May 14, 2002
Saab unveils new 9-3
Norcross, Georgia – Saab unveiled its all-new 2003 Saab 9-3 Sport Sedan yesterday, its first contender in the premium, compact sport sedan segment. Saab says the new 9-3 will be price-positioned to compete with the BMW 3-series, Audi A4, and Volvo S60, and will go on sale in October 2002.
“This car offers a level of driver involvement and responsive performance never seen before from Saab,” said Saab Automobile President and CEO Peter Augustsson. “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.”
The new model comes with a choice of two new, 2.0-litre, 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 trim 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.
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 dual-mass flywheel offer greater running refinement.
- 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.
- Unique “pendulum” engine mounting. Engine noise and vibration is reduced by installation of rods at the base of the engine for optimal torque control.
- ‘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.
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 factory-recommended 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.