Here is the final response to the SU Hi-Po Challenge.
It comes from Jake, who as you’ll all know from the Advertising competition we held last year, is a young bloke who’s always up for a challenge.
Don’t think that this argument before you will be winning any awards. I’m a shallow 13-year-old. According to people with opinions on teenagers, we’re naive. Believe what you like, but this is what I think about a high-power Saab.
When I first saw the specs of the 9-3 Aero two years ago, I was impressed. Especially by the 0-60 figure. That car had Saab’s V6, so I would like to propose that it be brought back to the 9-3, but in a better form.
I don’t consider myself to be the kind of person that thinks that Saab needs a halo car. I believe that Saab could use a car that shows that they know how to be a valid competitor in the performance industry. The Turbo X and Aero XWD were liked by many a car reviewer. So, I ask: Why not bring back the Turbo X or Aero XWD, but better?
After all, Saab can’t just throw away the 2.8 V6 in the 9-3. I know that the V6 is no longer with us in the 9-3 (not in the US, at least – SW), but this plan calls for a revival.
Before I explain myself, Hyundai must come into play: Yes, Hyundai. The Sonata Turbo has a 2.0 liter turbocharged 4. The Saab 9-3’s 2.0t makes 210 hp. So, from practically the same displacement, the Sonata’s 2.0t makes 64 more hp. Now, let’s see here: Theoretically, if Saab’s V6 were made by Hyundai, what would the statistics say, if we were to use the ratio of 274 over 210?
Let’s do some math: 274 over 210=x over 280. x=265 1/3 hp. The guidelines given by Swade dictate that the car must have over 350 hp. Check. Thank you, Hyundai.
Unfortunately for us, though, sometimes theory isn’t what works well for the industry. So, we need to consider practical costs. Frankly, I think that Saab’s money was wasted on concept cars. I’d drop the concept car budget immediately to spare some money for this project. Concepts cost a ton of money, and don’t do squat for Saab, except for make people want to steal the concept; knowing that it’s never going to be made under Saab’s current financial situation.
And it’s not as though Saab didn’t tune engines to the extreme before: Before Saab-Scania, when Saab was independent, they made the GT850. That car was an intense little machine. They made a 52hp rally-winning machine out of an 841 cc three-cylinder, two-sroke engine. Back when cars had more than 100-150 hp to win rallies, the Saab was winning them with a measly and loud 52 horses. But those horses were many more than the standard 96! In fact, Saab kept tuning that engine until it practically exploded. And this was when Saab was even more of a niche than it is now, and when they were independent as well. Sure, I realize that Saab has more cars to develop now, and they’re still recovering from GM, but really, if Saab wanted to, they could stuff the V6 back into the 9-3, and tune it, so that it becomes the re-iteration of what the Jiffy-Pop motor was on the rally circuit in the ’60s: successful.
Saab needs to manufacture parts for the Turbo X, so why not put some of those parts into this car? Development will be extremely cheap. We had so much neat stuff in the Turbo X, from wheels, to diffuser, to XWD, and we can add all of that back again! The only real issues in development would be making sure the engine won’t explode, and tweaks, such as suspension, etc. The car should be done testing in a year. It could be a send-off to the current 9-3!
But, more has to come out of this car than just a fancily-tuned engined: Colin Chapman famously said: “Just add lightness.” Well, that. I say this: Take out trim. Any wood or fake carbon fiber must GO! No doorhandles! Door pulls will do just fine, thanks! And how about a MOMO steering wheel? Jus buy a bunch from MOMO, and glue on a Saab badge. Saab badges, glue, and steering wheels must not cost too much… Carbon-fiber seats are a must. They are expensive, and could be an option, but could also be partially bought using money saved from ripping out the A/C and navigation system.
Speaking of which, give the good people at Saab the navigation system that WOULD have been in this car for Christmas. (Or Hanukkah, of Kwanza…) Just… get rid of that amenity. Oh, and by the way, what are windows for? Yes, that’s right! Ventilation! How about getting rid of some A/C! If someone makes a stink, let it leave the cabin the old-fashioned way. Take out the sunroof. Give us titanium wheels. I know they’re expensive, but then again, so is a radio/navigation system and an A/C. I don’t mind if the wheels are from Koenigsegg. Or Spyker. Take out some carpets. Gift those to the wonderful people in Trollhattan, as well. An aluminum lower fascia, and a nice big spoiler wouldn’t hurt anything, either. Finally, ban the automatic transmission! That’s a fantastic waste of weight.
Price is important here. The Turbo X’s architecture is already paid off, as GM did all of the dirty work. So, the car should be able to sell for a lot less. With Saab, as much as they would like to be able to sell the car for a jacked-up price, because of supposed exclusivity, they really can’t afford to do so anymore. So, as a send-off to the current 9-3, I think this car could sell for roughly $37,500 in U.S. dollars. I think that 5,000-7,000 could be an appropriate number for this car.
Saab has made a car like this before, and they certainly have the funds and know-how to do it again. The industry has changed since 2008, and so has Saab. Now, let’s see this car happen, for the good of Saab!
And I would just like to note that in six years of blogging, I believe this post contains the first reference ever made on this site to the act of farting. Given my fondness for the pasttime, it’s amazing it hasn’t come up before.
My thanks to Jake and to everyone else who has made a submission to this most dubious of challenges.
I’m going to take some time and post a wrap-up in the next few days.