
This feature allows for extended change intervals, depending on how the engine is driven. If it is used relatively lightly, the driver can expect to cover up to double the usual 18,000 miles between oil changes.

Double-skinned exhaust manifolds
Both are made from hydroformed stainless steel for improved heat management and quicker ‘light off’ for the catalytic converters during engine warm-up.

New Saab Transmission
The Saab 9-3X is equipped with Saab’s newly developed semi-automatic transmission. This allows the driver to enjoy both the benefits of an adaptive, five-speed automatic transmission and the close control of manual gear shifting.

The automatic transmission adapts its gear-shifting pattern to match the style of driving or prevailing road conditions. It can sense changes in road gradient to avoid ‘hunting’ between gears and will engage neutral during an emergency stop.

At any time, the driver can override the automatic ‘drive’ program and enjoy fingertip control by manually changing gear via buttons on the 9-3X’s steering wheel.

Advanced Chassis and Four-Wheel-Drive System
To achieve its ‘fun to drive’ goal, the Saab 9-3X utilizes sophisticated chassis, suspension and drivetrain technology. The car’s performance, handling and ride quality in everyday use should not be compromised by its off-road capabilities.

Chassis and suspension
The four-link rear suspension has been adapted for four-wheel drive and incorporates a passive steer feature when cornering, allowing the rear wheels to more closely follow the path of the front wheels. This improves steering feel and helps to limit both oversteer and understeer characteristics. A bottom toe link also improves stability under heavy braking at high speed.

An Electronic Stability Program (ESP) further improves maneuverability, the Saab system being particularly ‘driver friendly’ by avoiding harsh interventions. In addition to wheel-speed sensors in the ABS system, the ESP also includes sensors to measure steering angle, yaw rate and lateral acceleration. Each wheel can be braked independently, allowing excessive oversteer or understeer to be controlled so smoothly that the driver may often be unaware of any intervention.

As a further refinement of the Saab 9-3X’s agility, Saab engineers are also developing an adaptive damper program for optimized body control according to off-road or on-road conditions.

‘Intelligent’ Four-Wheel Drive
The integrated Saab system is ‘intelligent’, using inputs from the ESP and ABS wheel sensors as well as the electronic throttle control to distribute power in the most efficient way. The system is being developed to ensure predictable and consistent handling in all road conditions, in addition to maximizing off-road traction.

Drive is taken from the front transmission via a propshaft to an electronically controlled, hydraulically operated, multi-plate clutch, which is located immediately ahead of a differential housing and driveshafts within the rear suspension unit. Messages from the various sensors are constantly interpreted in order to distribute power most effectively. In this way, the front/rear torque split is infinitely variable.

Saab engineers are currently fine-tuning the system to establish a ‘baseline’ torque split and to ensure that the clutch mechanism executes power shifts between the axles smoothly and progressively, without any sudden surprises for the driver.

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Saab 9-3X First cross-over coupe

Posted on 07. Jan, 2002 by .

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Photo Credits: Saab Automobile

2002-01-07

Saab 9-3X – First cross-over coupe

Saab concept blends off-road performance with strong on-road appeal

Norcross, GA – Saab breaks new ground by going “off-road” for the first time with the muscular Saab 9-3X. As you would expect from a design team led by Saab’s Executive Director of Design, Michael Mauer, it does so in a very sporty, distinctive style.

Saab customers are confident individuals who demand a vehicle that supports diverse and active lifestyles. The sporty multi-dynamic Saab 9-3X concept was built with a focus on the needs of this demanding customer group.

Just as Mauer’s previous concept, the multi-dimensional Saab 9X, combines characteristic features of a performance car, roadster, wagon and pick-up within a single vehicle, the 9-3X now brings together coupe and cross-over formats. It is further evidence of Mauer’s belief in the arrival of a new automotive order; one where vehicles are no longer satisfy only one need. These multi-dynamic vehicles fulfill many roles. This unprecedented versatility is a cornerstone of the new design foundations established by Mauer’s bold concepts.

“The Saab 9-3X is where coupe meets off-roader. It is a sporty interpretation of the cross-over theme,” Mauer explained. “This means we have created a vehicle offering some off-road functionality that also looks good, in a sporty way, and is a real fun-to-drive experience on any surface.

“For Saab to be true to its heritage, we wanted to go off-road in a slightly different way. If you want a large, heavy sort of mud-plugger, there are plenty of products already out there. But if you want something truly distinctive with a strong sporty ethos, we think the 9-3X coupe format provides quite a unique solution.

The 9-3X design and its components are close to production standard and I am confident we could accommodate such a car within our current product program.”

Sporty Looks
The Saab 9-3X project team was led by the head of Advanced Design, Anthony Lo. His task was to ensure that the unique application of a coupe format did not conflict with the “real world” requirements for such a vehicle. “The car had to look desirable as a sporty coupe for the road,” Lo said. “But this is not a cosmetic exercise – the looks had to be backed up with true functionality. That is the Saab way.”

The Saab-signature wraparound windshield, the high, wedge-shaped waistline and strong, curving C-pillar instantly identify the 9-3X’s lineage. The disguised A-pillars, the clean, smooth lines and bold frontal styling are also characteristic of the 9X concept.

“We wanted to create a look that clearly links the two concepts,” Lo added. “The lines of the 9-3X are extremely clean and uncluttered and, despite the relatively high ride height required for this type of vehicle, we wanted to disguise the higher stance. Having a relatively long 270-cm (106.3-inch) wheelbase helped.”

Traditional features that typically denote a vehicle’s all-terrain capabilities would have no place in the design language of the Saab 9-3X. Three prerequisites were therefore necessary for the Saab 9-3X to achieve its exterior styling goals. There would be no roof bars or bumper appendages of any sort, no extra cladding down its flanks and no unsightly wheel-arch clearances.

The high stance of an off-roader is also effectively disguised by sporty, 20-inch alloy wheels shod with relatively low-profile tires. The increased wheel movement required for off-road driving is accommodated by the carefully shaped, flared wheel-arches. These are body-colored and defined only by a satin paint finish.

The front of the car is dominated by a bold interpretation of the traditional Saab grille. As with the 9X concept, the headlamps are located within the two outer openings. Powerful gas-discharge lamps are the preferred lighting system. A robust skid plate, protecting the engine oil pan, is neatly integrated within the color-keyed front bumper assembly.
At the rear, the coupe silhouette is accentuated by a steeply raked rear window and C- pillar profile. The rear taillights are mounted high for good visibility and appear to merge seamlessly into the smoked-glass rear window. The low-profile roof spoiler effectively stretches the lines of the car even further.

High-Tech Interior
“This car is intended for people with active outdoor interests, so the interior is designed to reflect this by being versatile, roomy and light, giving the cabin an airy feel,” Lo explained.

There is ample seating for four adults. The feeling of spaciousness is amplified by the twin glass panels that extend the entire length of the roof. The open feel is enhanced by pale green leather upholstery for the sports seating and interior trim, contrasted with dark seat inserts and upper surfaces of the dashboard fascia and doors.
Ventilation and soft interior lighting are provided through narrow openings in the dashboard and door trims, a theme first seen on the 9X concept. This contributes to the clean interior layout, eliminating the need for separate air-vent mountings and light fittings.

Stepping inside the 9-3X via its keyless entry, the driver immediately notices there are few visible knobs or buttons, because one of the design team’s priorities was to eliminate “visual clutter” from the interior, consistent with the clean lines of the exterior styling.

The dashboard breaks from Saab tradition by eliminating a wraparound, integrated center console. The twin-dial instrument display is set in a gently curving, relatively narrow fascia panel flanked only a by a rotary lights switch and the main display screen. The speedometer and tachomter dials, illuminated in light blue, are digital but use an analog-style presentation. A small oval display for warning information also sits atop the dashboard, close to the natural line of sight.

The elegant aluminum and leather-trimmed steering wheel features buttons on its twin spokes that control the entertainment system, phone, and gear changing mechanism for the semi-automatic transmission.

A long console over the transmission tunnel accommodates a starter button set in the side of a small pop-up tower as well as the selector lever for the transmission. The four electric window controls are located immediately aft of the starter button between what appear to be two grab handles. The one nearest the driver is, in fact, an electrically powered handbrake with a disguised button. A second display screen, for rear-seat passengers, is located at the back of the console.

The advanced “infotainment” functions of the 9-3X are based on an extremely powerful electronics network using fiber-optic technology with a capacity of 25 Mbits per second. In terms of multiplicity, this system already leads the automotive industry and will serve as a platform for use in the next generation of Saab cars.

A large, three-position knob – an “automotive mouse” – is positioned alongside the gear selector and provides access, via the main display screen, to the entire “infotainment” system.

The menu for the first position covers settings for all in-car comfort features, such as the automatic climate control, front seat positioning, and interior illumination. The second position activates “media” functions, including satellite navigation, radio, CD, TV, and DVD systems. The third position governs “office” functions, such as e-mail and other Internet facilities.

A large storage box at the rear of the console includes an outlet for connecting a hand-held PC, allowing the driver to access information, such as calendar, schedules, and addresses, via the main screen.

A small, drawer-like panel can be pulled out from the lower dash fascia to allow extensive custom programming of many systems such as default settings for the automatic climate control, anti-theft alarm, rain sensing wipers, clock/radio, and other information displays.

Innovative Versatility
The Saab 9-3X fulfills its mission as a platform for pursuing a variety of outdoor interests and sports by offering extremely flexible load-carrying abilities and plenty of useful storage. “This car should become part of its owner’s lifestyle, so we have tried to provide really useful features, not just gimmicks,” Lo commented.

An innovative refinement is the ability to store and charge up a mini camcorder and batteries in a customized pack mounted in the driver’s door pocket. The Saab 9-3X even includes an instant playback facility through both front and rear screens.

The Saab 9-3X also features further developments of the sliding floor and cargo-securing tracks, which first appeared on the Saab 9-5 SportWagon . Both front and rear seatbacks fold down into the seat cushions, giving flat, level surfaces for easy load carrying. In addition to four cargo-securing tracks running longitudinally down the rear floor, all four seatbacks are each equipped with a pair of tracks. This increases the options for securing loads safely when the seats are down, even allowing a custom-designed rucksack, for example, to be easily mounted for additional stowage when the seats are up.

The floor-mounted door of the split tailgate features a neat, mechanical linkage that automatically extends the rear floor when it is lowered. This facilitates loading bulky items and allows for an easy return of the floor before the tailgate is closed.

As an alternative to roof bars, the Saab 9-3X further extends the use of cargo-securing tracks. A pair of tracks is mounted in the central roof spine between the two glass sections so that custom-designed roof boxes, ski holders or bicycle carriers can be securely located when needed.

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Saab 9-3X concept creates cross-over coupe niche

Posted on 07. Jan, 2002 by .

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svgallery=2002_SAAB_9_3Xa

Photo Credits: Saab Automobile

2002-01-07

Saab 9-3X concept creates cross-over coupe niche

The Saab 9-3X concept unveiled at the 2002 Detroit Motor Show breaks new ground by taking Saab off-road for the first time.

A unique fusion of sporty, coupe bodystyling and off-road functionality, the bold 9-3X follows the philosophy of last year’s 9X concept in offering multidynamic features, the essence of Saab’s brand appeal.

It is most accurately described as a cross-over coupe, demonstrating that a four-wheel-drive vehicle with off-road capabilities can also retain a strong, sporty on-road appeal. It is the first time Saab has shown a car with off-road abilities and promises to inspire a new, “sub-SUV” niche in the market.

Within its coupe format, the 9-3X offers spacious accommodation for four adults and a versatile load-carrying ability. An all-new, 280bhp, 2.8-liter V6 turbo engine, linked to an “intelligent” four-wheel-drive system, is designed to deliver sporty performance whatever the road surface.

The 9-3X has been developed from General Motors’ “Epsilon” mid-size vehicle architecture, and aspects of its design language, as well as a number of its technical features, are likely to be seen in forthcoming new Saab products. Major Saab 9-3X highlights include:

* Advanced “infotainment” system with twin display screens
* Adaptable cargo-management system with automatic sliding floor
* All-new 2.8-litre V6 turbo with first application of Saab Combustion Control (SCC)
* Saab semi-automatic transmission

“This concept is a sporty interpretation of the cross-over theme,” says Saab Executive Director of Design, Michael Mauer. It is a blend of coupe and off-roader, bringing together a sporty image and real functionality. It will be fun to drive, whatever the occasion.

“The 9-3X is the next step in the establishment of Saab’s new design language, which started last year with the 9X concept. I am confident this car will be an important inspiration behind future Saab products.”

Saab Automobile’s President and CEO, Peter Augustsson, says: “We are seriously considering the right sort of product with which to enter the off-road segment. It must be innovative and sporty and must have multidynamic properties, much like the 9-3X concept. You can also expect to see a number of features from this car in our coming products.”

The announcement of the 9-3X is the latest step in Saab’s aggressive new product plan, which began with the unveiling of the Saab 9X at last year’s Frankfurt Motor Show. At least one new product or concept is to be announced every year for the next five years, and annual production volumes are expected to almost double to about 250,000 units in the next five or six years.

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Facts 9-3X: Technical specifications and performance

Posted on 07. Jan, 2002 by .

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svgallery=2002_SAAB_9_3X

Photo Credits: Saab Automobile

2002-01-07

Facts 9-3X: Technical specifications and performance

Body:
Two-door cross-over coupe with floor-mounted rear tailgate, steel body

Engine:
Lightweight “Ecopower 2” 2.8-liter V6 turbo engine with 60-degree configuration, double overhead camshafts, four valves per cylinder, direct ignition and variable valve timing. Saab Trionic engine management. Front, transversely mounted
Maximum power is 280 bhp/206kW at 5,500 rpm.
Max torque is 400 Nm (available from 1,700 to 5,500 rpm).

Transmission/driveline:

Adaptive, five-speed. semi-automatic transmission with steering-wheel-mounted manual gear shifts.
ESP-controlled Haldex AWD system.

Suspension:
Front: Struts, lower A-arm, separate gas-filled shock absorbers, coil springs, anti-roll bar
Rear: Independent, four-link, gas-filled shock absorbers, coil springs, anti-roll bar

Steering:
Rack-and-pinion, power-assisted. 2.5 turns (lock to lock).

Brakes:
Front: 350mm, ventilated/drilled steel discs, 4-piston Brembo calipers
Rear: 330mm, ventilated/drilled steel discs, 4-piston Brembo calipers

Wheels:
20x 8.5 inch, five-spoke alloy

Tires:
Front and Rear: 245/40 R20 Michelin Sport Pilot

Curb weight (projected):
1550 kilos

External dimensions:
Length: 4380mm
Height: 1498mm
Width: 1826mm
Wheelbase: 2700mm
Track width (f): 1580mm, (r) 1566mm

Load space:
Volume: 320 liters (rear seat up),
950 liters (rear seat folded)
Length: 690mm (rear seat up)
1550mm (+ rear seat folded)
2335mm (+ front and rear seat folded)
1395mm (+ tailgate down / rear seat up)
2255mm (+ tailgate down / rear seat down)
3040mm (+ tailgate down / rear and front seat folded)

Performance (projected):
Top speed: 250 km/h (limited) 0 – 100 km/h: 6.2 sec. (figures are projected).

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Saab 9-3x Promo Video

Posted on 07. Jan, 2002 by .

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Production Concept