Last October I was approached by Fredrik Åberg and asked to write a review of MapTun’s Stage 1 tuning kit for the diesel 9-3. Given the rumors last year of future NEVS 9-3s fitted with the diesel engine I thought it was an excellent idea to explore further.
There are three versions of the 1.9 TTiD engine: 130, 160 and 180 bhp. MapTun takes all of them all the way to 210 bhp.
The upgrade was easy enough. I hit a rough spot at first, but after Fredrik pointed me to an updated 64-bit device driver for MapTun’s USB device I was able to upload their engine map to Anna’s 9-3. We were finally all set.
My first impression was that it drove more like a Saab should. The difference between 130 bhp and MapTun’s 210 bhp is of course noticeable. The tendency to eat tyres in roundabouts and faster overtaking is most welcome. Sadly I only got one test run in before it became necessary to mount the studded winter tyres, so more detailed testing of acceleration will just have to wait. There is also the question of the engine’s running-in phase that might skew the results at this point.
Another snag that I noticed was that I experienced knocking when accelerating from 70 to 100 kph in sixth gear (1200-1500 RPM). I consulted the big Fredrik (Mr Bengtsson) and the next day he sent me a new mapping that solved this issue to my full satisfaction. The box I got from MapTun now lets me choose between three different mappings: The original one (130 bhp), “Stage 1” and “Stage 1 Rune”.
Most drivers probably do not tend to accelerate from 70 kph in sixth gear, but I find myself avoiding the shift down when driving longer distances where there are gaps of 70 kph roads mixed with proper highways.
I have tried provoking torque steer, but I have not felt any trace of torque steer in Anna’s 9-3. My first 9-3, a MY08 combi (1.8t, 175 bhp w/E85) on the other hand did suffer from torque steer in some situations.
Where to next? Sadly MapTun do not plan to offer a stage 2 tuning for the TTiD engine. The factory installed turbos are quite powerful as delivered and a more powerful turbo becomes a hard sell from a cost-benefit point of view. If you are into serious tuning, the diesel engine is not the easiest starting point.
This upgrade is definitively worth looking into for everyone with the 130 bhp version of the TTiD engine. I have no idea how the 180 bhp TTiD drives, so I won’t comment on that upgrade. RedJ might go this route with his wife’s convertible so stay tuned.
On a related note: Anna recently added MapTun’s strut brace. The difference in handling is too subtle to notice for me in this car, but it seems to have solved the creaking noises from the dashboard and in my imagination the car feels more broad-shouldered, but nothing I can quite quantify yet. Happy days!