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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

Design and Aerodynamics

Distinctive Styling Inspired by Aero X Concept

  • Sporty, coup-like styling for Sport Sedan

  • Dynamic looks for SportCombi as alternative to conventional wagon proportions

  • Blend of contemporary and classic Saab design themes

  • Excellent high speed stability, low 0.28 Cd.for Sport Sedan and 0.33 Cd for SportCombi

Exterior Styling

The distinctive looks of the Saab 9-3 Sport Sedan and SportCombi clearly positions them as products that could only come from Saab. The styling strategy brings together contemporary and classic Saab design themes in a progressive, modern expression of the brands distinctive character. The result is a bold and assertive stance for both bodystyles that reflects a strong, sporty driver appeal.

At the front, the deep, prominent evolution of the Saab grille adopts a theme first seen on the Aero X concept car. This is complemented by sweeping headlamp units that incorporate a thin eyebrow lighting zone designed as a brand specific “signature feature. These units culminate in an upswept rear edge, introducing a Saab design theme from the 9-5 range and classic 900 model. The grilles central wing motif is retained as a reference to Saab aircraft heritage..

The frontal styling sees the adoption of another Saab signature feature: a “clamshell hood, closing across the top of the front wings. The hood pressing incorporates a sweeping, U-shaped styling line, as first seen on the Aero X, which echoes the curvature of the windshield.

The swept-back frontal lines are complemented by a front bumper and splitter assembly with a deep, trapezoidal air intake, even more pronounced on Aero versions. This is flanked by deep black vents which are framed, like the grille, in a matte chrome finish. As with the Aero X concept, these represent a metaphor for the intakes of a jet engine.

Doors and bumpers moldings are clean and uncluttered by rubbing strips The flared, sill extensions are visually integrated front and rear with the scalloped corners of the bumper moldings. At the rear, both sedan and combi feature distinctive “frosted white light clusters, a subtle reference to the brand Scandinavian roots.

In profile, the gently arching roofline of the sedan flows between the steeply raked front and rear screens to create a coup-like shape.. Classic Saab styling cues include: the combined teardrop form of the side windows with a disguised pillar; the wedge shape and high waistline culminating in that distinctive “hockey stick curve into the pillar; and a single swage line running the entire length of the car.

The SportCombi is a bold statement of Saab tradition for designing cars that are sporty in character and versatile in use. It draws on rich design heritage that began with the first “combi-coupà Saab 99 Turbo, a performance car that also offered wagon-like functionality. The SportCombi compact appearance, its steeply raked rear screen, its short rear overhang, the small glass area behind the C-pillar, and the absence of roof rails, available as an option, are all features that separate it from conventional wagon design.

Like the sedan, the SportCombi has a rising belt-line that extends along the entire length of the car, culminating in the Saab “hockey stick shape of the forward-angled D-pillar. All side windows are encapsulated within a single, teardrop-like graphic, with the B- and C-pillars “blacked out.

The dramatic rear styling features a relatively short rear overhang and distinctive, bold rear light zones with white, frosted lenses. In profile, these units are angled forward to emphasize the “fastback shape of the rear styling. A rear spoiler is neatly integrated at the top of the steeply raked tailgate, extending and visually lowering the profile of the roofline. The overall effect provides a sharp contrast to the extension of rear bodywork and window glazing commonly associated with competitors in the premium wagon segment.


The 9-3 Sport Sedan and SportCombi are both designed to cleave the air as efficiently as possible, providing good high speed stability, optimised fuel consumption and low wind noise inside the car.

The aerodynamics team concentrated their efforts on achieving a smooth airflow over, around, through and under the car. Advanced CFD (Computational Fluid Dynamics) modeling played a vital role in the visualization of airflow and facilitated optimization work in the wind tunnel. CFD was also the main tool for analyzing internal airflows: in the engine bay. It was important to look at flow separation at the rear in order to reduce turbulence and minimize the size of the cars wake.

The shaping of the side sills, rear body panels and the radius and curvature of the rear corner of the C-pillars in the Sport Sedan and the D-pillars in the SportCombi all play a part in helping to reduce drag. The result is an impressive drag coefficient of 0.28 for the Sport Sedan and 0.33 for the SportCombi

At the front, the rear edge of the hood lid upto smooth the passage of air on to and around the windscreen and A-pillars, helping to reduce wind noise as well as easing airflow. The traditionally deep curvature of the windscreen reduces the acceleration of the airflow as it approaches the A-pillars, which have a flattened radius where they connect to the windscreen to minimize airflow disturbance. The door mirror casings even have a small spoiler-like profile in the bottom surface to reduce the possibility of wind noise and grime build-up on the side windows.

On the sedan, the team also worked hard to reduce disturbance where the bottom of rear window joins the trunk deck, a particularly sensitive area in “notchback shapes. The subtle upturn of the rear edge of the trunk lid is, in effect, an integral “lip spoiler which helps reduce the size of the cars wake, the area of turbulent air that trails behind the car at speed.

High speed stability, including pitch sensitivity under braking and yaw responses to cross-winds at different speeds and angles, was a main priority. The SportCombi is the first Saab to achieve a zero level of lift at both axles, 0.00Clf and 0.00Clr. This has been achieved by utilizing the longer roofline of the SportCombi to speed up airflow, including the aerodynamic performance of the rear spoiler. . For the Sport Sedan a value of 0.11 Clr (coefficient of rear lift) is on a par with best in class.

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Related entries:

2008 SAAB 9-3 Convertible


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