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Friday, February 1, 2008

Saab 9-3 Sport Sedan and SportCombi Facelifts In Detail

Page 1: Overview
Page 2: Design
Page 3: Interior features
Page 4: Chassis, Brakes, Steering
Page 5: Powertrain
Page 6: Body structure
Page 7: Safety
Page 8: Security and Operation
Page 9:Ownership and Accessories


The 9-3 Sport Sedan and SportCombi range is focused on delivering a unique, 'fun to drive' experience that places it among the class leaders for sporty performance and excellent chassis dynamics.

The coup-like silhouette and strong, sporty stance of the Sport Sedan help convey that 'moving when stationary' look. And the muscular proportions of the SportCombi are a bold reaffirmation of Saab's tradition for designing cars that are sporty in character and versatile in use. Both models are positioned in the premium, mid-size segment, providing an alternative choice to natural competitors such as the BMW 3-series, Audi A4 and Mercedes C-class.

The extensive powertrain line-up offers a 'tri-fuel' choice of gasoline, diesel or bioethanol powered engines. It includes an all-aluminum 2.8-liter V6 turbocharged engine rated at 280 hp (206 kW) in combination with all-wheel- drive (Saab XWD); a powerful two-stage turbo diesel packing 400 Nm of torque and a choice of two Saab BioPower (E85) flex-fuel engines.

Exterior Design

The sporty, distinctive looks of the Saab 9-3 Sport Sedan and SportCombi are an expression of modern Scandinavian design, incorporating contemporary and classic Saab design themes. Both models have a bold and assertive stance that reflects their strong, driving appeal. The sedan's coup-like profile communicates its sporty character, while the SportCombi's cohesive, five-door bodystyle inherits the 'combi-coup' genes of the first Saab 99 Turbo.

  • Saab 'signature' styling cues: The wedge-like profile with its rising belt-line culminating in that distinctive 'hockey stick' curve into the C or D-pillar; the clamshell hood, the single side window graphic; the shaping of the headlamps units and smoked white rear light clusters.

  • Bold frontal styling. The prominent central grille with its wing motif is inspired by the Aero X concept car, as is the U-shaped pressing in that classic Saab clamshell hood. The form of the grille and headlamp units is complemented a smooth bumper molding with a deep trapezoidal air intake.

  • Distinctive alternative to conventional wagon design. The SportCombi's compact proportions - its raked rear screen and the short rear overhang, with a small glass area behind the C-pillar - distinguish it from traditional wagon formats.

  • Excellent aerodynamics. Impressive drag coefficient of 0.28 for the sedan and 0.33 for the SportCombi. Low lift forces for good high speed stability, with SportCombi first Saab to achieve zero lift values at both axles.

Interior Design and Features

In common with all Saab cars, the 9-3 Sport Sedan and SportCombi are designed '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. The SportCombi adds versatility features, such as a surprisingly large cargo deck, to facilitate the active sports and leisure pursuits of owners.

  • 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.

  • 'Profiler' customization. A wide range of functions can be pre-set according to personal preference including: automatic climate control, clock/alarm, speed scale illumination, parking assistance, rain sensitive wipers and anti-theft alarm.

  • Dual-zone Automatic Climate Control fitted as standard, allowing different temperature settings for left or right hand side of interior. Includes an automatic airflow balance function to compensate for temperature changes if one side of the car is in direct sunlight.

  • ComSense functionality minimizes potential for driver distraction through 'dynamic workload management', briefly suppressing in-car warning messages/phone calls when a moment of high driver workload is detected by the operation of the indicators or heavy braking. Includes Night Panel instrument illumination dimming to reduce visual 'clutter'.

  • Infotainment systems include DVD/GPS satellite navigation with large 6.5-inch color monitor, Bluetooth Phone Integration system (BPIS) for automatic connection to audio system with operation by voice control or steering wheel buttons. Auxiliary input socket standard with all infotainment systems.

  • Additional load-carrying potential. Both the Sport Sedan and SportCombi have 60/40 split fold rear seats with a ski hatch. The SportCombi features a wide-opening tailgate with a low floor giving access to a spacious, well-proportioned cargo deck, free from intrusions. An optional folding front passenger seat-back offers further interior space.

  • Innovative TwinFloor stowage in SportCombi. After pulling the aircraft-shaped handle, the middle section of cargo floor hinges upwards transversely and slots in place. This provides support for the convenient stowage of shopping bags or other items in the recessed sub-floor, easily secured by a cargo net.

  • Choice of three specifications: Linear, Vector and top-of-the-line Aero. Each with 'light room' (parchment) or 'dark room' (black) color theme.

Chassis, Steering and Brakes

The outstanding 'fun to drive' chassis dynamics of both the Sport Sedan and SportCombi deliver a level of driving involvement and pleasure that challenges the class benchmark. An active all-wheel-drive system (Saab XWD) is offered for Aero variants

  • 'ReAxs' passive rear wheel steer characteristic. The kinematics of the rear suspension are tuned to give 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. The compact design allows a spacious load area free from intrusion.

  • Front suspension is by MacPherson struts with lower A-arms mounted on a hydroformed (hollow), sub-frame. High lateral bushing stiffness for good steering response and precision; high longitudinal compliance for ride comfort.

  • Saab XWD, an active all;-wheel-drive system, is available on Aero variants, together with an uprated 280 hp/ 206 kW 2.8V6 turbo engine. It offers enhanced driver involvement and control in all road conditions. The Haldex multi-plate clutch unit infinitely varies engine torque between the front and rear axles, and an optional rear limited-slip differential can transfer torque between the rear drive shafts.

  • 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).

  • Low mounted steering rack gives excellent feel and precision with progressive power assistance and fast responses. Electro-hydraulic system with 1.8i and 1.9TiD engines.

  • Three disc brake sizes according to engine power. Excellent high speed braking stability with automatic rear wheel 'toe-in' through ReAxs geometry.

  • Minimized unsprung weight for better ride quality. Front hub carriers, brake calipers, lower control arms in front suspension and toe and lower rear suspension links in aluminum.

  • 'Shear' bushings at top of rear shock absorber mountings for compliant ride quality and effective vibration suppression.


The turbo powertrains add excellent refinement and driveability to Saab's traditional strengths of high torque for strong, mid-range pulling power. They deliver a level of responsive performance in keeping with the chassis's excellent dynamics, further reinforcing the car's driver focus. The line-up comprises six gasoline engine options, including two BioPower versionsand a choice of three diesel engines..

  • Sophisticated Saab Trionic engine management for all four cylinder turbo gasoline and BioPower engines simultaneously measuring and adjusting ignition timing, fuel injection, turbo boost pressure, air mass and the electronic throttle for optimum combustion.

  • All-aluminum 2.8-liter turbo engine. The first six cylinder unit to be purpose-built for Saab's turbocharged application. Offering 280 hp (206 kW) or 255 hp (188 kW), it combines multi-cylinder refinement with outstanding turbo performance. Single, twin-scroll turbocharger fed by both cylinder banks. Exclusive to top-of-the-range Aero variants.

  • All-aluminium 2.0-liter turbo engines. Saab developed and tuned for 150 (110 kW), 175 (129 kW) and 210 hp (147 kW) with high torque for swift overtaking. All internal components unique to Saab. Balancer shafts for greater running refinement.

  • Choice of twot BioPower engines giving more power and torque when running on E85 fuel. Saab BioPower is unique in offering flex-fuel engines that give enhanced performance, as well as reduced fossil CO2 emissions.

  • 1.9TTiD engine with two-stage turbocharging leads the diesel choice.. It develops 180 hp (132 kW) and exceptional torque of 400 Nm with two turbos integrated as a single unit and common rail, direct and multiple fuel injection. Two other versions, with a VNT turbo, deliver 150 hp (110 kW) with 16-valves or 120 hp (88 kW) with 8-valves. A maintenance-free particulate filter is offered as an option..

  • Naturally-aspirated 1.8i engine with 122 hp/90 kW and variable length intake manifold. Available in all specifications, except Aero, for broad customer appeal.

  • Wide transmission choice. Six-speed manual gearboxes standard for 2.8V6, 210 hp (155 kW) and 175 hp (129 kW) turbos and all turbo diesels. Five-speed, adaptive automatic transmission has Saab Sentronic manual gear selection and optional steering wheel controls. Six-speed units offered with the 2.8V6 turbo and the 180 hp (132 kW) and 150 hp (110 kW) turbo diesels. A '5+2' variant, with two intermediate gears on kickdown, for 210 hp (155 kW) engine.

Body structure and Electrical systems

The 9-3 Sport Sedan and SportCombi have the stiffest four and five-door body structurest yet produced by Saab, providing solid foundations on which their exemplary handling, ride and safety characteristics are built. A multiplex digital signal network ensures the fast and efficient control of major functions.

  • High torsional rigidity - 22,000 Nm/degree of deflection for the Sport Sedan and, despite the large tailgate opening, only 6.6 per cent less for the SportCombi Use of FEM design techniques and tailored blanks in construction reduces unnecessary weight and concentrates strength where needed.

  • Almost 60%of body weight in high strength or ultra high strength steel, used mainly in central passenger safety cage where all main beams have closed sections for additional strength.

  • Structural 'rings' around C and D-pillars in the SportCombi include transverse beams in floor and roof to compensate for loss of sedan cross-bracing. 'Rings' linked longitudinally by six beams in rear bodywork and the base of C-pillars is further reinforced.

  • Deformable crash boxes behind front bumper minimize body damage in low speed impacts up to 15 kph.

  • Multiplexing for entire electrical and electronic network with databus transmission for control of powertrain, chassis, body, 'infotainment', telematics, navigation and climate and comfort systems.


Saab has a long tradition of successful work with car safety and Saab cars consistently show well in real-life accident surveys, often being ranked best in their segment. In EuroNCAP crash tests, the 9-3 Sport Sedan and 9-3 Convertible have achieved a maximum five-star rating.

  • Database covering more than 6,100 real-life accidents involving Saab cars in Sweden. Used in computer simulations and crash testing to replicate what happens in real accidents on real roads.

  • Strong steel safety cage helps protect passenger compartment. Fabricated mainly from high strength steel, with beam sections completely closed for additional strength. Protected by deformable front structure with three load paths and wide bumper beam to spread impact forces.

  • Saab Active Head Restraints (SAHR) for front seats help to prevent serious neck injury in rear-end collisions. Effectiveness demonstrated by crash investigation findings and independent tests.

  • Side impact protection with 'pendulum' movement of lower B-pillar, designed to engage side sills and door beams as an integrated structure.

  • Roof-rail airbags to help provide occupant head protection throughout an entire crash sequence, including potential roll-over. Front seat-mounted side airbags help provide thorax protection.

  • Sophisticated sensing for airbag/seat-belt deployment, including two-stage adaptive front airbags, pre-tensioning of seatbelts in side impacts and wearer reminder system.

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Related entries:

2008 SAAB 9-3 Convertible


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