Saab 9-3 Sport Sedan: Press Kit

Posted on 01. Jun, 2002 by in 2000-2009, 9-3 SS

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World Premiere: All-new Saab 9-3 Sport Sedan

• First Saab positioned in premium, compact sport sedan segment
• World class chassis dynamics enhance driver involvement
• Long wheelbase and wide track for good handling and spacious interior
• New powertrain includes lightweight, aluminum turbo engine
• New five-speed automatic transmission and six-speed manual gearbox
• In-house Saab electronics for sophisticated powertrain behavior
• Fiber optic electronics for advanced, modular ‘infotainment’ systems
• Exceptionally strong body for good handling, refinement and safety
• Second generation Saab Active Head Restraints (SAHR)
• Load-limiting seat-belts, dual stage front airbags and side curtain airbags
• ‘Profiler’ customization program and choice of four specification levels

The all-new 2003 Saab 9-3 Sport Sedan is the first step in the biggest product development
program in Saab’s history. It spearheads the arrival of an entirely new family of cars, each focused
on meeting the particular requirements of a different niche in the market.
As Saab’s first contender in the premium, compact sport sedan segment, the focus for the
new 9-3 is dedicated to delivering a unique, fun-to-drive experience that promises to set new
standards for the class.

The coupé-like silhouette, with steeply raked windshield and rear window and short front and
rear overhangs, communicates a strong, sporty stance, which is reinforced by negative wheel
cambers. The overall look is designed to convey a sense of movement even when the car is
stationary. The shape of the windows and the wedge-like profile also combine with the sleek
integrated headlights and grille to give the car its distinctive Saab identity.

Excellent aerodynamics including a highly competitive 0.28 drag coefficient, resulting in low
lift forces at the rear axle, improving high speed stability and braking. Careful airflow
management also benefits the driver by helping to prevent road grime building up on the side
windows and taillights.

The new model comes with a choice of two new, 2.0-liter, all-aluminum turbocharged
engines, ranging in power from 175 to 210 hp. The front-wheel-drive transmissions include
five- and six-speed manual gearboxes and a five-speed automatic with Saab Sentronic
manual selection and the option of steering wheel controls. There will be three “Forms,” or
specification levels: Linear, Arc, and Vector.

Compared to its predecessor, the new 9-3 offers more spacious accommodations, particularly
for rear passengers, within the same overall length. Front and rear width is increased by 2.16
in. (55 mm) and the wheelbase is 2.8 in. (71 mm) longer.

It is price-positioned to compete with the BMW 3-series, Audi A4, and Volvo S60. Sales
start in October 2002.

The main features of the new 9-3 contribute to an enriched, sporty driving experience in four key
areas: driver involvement, refined performance, driver adaptability and driver-centered design.
Driver Involvement

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 designed to improve handling and stability.
• Four-link independent rear suspension. High lateral stiffness adds stability and grip;
longitudinal compliance enhances ride comfort.
• Low mounted steering rack gives excellent feel and precision with progressive power
assistance and fast response.
• Front suspension is MacPherson struts with lower A-arms mounted on a hydroformed,
rubber-isolated sub-frame. High lateral bushing stiffness improves steering response and
precision; high longitudinal compliance contributes to ride comfort.
• Advanced chassis electronic systems. Chassis features Saab-tuned “user-friendly” ESP
(Electronic Stability Program), EBD (Electronic Brake force Distribution), CBC
(Cornering Brake Control) and TCS (Traction Control System).
• Optimized braking power. Front and rear brake discs are larger than previous model;
varying in size, depending on specification level.
• Minimized unsprung weight for better ride quality. Hub carriers and toe and lower rear
suspension links are aluminum, while anti-roll bars are hollow section steel.
• “Shear” bushing at top of rear shock absorber mountings adds to the compliant ride
quality and effective vibration suppression.
Refined Performance

Saab is a center of expertise within General Motors for the development of turbocharged
gasoline engines. The 2003 Saab 9-3’s 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 dynamics, further
reinforcing the new car’s driver focus.

The main highlights include:
• New all-aluminum 2.0-liter turbo engine. Saab developed and tuned two versions of the
new engine for 175 hp (badged 2.0t) and 210 hp (badged 2.0T) with high torque for
confident passing. All internal components are unique to Saab. Balance shafts and dualmass
flywheel offer greater running refinement.

• Sophisticated powertrain performance. Highly sensitive and precise throttle control,
adaptive torque delivery and smooth power on/power off characteristics are benefits of
the new Trionic-8 engine management, the latest version of Saab’s own 32-bit in-house
system.
• More transmission choices. Updated five-speed (175 hp) and all-new six-speed (210 hp)
Saab manual gearboxes are available. A new five-speed, adaptive automatic transmission
with Saab Sentronic manual gear selection and optional steering wheel controls is
available.
4
• Unique “pendulum” engine mounting. Engine noise and vibration is reduced by
installation of rods at the base of the engine for optimal torque control.
Driver Adaptability
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” customization. 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. The new Saab 9-3 features the most complete 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. The system senses changes in
sunlight or shade outside the car and automatically adjusts airflow to keep interior
temperature constant.

• Three specification levels. “Linear” features an understated interior with attractive
leather upholstery and anthracite trim. “Arc” adds more luxury, with 16-inch alloy
wheels and leather interior with poplar wood trim. “Vector” adds a sporty flair, with 17-
inch alloy wheels and a sports leather interior with matte chrome trim.

• Inaugural Linear Launch Package. An optional package will be offered for the Linear
form that includes 16” 10-spoke alloy wheels, in-dash 6-CD player, upgraded stereo
system, power sunroof and driver’s seat, and lower body color match trim.

• Additional load-carrying potential. A standard 60/40 split folding rear seat with ski hatch
provides additional utility to carry extra cargo.

• Lower running costs. Longer service intervals and reduced maintenance times minimize
inconvenience for the owner. Vehicles are covered under the Saab No Charge Scheduled
Maintenance Program for 3 years or 36.000 miles, whichever comes first, for factoryrecommended
scheduled maintenance performed at an authorized Saab dealer in the
United States. 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: a remote window and sunroof operation, “halo” perimeter lighting
at night, automatic dimming interior mirror, and integrated garage door remote.

Built Around the Driver

Consistent with all Saab vehicles, 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 advanced safety features benefit all who use the
car. Highlights include:

• Cockpit feel. The instrument panel arcs around the driver, with a logical layout and
tactile feel to controls. Steering wheel adjusts for both rake and reach. Green instrument
illumination and Night Panel function contribute to safe night driving.

• High position display. Saab Information Display (SID) is located on top of the fascia
near the base of the windscreen, close the driver’s natural field of vision. Screen shows
radio settings and driver information.

• Structural strength. With added torsional rigidity, the body 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. Many dozens of different crash configurations were
carried out during development, utilizing Saab’s database of more than 6,000 real-life
road accidents. Tests include truck-to-car side impacts, car-to-car frontal impacts with a
closing speed of 74 mph and replica moose impacts.

• Second generation Saab Active Head Restraints (SAHR). Pioneered by Saab, SAHR
helps prevent neck injury for front seat occupants in rear-end impacts. Integrated into the
seat backs, this safety system is improved for even quicker action.

• Integrated safety features. Restraint systems include seat belt pre-tensioning and load
limiting for front seating positions, combined with dual-stage front airbags, seat-mounted
side airbags and new side curtain airbags.

Announcing the arrival of the new model, Saab Automobile President and CEO Peter
Augustsson, commented, “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.”

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