[Saab] V6 in the news

It wasn’t that long ago that Saab’s 2.8T V6 was featured in Wards Autos Top 10 engines.
This week, the engine’s been in the news again, albeit in different applications and in an indifferent light. The most prominent mention it gets is as a powerplant in the Cadillac SRX and it sure went off with a bang!!
The SRX was being test driven by one of our old mates, Gunnar Heinrich from Automobiles Deluxe. In a moment I’m sure he’d prefer is quickly forgotten, Gunnar filled the car up with fuel that was of a lesser grade than the manufacturer’s recommendation.
OK, that might end being slightly awkward as you explain to the marketing guy why the car is running a little rough and you can’t test it to the best of its ability.
But that’s not what happened. Read the full story here.

In no time at all I had dropped from a comfy 65 mph cruise into a sputtering stop with black smoke billowing from beneath the silver hood and a long oily trail in my wake…..
…..At some point during travel, between 2000-2500 rpm – or normal highway cruising speed – the engine’s management system had adjusted the air fuel mixture to work too lean causing a retarded spark – but crucially – it allowed for a simultaneous turbo boost which led to a catastrophic pressure build up in the cylinder chambers.
This caused cylinder six to fail quickly -leaving [me] stranded.

So basically, the fuel was below grade, the software had a brainfade and the end result was a scary one for the very well dressed Mr Heinrich as he hoped and prayed no-one plowed into his stationary SRX on the side of the highway.
The big question is why did this engine fail to adapt to the lower grade fuel with such catastrophic consequences? And does it use the same software as the Saab 9-5 and Saab 9-4x will when they appear with that engine?
I’ve emailed such questions to Saab and hopefully will get something I can pass on in the near future.
The good news is that GM are taking lessons from this incident and recalibrating their software and the adjustments they make will flow on to all new SRX’s being made.
Automobile magazine also drove a Cadillac SRX recently in a comparison test against an Audi Q5.
As part of that test, they had this to say:

The 2.8-liter, originally developed by Saab, is not long for this world, as it does not meet upcoming emissions requirements.

Now whilst the 2.8 is known to be a little thirsty, this talk of its impending doom is certainly news to me and would make for a very short life for an award winning engine.
And CarAdvice.com.au seems to have a contradictory story. Far from going out of production, they’re increasing the number made….

Strong demand for it’s V6 global engine will see Holden’s Port Melbourne engine plant increase production output over the next six months.

Holden announced its continued supply to Saab as part of that story and the 6,500 unit increase in production will mean 105,000 of these HFV6 engines will be made in Port Melbourne in 2010.

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