Does the Saab 9-5 V6 have more power than stated?

BSR are one of the Swedish aftermarket tuning companies that deal with Saabs (and many others).

They’ve released a tune for the Saab 9-5 V6 Aero and as part of their website documentation, they include their dyno results in both stock and tuned form.

The interesting part about this is that Saab quote the 9-5 Aero V6 as having 300hp and 400 Nm (295 lb ft) of torque. BSR’s dyno results tell a slightly different story.

The solid black line, to be measured by the axis on the left, is the standard power measurement. As you can see, it drifts well above the 300hp measurement.

The dotted black line – representing standard torque – also spends a reasonable amount of time above the 400Nm (295 lb ft) measurement.

The measurements BSR get for this engine in standard form are actually 317hp and 438Nm (323 lb ft) – a significant increase over the stated factory maxima.

Peter S, the guy who emailed me about this today, figures the following is the reason why:

My guess is that Saab indeed got the same induction and exhaust changes that the Insignia OPC received, but that the agreement with GM requires that the “official” numbers tilt in GM’s favor for some certain timeframe.

I don’t know any different and I assume BSR haven’t just cut n pasted the results from one car to the other. BSR’s test of the OPC definitely lends some support to the suggestion that Saab got the modifications, even if they can’t talk about it officially.

It’s good to see 9-5 buyers are possibly getting more for their money than they first figured, according to this Swedish test, at least.

69 thoughts on “Does the Saab 9-5 V6 have more power than stated?”

  1. That might be. But isn’t it true that hp varies slightly from car to car? I’m no tuner or mechanic, but I’m wondering if testing another 9-5 would read differently.

  2. If you look at the same thing for the 9-3 SS 2.0T, it shows 217 horsepower, not the factory rated 2010. First of all, they’re reporting crank power while their dyno measures wheel horsepower, so they have to estimate drive train loss and there’s some ambiguity in that. Secondly, manufacturers build in some room for error into their numbers a lot of the time. Anyway, that’s one good engine!

  3. Interesting. Does this mean that the difference between the factory settings and the Hirsch tuned ones is only 13 hp?
    Does it make sense for anyone to buy the Hirsch upgrade then?

    • Yes, absolutely! Look at the torque figures. From 438Nm to 513Nm. That’s a substantial increase. And it is the torque that makes a car to accelerate and overtake fast in the highway.

      • Yes Chris, for the BSR tuning the torque is indeed 513Nm. However, given that we’re talking about a brand new 95 (which is yet to be delivered), I’d rather buy the Hirsch update. I know there are different opinions about whether it is worth the money or not, but for piece of mind it’d be better to have the original warranty as well.

        Although I’m not a big fun of high speeds, I’d like some extra-kick, so I wouldn’t mind buying the Hirsch update. The original plan was to have it installed before taking possession of the car (I’d only have to go once to the insurance company).

        If the car is indeed more powerful than the official figures, why bother with the Hirsch? That’s my dilemma (Well, I sort of fancy having the little Hirsch sign on the back of my car, but this alone doesn’t justify the price tag).

    • I would think that Hirsch measures the power the same way as Saab does and so the power increase from the Hirsch upgrade is still 30hp.

  4. Don’t think they would be allowed to provide false numbers. For insurance and tax reasons. There is of course a statistical distributiion.

    • VW and Audi do that all the time for their turbo engines. They provide smaller official figures than the actual/real ones. For tax purpose reasons.

    • I highly doubt it is for insurance or tax reasons.

      A few years ago Mazda offered to buy RX-8s back from customers due to overstatement of engine output. One year the Renesis was rated at 247hp, the next 238hp.

      Automakers can understate output all they want. Overstatement can result in consumers feeling betrayed and result in possible legal drama. So generally they’ll err on the safe side.

  5. I’ll have to dyno my 9-5 at some point. I have to say, though, the car feels very fast to me. As in, scare the living crap out of you without really trying fast. There have been a couple of times on freeway entrance ramps that I was at 75-80 at the end of the ramp, and had to slow down to merge into traffic – and that happened at less than full throttle.

    • Greg… have you forgotten that your 9-5 does not have wings and you just can’t go around trying take-offs.. 😉 😉

      • I’d have to agree with what mr. Abbott says….The V6 in my 9-3 Combi Aero feel a lot more stout than the 250 rated…. I mean, it just goes!

  6. Perhaps its like a Nissan GTR where the company doesn’t like to publish output figures as each engine is handbuilt and varies slightly……….
    I would not be surprised if there is an acceptable margin of variation (+/-5% etc..) allowed in the reporting of output. Or perhaps its just a nicely rounded figure which covers all the likely outputs that will leave the factory. In the end, it doesn’t matter. Its a sweet engine which propels the car wonderfully.

    • If the engines output differ by +-5% it is certainly time to be critical and investigate what you could be doing wrong, because you ain’t doing it right, that’s for sure.

      Generally, a good engine manufacturer will keep all their engines within tight performance tolerances. A very good engine manufacturer will keep all their engines within tight performance tolerances without actually testing their engines, but instead achieve this tight tolerance by having control over the whole manufacturing process.

  7. BSR torque increase to 513Nm is a very high number compared to Hirsch at only 430Nm.
    I wonder if the gearbox can sustain such high torque figure.

    • My thought to! The margins declines. Does the fuel consumption go up or down. I´v heard that by tuning it does´nt. It can go down because of better torque. That´s a win win situation if it´s true.

      • The fuel consumption generally stays the same. Of course, if you use the extra power, the consumption will go up.

        If the tuning include an optimization for a higher octane rating, the fuel consumption can go down somewhat. But the higher cost of fuel will compensate for that.

        513 Nm is certainly above what the gearbox is specified for.

  8. BSR are known to present higher power figures than factory and this is because they measure power dynamically. Unlike many other, including the car manufacturers (which follow standards), they do not brake the engine at each rev for 10 seconds (I think it is 10 s) to let everything heat up and stabilize and then measure the power. Instead they measure the power at different revs in a sweep. BSR thinks that dynamic power tells more about an engine’s behaviour in real life than static measures which is rather extreme.

    BSR explains why they do like this here: http://sv.bsr.se/faq/108/

    • Google translate:
      On the BSR measured power and torque of the original may differ with regard to car manufacturer data including depending on which test method they use.

      BSRS power and torque graph is produced mainly by a dynamic test method. This is done in a sophisticated roto-test facility.

      We believe that this is by far the best test method to show what a car is for performance during normal use on the road. A dynamic measurement is represented by a long acceleration at full throttle.

      If you want to improve themselves in the subject is an excellent explanation written by the signature “Jompa” on the link. http://www.x40nordic.com/viewtopic.aspx?tid=178548

      For approved conversion kits used a method more similar to the static measurement used by automakers in effect certification.
      See, this measurement here http://www.bsr.se/docs/RRI-20080801.pdf

  9. I remember reading here some time ago about Opels and Saabs engine powers. That Saab weren’t allowed to have more power than Opel. Is this true?
    It seems a little childish to me.

    But it would explain why Saabs three-litre assymetrically turbocharged V6 never had more power than Opels non-turbocharged variety of the same engine. At least on paper, apparently.

    Has somebody here driven that V6? Is it powerful?

    • I have one. I’m a bit surprised. Just yesterday I was wondering if my car was underpowered a tad. One thing I’ve noticed – you get a more violent acceleration if you just leave the car in automatic mode and allow it to shift for you rather that manumatic mode.

      The other thing I was surprised about was the braking performance Motor Trend reported (112 ft from 60-0). That’s right there with BMW and Audi. My brakes feel a bit mushy and only start grabbing at the very bottom of pedal pressure but I admit to not need an emergency braking performance from the car yet (thank god for that).

  10. Yep, it’s powerful.

    What I wonder: is this 2.8T controlled by the same type of ECU as the one in the 9-3SS?
    Same question for the 2.0L, is it a Trionic 8 like the 9-3SS?

  11. I don’t believe that the stock engine has more power than 300hp. Sorry to say, but I think that BSR Dynos are not so reliable comparing them to the nominal stock power… as somebody told before they measured 217Hp for the stock B207R.

    Here in Italy we have two persons which got BSR upgrades in the B207R… no one measured oh the dyno 217hp whith the stock engine, both 205hp. and the stage3 268hp measured only 242hp.

    I’m talking about wheel power.. maybe they talk about crankshaft power… for sure not wheel power.

    The same should be fot that 9-5 2,8 dynoplot..

    • I am beginning to feel like a parrot here, but BSR measures dynamically and Saab/Hirsch measure statically, hence the different power values.

      • Stefan,
        what you say is for sure true, but, why has the Opel less Power on the Dyno than the Stock, and why has the Saab a almost identical curve as the Opel ???
        It doesn’t look professional, imho.

    • BSR use chassis dynamometers from Rototest and they are accurate to within 1% of the measured value. So if the measured maximum output is 317 hp both for the 325 hp Opel and the 300 hp Saab, the actual output will be in the range 314-320 hp.

      The Rototest equipment measure the output on the wheel hubs, which eliminate wheel slip as a cause for inaccuracy. It also means there is no friction loss between the wheel and the roller as on a conventional chassis dynamometer.

      Unfortunatly, many companies in the aftermarket industry does not have chassis dynamometers with the same accuracy as the ones made by Rototest.

  12. What I remember from “the Good Old Days” is that Saab always stated minimum number of hp’s. Where other brands used a average.

  13. No wonder that the measurements for the 9-5 V6 and the Indignia OPC are the same – it’s the same freakin’ chart! BSR does NOT measure different cars with the same engine!! The re-use the previous measurements. So the reason for the “high” output for the 9-5 Aero V6, is that they re-use the Insignia OPC measurements. You CAN NOT trust the figures.

    The same goes for the Opel Vectra / Saab 9-3SS 2,0T – exact same numbers/charts. Same goes for VW/Skoda/Audi charts. See for yourself.

    So this isn’t really a story, and isn’t really the exact numbers….

    Cheers!

    • Being an owner of the car I tend to agree with this. It does not “feel” like 317 ponies are under the hood.

    • I don’t think the Vectra ever had the 210PS variant, not the 2.0T – but it did have the 175PS 2.0t. By the time the Insignia came out the B207R was already 6-7 years old so the new 2.0T in the 9-5 is a newer development.

      • Same same. If you look at my links below, you’ll see that I compare the 175 Bhp Vectra and the 175 Bhp Saab 9-3 SS, having the same engine. And BSR using the same figures and charts. It’s just to illustrate my point…

        Cheers!

        • Henrik, don’t get the 2.0t and 2.0T mixed up different beasts….

          2.0t 175 PS garrett turbo little t
          2.0T 210PS Mitusbishi turbo BIG T

          The 1.8t and 2.0T were UNIQUE to Saab.

          • I don’t!! My point is, that BSR are using the same dyno-charts on different cars, using the same engine. Therefore the statements made by Peter S./Swade in the article above, that the Saab 9-5 V6 Aero producing well over 300 Bhp, can’t be trusted, as the figures/numbers used by BSR, are from an Opel Insignia OPC, featuring the same engine…

            Do you get it now?

            Cheers!

          • Besides – I perfectly know the differences between Saab-engines!
            My link is between the Saab 2,0t (in 9-3SS) feat. 175 Bhp and the 2,0t in the Opel Vectra, also feat. 175 Bhp. Sorry about the big “T”, that you obviously cannot deflect from…

            Cheers!

  14. First of all, you can’t compare the numbers from two different dynos. You can’t even compare the numbers from one dyno on two different days. There are just too many variables (air pressure and temperature, to start). BSR’s numbers are valid if they did back-to-back runs with the same car, hopefully several times to cancel-out long-term trends such as a rising ambient temperature.

    I think that a lot of the difference between BSR’s numbers and the factory numbers is down to the fact that BSR uses the best available fuel, whereas the factory numbers use the minimum approved spec. That makes a big difference, especially with turbocharged engines. Modern engines try to get the maximum efficiency out of the fuel, and that translates to better performance (and economy) if you use better fuel.

  15. What’s your point? They simple put these charts as an example of tuning. Why should they differ? I don’t think that any of the tuners (maybe except nordic performance) give you exact copy of charts. This is only example, no more no less. Check Maptun or Hirsch website – do you think that their graphs are exact copy of true results?

    Absolutely. The chart describes a product they’re selling. That description has to be accurate (or it has to state that it’s just a sample from something else) otherwise every customer they sell to would have grounds to return the product if it didn’t live up to the description. – SW

    • You are right.
      What do you think about graphs on Hirsch website? Do you think they provide exact reproduction of tuning results? I don’t think so.
      I wonder how can you check data provided (by for ex. BSR, Maptun, Nordic) when you don’t have possibility to use rototest? How can you check if product live up to the description?

  16. Hmmm,

    I couldn´t help myslef… Some interesting comparisons of the NG/ OG 9-5 Aero…

    What is a bit sad ( and don´t get me wrong here, I LOVE the new 9-5) is the fact that if you compare the NG 9-5 V6 Aero with 300 hp standard and 325 hp in this BSR version (stage 1) to the old 9-5 R4 Aero with 260 hp standard and 275 hp in the stage 1 BSR version -the old 9-5 is actually quicker tham the new one.

    OG 9-5 Aero 2008 Original
    259 HP
    373 NM
    80-120km/h 4,2s
    80-140 km/h 8,6s
    100-150 km/h 7,4s

    OG 9-5 Aero 2008 BSR Stage 1
    273 HP
    441 NM
    80-120km/h 3,6s
    80-140 km/h 7,3s
    100-150 km/h 6,3s

    NG 9-5 V6 Aero 2010 Original
    317 HP
    438 NM
    80-120km/h 5,8s
    80-140 km/h 11s
    100-150 km/h 9,6s

    NG 9-5 V6 Aero 2010 BSR Stage 1
    325 HP
    513 NM
    80-120km/h 4,6s
    80-140 km/h 10,2s
    100-150 km/h 8,4s

    Sure, the new has XWD, V6, is heavier etc etc.. But in the end the old one, -which is lighter, “only” has front wheel drive, a 4-cylinder Turbo engine and less power is FASTER than the new one..
    To me this is just a proof that the traditional Saab core values of , low weight, small powerful efficient engines, aerodynamics and front wheel drive -really stands the tests of time.

    Swade, I remember your post some months ago about your perfect new small Saab, that would be a stripped, fun to drive, man to machine made car.
    That is really where Saab should be.

    Halo car anyone…:)?
    /Daniel

    • Promised myself I’d be done for today, but now that you’ve brought this up 🙂
      I just think Saab will need the factory Steg 5 of the 9-5, called the… Viggen.
      Otherwise they run the risk of ending up in a situation where people -who can afford anything they like- that are interested in a Saab starting to ask dealers the much feared question looking at the Aero V6 specs. ”- Is this the best you’ve got?”.

      Daniel, do you have any numbers for the Hirsch 260hp, except 0-100 7.2 sec? (2.0T FWD)

      • Hi RS,

        Sorry, no figures for the 260 HP Hirsch found yet….
        2,0 T 260 HP Hirsch would probably be the car of chice as well….
        XWD? Well yeah…:)

    • Hi Daniel.

      You’re missing two things, in your comparison:
      1. BSR hasn’t made any measurements of the new Saab 9-5 Aero V6. They have simply posted the Bhp/Nm numbers from the Insignia OPC. So the Saab NG9-5 might have way less power, than some might read from the numbers.

      2. The new 9-5 has a 6-speed gearbox, whereas the old one has a 5-speed. This can give quite a difference in accelleration. My impression is also that the Saab 2,3 I4 is way faster in gaining rpm’s, than the V6…

      Cheers!

      • 2.
        Does the fact that it´s a 6-speed auto compared to a 5-speed manual have anything to do with the conclusion.?
        This still is supposed to be the sharpest of the NG 9-5 as an Aero, and would´t you feel somehow that trading your old 260 hp Aero for a 2010 brand new 300 hp XWD Aero should make you smile juuuust one tiny bit more as you floor it..?
        I know I would..

        Like I said. Fantastic car, but no V6 for me…

        • Hi Daniel.

          Well, 5-speed manual vs a 5- or 6-speed auto makes a BIG difference. Take the old 9-5, where there was som 1 – 1,5 sec in difference, between the manual and the autobox.

          And yes, I would expect a bigger smile on my face, driving the new Aero. And I’m sure I would, having a new car. ;o)
          Besides, I had BSR Steg3 in my OG9-5 Aero, with 300 Bhp, so the difference would be there – also in the engine-characteristics. As mentioned before, the Saab I4 i way more responsive, when taking rpm’s, than the 2,8 V6.

          Cheers!

          • Hi Henrik,

            Agreed it does make a big difference, but it should not in a performance version of the car.
            The sharpest 9-5 should be as good or better than the old one. Manual or automatic I really don´t care.

            He he Henrik. I know what you speak of. I had a Nordic Uhr stage 3 with similar figures as your BSR OG 9-5… That characteristics sur made me smileeeeeeeeeee…..:)
            I know the V6 works better in the type of car that the NG 9-5 has become (bigger, more luxourious etc etc) – but the I4 2,0 liter would probably be tha car of my choice. To bad there´s 2,5 years until i get to change my company car ( I have a 9-5 GriffinSport Vector TiD today) …
            But HEY. That means the new 9-3 will be out by then!! Smile….:)

    • Yeah, but new one has only automatic gearbox. The old one has manual gearbox. The old one was rather small car in comparison to other cars in its segment etc.

  17. “Daniel B”‘s post above was one of the most excellent points here.
    And I fully agree with him on the conclusion he provided.

    Once upon a time, Saab cars used to be reference cars for performance.
    What are they now? Where do they stand now?
    Cheers!

    PS: Saab have to re-evaluate their decisions about what kind of engines the new Saab’s should have. Otherwise…

    • How many times do we need to tell people in this forum that you can’t change something over night! What is so hard to understand in that regards? If you think they just have to upgrade software and start shipping tomorrow you are way out there. Give it some time!!! They have not had production for a full year and everybody complains about almost everything that isn’t available or wrong.

      • I understand but at least if one wants to make a fresh start then at least they have to do it right and from the right point thereon.

      • Phoenix, my concerns arise from the fact that AFAIK Saab has not mentioned performance (except responsible) since they’ve become independent, but have not been shy to introduce an engine that will sit in a 2013 car.
        I just think they should address this as performance is as much part of Saabs heritage as it is for Audi. Without it we ones again stand tallest-of-the-midgets, not being a real competitor or ”as premium” as the German Trio, in peoples eyes anyway.
        If the Swedish government has a strangle hold on Saab that it can only develop low CO2 cars -under the EIB loan- its a huge mistake in terms of being competitive and becoming profitable.
        As the saying goes, image is everything.

  18. @ Henrik:
    Yes BSR might have copy and pasted the figures, but does this include the acceleration figures?
    Anyway, even in the original figures the NG 9-5 Aero is slower than the OG 9-5 Aero original.
    The figures might be approximated and clculated anyway so…
    @ Phoenix:
    You are 100% correct and I´m not askin Saab to change things overnight. The NG 9-5 is fantastic in so many ways. One might say that it is GM fault to understand the brand etc etc, but what needs to happen in the future is to go back to the traditional core values in order to offer the market a different brand of cars that stans out in performance, like they used to. Remember when the 99 turbo, the 900 Black Turbo and the 9000 2,3T Aero came around? The were outstanding performance wise, and still you drive into one feet of snow with it and put a sofa in the trunk at the same time.

    Beautiful designs, smart solutions and new inventions, great performance and comfort and responsible fuel-consumption is what Saab always has meant to me.

    I´m just saying that the NG 9-5 V6 Aero might be drifting a bit away from some of those values.
    And still it outperforms the competition in some of the other.

    Fantastic car no doubt, but performance wise Saab has done better.

    //Daniel

    • Another excellent post from Daniel B ! And to the point!
      I like this guy because he has Saab in his heart as a true Saab fan.
      Performance was always part of Saab’s heritage. Why Saab not continue on this heritage? Performance always sold and sells well.
      Do you listen Saab?
      As Swade has well mentioned “fuel economy is of the devil”.

      PS: If Saab expects to shock the world with the BMW 1.6T then let them face the reality when the time comes.

  19. I just need to apologize for my bad spelling…
    It´s hard for a man to try to work simoultanously as I read and write SU…:)

  20. When you compare OPC results (this car has 6- speed manual gearbox) with old Aero Stage 3 (289 Hp/467 Nm), it seems that Aero 9-5 NG with manual gearbox would be no slower than old one. And this is only Stage 1. I wonder why they use automatic gearbox with 2.8T engine?

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