Search This Blog

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

Interior features

Driver in Focus

  • 'Profiler' customization function

  • 'ComSense' driver safety function to minimize distraction

  • Dual-zone ACC (Automatic Climate Control) standard

  • Advanced “infotainment systems

  • Adaptable, cargo handling with “TwinFloor' rear stowage in SportCombi

Drivers Environment

The Saab 9-3 is designed to provide a near perfect driving position for the vast majority of drivers, almost irrespective of size, through a multi-adjustable drivers seat and a steering wheel that adjusts for both rake and height.

The main instrument panel gently arcs round the driver, an evolution of the same theme in the previous model. In typical Saab fashion, the controls are all logically grouped, those most frequently used bring nearest to hand and closest to the drivers natural field of vision. The short gearshift lever is just a hand span away.

The main dials “ a large speedometer, with a compressed scale above 140 kph, is flanked by a smaller rev-counter and a combined fuel/water temperature/turbo boost gauge are recessed in traditional Saab fashion. They are white on black and continue to be softly illuminated in green as Saab believes this is the most restful color choice for night driving.

Also located in the main instrument panel are twin adjustable air vents and audio or infotainment system controls with, according to specification, a 6.5 inch, high resolution color monitor screen displaying particularly clear graphics.

The “Profiler facility, offering driver pre-sets for a wide range of functions is operated via steering wheel buttons, with on-screen prompts and selections shown in the main instrument display. Automatic climate control modes, the clock/alarm, speed scale illumination and, where fitted, the anti-theft alarm, parking assistance, rain sensitive wipers and heated seats can all be tailored in this way.

Saab has been seeking to minimize potential driver distraction for many years and the Saab 9-3 ComSense safety function includes the use of a “dynamic workload manager, introduced with the first generation Saab 9-5 sedan in 1997. This enables the brief suppression of dashboard warning messages, or the interception of an incoming phone call, when a moment of high driver workload is detected by the operation of the indicators or heavy braking.

In the same way, the “Night Panel feature on all Saab cars, allows the driver to minimize distraction by switching off, or dimming, all the main instrumentation illumination at night (expect for the speedometer). The development of steering wheel controls for the audio system and telephone, as well as voice activation programs, are seen as further means of keeping the drivers attention on the road.

The three-spoke steering wheel is slimmer and sportier than previous Saab designs. Adjustable for height and rake, it can carry buttons for the “infotainment system, telephone, telematics or gear shifting with automatic transmission.

A substantial central console below the main instrument panel is inclined slightly towards the driver and sweeps elegantly down between the front seats. It accommodates the automatic climate controls, more minor switchgear, the gearshift lever, ignition switch and handbrake. The main storage compartment can be specified to incorporate coin slots, a 12-volt outlet for a battery charger and a smaller roll-top compartment with a cup-holder below the central arm-rest.

A particularly neat innovation is the “disguised handbrake, which is beautifully integrated in the edging trim of the console. It is a Z-shaped lever, self-adjusting and with a positive, easy-to-use action.

In true Saab tradition, the ignition switch continues to be located alongside the handbrake. It is now entirely electronic in operation and the previous mechanical reverse gear lock is replaced by an automatic, electronic steering column lock.

Seating comfort

Saab has earned an enviable reputation for class-leading seating comfort and the Saab 9-3 continues that tradition. All four seating positions are upholstered to be comfortable and supportive, without being too firm. The front seat squabs and backrests are well bolstered where it matters to give excellent under thigh and lateral back support. The rear of each front seatback is also fully upholstered, including a large storage pocket, and carefully shaped to optimize rear seat leg room.

All four seating positions offer similar standards of comfort, rear seat passengers benefiting from with their own adjustable air vents, reading lights, cup-holders, a centre armrest and generous storage facilities.Saabs new generation active head restraints (see Safety section for details) are fitted to both front seats and the rear head restraints can be folded flat without compromising seat comfort.

Heating and Ventilation

Saab engineers are constantly seeking to raise the efficiency of air conditioning systems, often balancing conflicting needs, such as ensuring quick engine warm up in cold conditions while also providing an adequate supply of warm air for the passenger cabin. For more consistent performance, Saab favors “energy balanced rather than sensor-controlled automatic systems. This means there are no sudden eruptions of the fan, of example, when a door or window is briefly opened

All variants are fitted with a highly efficient automatic climate control (ACC) system, which is designed to function in a range of conditions from “ 20º C to + 40º C.In-car air circulation is optimized by CFD (Computational Fluid Dynamics) modeling and the system operates on a “dual zone basis, allowing different temperatures to be selected for the left or right hand side of the car. This can be useful when the driver, for example, may wish to keep alert by having a slightly cooler setting. The system includes an automatic airflow balance function which compensates for temperature changes if one side of the car is in direct sunlight. Rear passengers also benefit from adjustable, twin air vents at the rear of the central console, as well as outlets under the front seats

Optional heated front seats are linked to the automatic climate control, which can switch on and progressively lower the seat heating as the interior warms up. This function and other ACC settings, such as the fan and air distribution, can also be selected through the Profiler customization menu.


The Saab 9-3 benefits from one of the most powerful electronics systems to be installed in a series production car (see Electronics section for full details). Fiber optics are used to provide a high speed platform for the cars extensive “infotainment¢ (communication and entertainment) functions and are capable of handling all likely future requirements in the fast-developing field of infotainment and driver communication, making it easy for owners to fit upgrades.

The passenger cabin sets new standards for Saab in terms of interior refinement and noise suppression. It has also allowed technicians to take interior acoustics to a new level, providing excellent sound reproduction for occupants irrespective of their seating position.

A choice of three “infotainment systems is offered, each of which includes a CD player compatible with MP3 music discs. Also fitted as standard is an auxiliary audio input.

The standard “Saab Infotainment system includes an RDS radio and single-slot CD player, “Saab Infotainment CD Changer adds an in-dash 6-disc facility and “Saab Infotainment Plus includes a GPS satellite navigation system with a large, 6.5 inch color touch-screen and voice control. In addition to a eye view map selection, direction arrows shown on the touch-screen.

All three “infotainment systems can be combined with a hands-free mobile phone facility, the Bluetooth Phone Integration System (BPIS). After an initial “pairing set-up procedure, a Bluetooth-enabled phone will automatically connect wirelessly to the audio system whenever the user enters the car. The phone is then operated by voice control or steering wheel buttons, with call information shown in the main instrument display. For recharging and connection to the cars external antenna, a phone dock in the center console is available as an accessory.

The audio range includes a new tailor-made Bose Centerpoint surround sound system, delivering five audio channels from CD, XM digital radio or MP3 inputs.. With twin amplifiers and 11 (sedan) or 10 (combi) speakers, its performance is optimized for the acoustics of the cabin, giving an impressive, expanded “concert hall sound reproduction. Surround sound quality is automatically provided even if a CD is not encoded for it. This system is identified by Bose branding embossed on the outer front speaker grilles.

Storage and Load-carrying

Both the Sport Sedan and SportCombi follow the tradition of all Saab products it offering excellent on-board storage and load-carrying facilities.

There are numerous places in the passenger compartment where various items can be stowed. Up front, there is a small cubbyhole in place of the optional ashtray (still with a cigar lighter as a power point), two good-sized door bins; a large air-conditioned glove compartment and two pouches at the front of the seat squabs.

Rear seat passengers are also well served. In addition to the two door bins, there are large pockets in the front seatbacks, according to specification. And a flat storage area in the center armrest. An optional double cup-holder is also spring-mounted in the front of the seat squab.

The sedans trunk is deep and tall with a wide opening and an ample 421-liter capacity. Two pull handles in the top of the trunk lower the 60/40 split rear seat-back, which includes a ski-hatch, to give a flexible and impressive load-carrying potential. The floor of the trunk also has two tie-down loops to safely secure heavy items.


The SportCombi is designed to support the sports and leisure interests of its owners, as well as their desire for a rewarding driving experience. The rear cargo area, with a low floor, is surprisingly spacious and well proportioned. The compact design of the rear suspension allows a deep “box-like space, free from intrusions. It offers a useful rear seat up/down volume of 419/1273 liters (VDA).

The 60/40 split seat-back incorporates a “ski-hatch and folds down without any need to move the fixed seat cushion. A folding front passenger seat-back is available as an option with the Linear and Arc interior, further increasing the overall “load through length to 2.65 meters.

The fully carpeted rear load space is illuminated by two interior lights mounted on the inside of the D-pillars. It is accessed by a lightly weighted tailgate that opens down to bumper level, its damper rods completely hidden in the roof to allow a clear, uncluttered opening. Two recessed handles in the bottom edge of the tailgate allow easy closing whether the user is right or left-handed. The flush-fitted, black molded floor plate will not become marked or scratched in heavy use.

The main cargo deck, with chrome-finished cargo tie-down loops at each corner, echoes Saab¢s aviation heritage by featuring a chrome, aircraft-shaped handle. This reveals the SportCombis innovative TwinFloor stowage facility. The middle section of the floor hinges upwards transversely when the handle is pulled, the front edge fitting into two retaining slots. The recessed sub-floor provides a convenient location for shopping bags, which can be easily secured by fitting a cargo net between the top of the floor, in its raised position, and attachment points at each corner of the recess. A bag holder for this feature is available as an option, together with a load divider and cargo net.

There is also a 12-volt power socket in the main load area (for a hot or cool box) and a separate storage compartment at either side of the floor, one fitted with a molded holder for large bottles.

A retractable load cover slots into position behind the rear seatback and can be pulled out to keep items out of sight. When deployed, it is ergonomically designed to slide up the inside of the D-pillars for easy access to the load space.

A two position, retractable cargo retaining net also provides protection against shifting loads. When the rear seat is in position, it can be fitted into slots behind the seat-back and hooked up into carriers in the roof, separating rear passengers from the cargo deck. Alternatively, when the rear seat-back is folded down, the holder and its net can be relocated across the floor of the cabin, behind the front seats, from where the net and can be pulled up into carriers near the top of the B-pillars.

For the top-of-the-line audio system, Saab is unique in fitting a large, 10-inch sub-woofer unit in the spare wheel well, giving outstanding acoustic performance.

Interior decor

There are two interior specifications or forms, Linear and Vector. Both can be specified in a “light room (parchment) or “dark room (black) color scheme for the seats, door panels, the main interior trim and carpets. However, the door cappings are always presented in anthracite, as part of their integration with the fascia and main instrument panel, and the interior headlining is always parchment.

“Linear is intended to communicate a Scandinavian, understated and modern environment. The seats and door panels are upholstered in a combination of black textile and leatherette. The door trim inserts and the center console molding for the gear lever are presented in a complementary dark grey, shark finish.

“Vector is more progressive and performance orientated. The main instrument display adopts a black on white theme and the sports seats are trimmed with leather and textile panels, including more bolstering to the seat squabs and backrests. The door trim and glove box inserts, center molding and steering wheel spokes are finished in matte chrome.

“Aero is, of course, the ultimate performance expression of the Saab 9-3 and this interior adds a sports steering wheel with distinctive matt chrome inserts in the leather rim, a design inspired by the control column of an aircraft “ hinting at Saab aviation heritage.

A superb premium leather interior is offered as an option on all variants, including seats, door trims and armrests. The soft, luxurious feel of this leather is a result of its semi-aniline quality. The seats are bolstered further and available in parchment, black or a black/shark combination.

1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9

Related entries:

2008 SAAB 9-3 Convertible


Post a Comment