SU Hi-Po Challenge #14

This response to the SU Hi-Po Challenge is from Luca S – from SaabWay Club, Italy



In my opinion, a Saab still has to be considered as a comfortable and practical car, even if equipped with a rough and sporty character. A car that can drive you home safely and comfortably every evening after work, but which can also get a sporty astonishing driving experience. For that reason I’m not going to suggest a naked Saab, without carpets or electrical windows (Saab is not a Lotus); My idea is to upgrade the sporty side of a Saab, as they do in the past with the Viggen version, extending the work made with the Turbo-X, which for many people who love sporty cars, is thought to be not completely ended.

The model would be the 9-3 MY11,5 so we can make a limited “end-life” edition giving to the 9-3 model a glorious end life while waiting for the New 9-3 MY13. My idea is based on existing technology and components, which have already been tested and developed to solve money. Fantastic would be to have also the same version of the Cabrio Model, but what about the XWD? Also, I can’t imagine how the press could talk about a 350hp FWD car… For practicality I’ll consider the 9-3 Sport Sedan.

The car must have 350hp minimum…..

The better choice for Saab, due to it’s heritage and also to make some noise on the market would be the 2.0L Engine equipped obviously with XWD Transmission. Manual gearbox and also Automatic gearbox (with limited torque to conserve the reliability). This version should be properly tuned to achieve the requested power. The other choice could be obviously the return of the 2.8V6 on the Model 9-3 which can give a more powerful base to work on.

How you’ll achieve that sort of power, where you’ll source the engine from….

As I said on the previous point the engine would be a Saab Engine but it should be properly tuned to achieve the power. I’d work together with one of the most popular Saab Tuners which is MapTun. MapTun has already developed a performance kit which can obtain 325Hp on the 2,0L model and 340hp on the 2,8V6. I’m sure that with a minimal adjustment would it be possibile to obtain only 25 extra bhp on the 2,0L or 10 extra bhp on the 2,8V6, but I think that also the “standard” power offered by MapTun could be enough (Those are 45-60Hp more than the Turbo-X, not little).
MapTun has already made research & development to achieve that power so maybe only a little work together with Saab engineers could perfect the tuning.

Modifications you’ll do to the interior, exterior, suspension, etc…

For the interior I’d choose as supplier Hirsch. They have wonderful and High-Quality components.

  • Genuine Carbon Fiber trim Set, Leather Carbon Style Dashboard, sporty Steering Wheel, Leather Handle Set.. perfect to give to the interior a more Sporty and Luxury feeling.
  • Sporty Suspension kit by Hirsch because those are a bit more aggressive than the Aero stock, but not exagerately hard to let the Car be also comfortable on normal drive.
  • 345mm Brakes Kit from Hirsch (or the original Saab Turbo-X Brake kit which is also 345mm).
  • 18×8” Saab three spoke “Double Blade” wheels.
  • Standard Aero Bumpers with Hirsch HoneyComb Grill, front splitter and rear spoiler added. (If compatibile with the new MY11,5 Bumper)
  • Timeframe for testing this car….

    Some months. The car is equipped all with already tested and known componente so it needs only a minimum time to test that everything works properly with minimum adjustment only for the engine compart.

    Warrant the vehicle in all markets with confidence….

    I think it could be done without big problems. We all know the good work done from the most popular Saab tuners.

    Expected sale price, based on current pricing in your market….

    The Sale price is calculated on the list price in Italy for a 9-3 Sport-Sedan 2,0T XWD 210hp M6 adding the list price of the supplier’s kits (MapTun & Hirsch).

    Car list price (VAT Excl.) (35.300€) + MapTun Engine Tuning kit (VAT Excl.): 5.450€ + Hirsch components (VAT Excl.): 3300€. Total: 44,050€ + VAT. In Italy it would be circa 53.000€ VAT incl.

    53.000€ for a Saab 9-3 Sport-Sedan 2,0T XWD M6 325(350?)hp and 430-450Nm with wonderful exterior and interior Look and materials with incredibile performance and incredibile appeal; with its only 2,0L engine it could make again a big noise on the market. “The Saab Turbo is back!”.

    I think also that the suppliers could make better prices for a big quantity of parts so the price could be lower or it can stay at that level giving some profit to Saab; But I think that a car like this should be made more for the marketing than the profit.

    How many of these vehicles you think Saab could realistically sell….

    No idea, but for sure it would sell more than the Turbo-X or that the Aero 2,8XWD because of the insurance and petrol costs (especially in Europe). I’m Sure that an angry 2,0L Turbocharged High Performance Engine would be more successful in opposite to a “not so angry” 2,8V6 (Sorry V6 owners.. 😉

    How you’re going to fund the engineering, development and testing of this project….

    As I said before I think that those costs should be very minimal, so maybe Saab can afford the cost by its actual limited finance.

    You have to fit it in to the current program by telling us which current priority is less important than a performance car….

    The same. Anyway I think that at this moment Saab hasn’t really a low priority project compared to a Hi-Po Car. For this reason a think that Saab should buy existing components and already tested and developed performance kits to obtain a good result without a big investement. We’re lucky about that.

    To make the Saab buildable and marketable….

    I think that my proposal doesn’t need a specific answer to this question. The actual structure should be good enough.

    4 thoughts on “SU Hi-Po Challenge #14”

    1. This is what I want! As a Saab enthusiast (two viggens, one spg, multiple c900’s, 9-3’s, 9-5’s etc) and a Saab dealership employee I would be THRILLED to see this happen. Saab buyers are different than M, AMG, RS etc buyers, but we have abandoned this segment for years. 2010/2011 VW GTI = 200+HP and they sell a ton (GREAT car). VW Golf R (R32 replacement) 270 HP with AWD and that will sell out ASAFP. Bothe of these cars are 2.0T. They don’t match the competeing wrx, STi and Evos in the same price range on paper, but VW has a home run with these cars in blending performace with a more grown up flair than the japanese. These are well executed designed and balanced cars that we could learn a thing or two from. I can’t vote enough for a strong and torquey 2.0T that still gets great MPG in true Saab fashion. This is a reasonable low cost alternative with tremendous results.

    2. so far, this is the best entry in the SU Hi-Po Challenge IMO. nearly all of the ingredients are already available and fit into the 9-3, needing only a few tweaks.

      besides, this would be a nice way to end the current 9-3 life cycle. maybe it could be marketed simply as “Saab Turbo” and feature one or two halo colours that would be carried over the next-gen 9-3.

    3. Many Thanks for your appreciations guys.

      Unfortunately it looks like my idea hasn’t had too many followers.. I’m sure that other ideas can sound more fascinating or innovating and probably more far-seeing, but I think that at this moment, a Hi-Po Car is unfortunately not a Budiness priority for Saab and the only way to get one is to draw on some solutions already developed and tested by others potential suppliers which has already done a great work on the hi-po dimension, luckily just on specific models and engines for which we need it.

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