The 9-3 features a coupe-like silhouette and strong, sporty stance of the Sport Sedan that helps it conveys 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.
The 2008 9-3 is powered by a range of ’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 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.
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..
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 coupé-like profile communicates its sporty character, while the SportCombi’s cohesive, five-door bodystyle inherits the ’combi-coupé’ genes of the first Saab 99 Turbo.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Design and Aerodynamics
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 brand’s 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 grille’s central wing motif is retained as a reference to Saab’s 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’s Scandinavian roots.
In profile, the gently arching roofline of the sedan flows between the steeply raked front and rear screens to create a coupé-like shape.. Classic Saab styling cues include: the combined teardrop form of the side windows with a disguised ‘B’ pillar; the wedge shape and high waistline culminating in that distinctive ‘hockey stick’ curve into the ‘C’ pillar; and a single swage line running the entire length of the car.
The SportCombi is a bold statement of Saab’s 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-coupé’ Saab 99 Turbo, a performance car that also offered wagon-like functionality. The SportCombi’s 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 car’s 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 ‘kicks up’ to 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 car’s 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.
Price this car:
MSRP: $28,445 – $45,640
Invoice: $27,108 – $43,495
Source: topspeed.com Press Release