400+hp 9-3 trackdays

In mid February Swade posted about a 9-3 tuned by Maptun performance to 415hp.

Last weekend the car was tested at the trackdays at the Snetterton circuit(GB).

The test went quite well, as the biggest incident took place in Holland, where the driver behind the Maptun 9-3 was too interested in the car and rear ended the car.

The guys from Maptun(white car) where invited by NeoBrothers(yellow-black livery).

You can get more details of the whole story at the new Maptun blog.


Maptun crack 400hp for T8 tuning

Here’s one for the hi-po buffs.

Maptun have broken the 400hp barrier on a T8 tuned Saab 9-3 2.0T. The car is actually a 2005 Saab 9-3 but it’s been updated with 2010 panels and lights for the front and rear.

I love the carbonfibre detail work on the front there, too.

Enough about how it looks, though.

From the Maptun website…..

MapTun Performance is proud to claim the performance crown in T8 tuning – The magical 400 hp limit has now been broken.

The test car, a 2005 9-3 Aero equipped with our Quaife gearbox, reached an impressive 415 bhp and 450 nm of torque in our Rototest facility. A lot of time and effort has been spent fine tuning the software to limit the torque to a level that is suitable for the setup.

The car will be driven to England to participate in a trackday on the redesigned Snetterton Cirquit the first weekend of March. There it will face strong competition from Porsches, Ferraris and other supercars. In other words, a great opportunity to put much more expensive cars to shame. You will be able to follow the whole endeavour on the upcoming Maptun Blog.

It’s good to see Maptun planning for a blog to keep people up to date on the their latest products and achievements. But that aside…..

Performance like this doesn’t come easy. The list of engine changes is considerable….

  • Maptun Individual software
  • GT2871R
  • Tubular exhaust manifold
  • 630cc injectors
  • Maptun IC
  • Maptun inlet pipe
  • Ferrita downpipe
  • JT 3″ catback twinpipe
  • Wössner pistons
  • Maptun 450 Nm clutch
  • Quiafe 6-speed gearkit

And that’s before you get to the cosmetic/aero changes. There are still more changes to come, with upgraded brakes and interior being added to the car soon.

Keep an eye out for that track day video. I think it’s going to be a cracker!

Hirsch Performance: Saab USA upgrade availability

I have received a list of vehicles for which Hirsch Performance – Saab’s official tuning house – have received the OK to provide vehicle ECU upgrades.

To give you an idea of the process involved……

This list comes from an Executive Order issued by the California Air Resource Board. Each of the vehicle congiurations on this list had to be tested and certified in order to be given the tick by CARB. This is a lengthy and expensive process, especially with this number of vehicles involved.

If your car is on the list, then you should be able to access a Hirsch ECU upgrade (costs for which are as yet unknown) from your local Saab dealer if that dealer is one that’s been approved for Hirsch distribution.

Here’s the list (click).


Congratulations to Hirsch for finally making it over the pond an into the US market. It’s been a long time coming, and is a breakthrough that’s well deserved.

Saab performance by Hirsch

Upgrades on the way for my Saab 9-3 Monte Carlo

For those of you who are new around here, this is my car…..

Saab 9-3 Monte Carlo

It’s a 1999 Saab 9-3 SE Sport, known as a Monte Carlo here in Australia. We only got 50 of them here, each of them numbered. There are various configurations – 3-door, 5-door, Auto and Manual, all of them with a B204R engine, producing 200hp in manual form. Mine is #9, a 3-door manual.

Since getting the car, I’ve fitted the following:

  • 17-inch wheels from a 9-3SS with Continental SportContact rubber
  • Steering rack clamp and brace
  • Custom made front subframe brace
  • Rear sway bar
  • Carbonfibre dash kit (originally fitted to Viggen here in Oz)
  • Hirsch stainless steel cat-back exhaust
  • Hirsch wastegate actuator
  • Hirsch performance ECU
  • Maptun performance air filter (I have a Speedparts one as well)
  • Saab 9-3 Viggen dampers and springs

I’ve had the car for two years now, which is pretty good for me 🙂

I was considering replacing the car some time early this year, but some circumstances have arisen that have made me reconsider. Instead of selling, I’m now upgrading a few bits and pieces.

It became evident shortly after the Hirsch ECU upgrade that my clutch was wearing. I’ve put up with it for a little while now, but I figured that this should be the first upgrade.

Hence, a Viggen clutch has been ordered and should arrive later this week, along with a few other goodies.

Since I’m uprating the clutch, I figured the car could do with a bit more power and some better breathing. Soooooooooo…. I emailed my mates at Maptun to see what they suggested.

Along with the clutch, I’m now looking forward to receiving:

  • Maptun Stage 3 ECU
  • Uprated Forge wastegate actuator (matched to ECU requirements)
  • A big, fat downpipe to complete the exhaust system.

I’m told these upgrades should be good for a theoretical 280hp and around 400Nm of torque.

UPS tracking tells me they’ve left Melbourne, so I’m hoping for a call from my mechanic tomorrow to say they’ve arrived. If so, I reckon I’ll be risking a ticket some time early next week 🙂

At the same time as this stuff’s installed, I’m going to get my airbag and stereo controls back, and get Steve the mechanic to look at the front end for an occasional knocking noise.

Sometimes not buying a replacement car can be fun, too.

Images from the Sno Hus – Hirsch Performance in USA

UPDATE – Kevin’s article, along with extra imagery, is now online at Autosavant.


Kevin Miller from AutoSavant (and also a Saab owner, I might add) is attending the auto show in Detroit. He made his way along to the Saab press event outside the main show.

The big press event there was concerned with Hirsch Performace coming into the US market. It should also be noted, though, that Saab announced a $100,000 donation to the Make-a-Wish Foundation as a result of their recent test-drive promotion, which is a great result (full release at SaabWorld).

Kevin will be writing more about the Hirsch Perfomance announcement over at AutoSavant. Keep an eye on that link.

Until then, he’s given me the OK to show you these images, which he posted to Twitter earlier today. They show the 9-3 and 9-5 on display, with Hirsch modifications. They also give us a glimpse of how the Sno Hus setting was presented (looks good).

First, the 9-5…..

Saab performance by Hirsch

Saab performance by Hirsch

And the 9-3 as well…..

Saab performance by Hirsch

Saab performance by Hirsch


My thanks to Kevin for the glimpse, and keep your eye out for more on-the-spot reporting from AutoSavant.

Hirsch Performance comes to the USA

It’s been a long time coming. Good news for many of the Saab owners who’d like factory covered tuning options for their new Saab.

The press release from Detroit:


Saab Cars North America and Hirsch Performance AG Join Forces to Boost Performance of Saab 9-3 and 9-5

DETROIT, Jan. 10, 2011 /PRNewswire/ — Saab Cars North America and Hirsch Performance AG of Switzerland announced today that Hirsch Performance aftermarket products will be available for the 2007-11 model year, Saab 9-3 and 2010-11 model year 9-5 cars through select Saab dealers in the US beginning in the spring of 2011.

John Anderson, director of aftermarket sales and new business for Saab Cars North America, said, “Saab has had a long relationship with Hirsch in Europe and now we can offer performance enhancements for Saab customers’ vehicles in the US. The advantage to Hirsch Performance parts is they are installed at authorized Saab dealers, do not affect the warranty or emission system performance of the vehicle and are high quality systems designed especially for Saab cars. Installation of the Hirsch Performance parts within 60 days of sale of the new vehicle will give the consumer the same warranty as a new vehicle, an advantage for our customers.”

Manfred Lenherr, Sales & Marketing Director, Hirsch Performance AG, said, “Hirsch engineers worked hard to put together a performance engine calibration for the Saab 9-3 and 9-5 2.0L and 2.8L engines that provide an additional 30 horsepower for those who desire even more spirited performance from their cars. Hirsch offers a wide range of performance products specific to the 9-3 and 9-5, including wheels, exhaust systems, aero kits and interior appointments to enhance the already pleasurable Saab experience. The other advantage of Hirsch products is they only enhance the vehicle and do not affect sophisticated safety or emission systems.”

Hirsch Performance aftermarket products include engine mapping performance upgrade, +30 hp, performance spring set, dual performance exhaust system, rear deck lid spoiler, carbon fiber aerodynamic ground effects kit (front splitter and diffuser), 4-piece grille set, Aluminum pedals, leather interior set and carbon instrument panel. Some Hirsch components are restricted to specific Saab models.

Pricing information and participating dealers for the Hirsch Performance parts will be available on: http://www.SaabUSA.com and Hirsch-performance.com in the near future.

About Saab Cars North America

Saab, or Svenska Aeroplan Aktiebolaget (Swedish Aircraft Company), was founded in 1937 as an aircraft manufacturer and revealed its first prototype passenger car 10 years later after the formation of the Saab Car Division. In 1990, Saab Automobile AB was created as a separate company, jointly owned by the Saab Scania Group and General Motors, and became a wholly-owned GM subsidiary in 2000. In February 2010, Spyker Cars N.V. of the Netherlands, acquired the company from GM as an independently-run business.

Saab cars reflect the brand’s unique Scandinavian design ethic, which is fused with its aircraft engineering heritage. The company is a global premium car maker with a distinguished history of innovation. It is recognized for its pioneering role in turbocharging, as well as occupant safety and the introduction of flex-fuel technology through Saab BioPower. Saab Automobile AB currently employs approximately 3,800 staff in Sweden, where it operates world-class production and technical development facilities at its headquarters in Trollhattan, 70 km north of Gothenburg. http://media.saab.com


Hirsch Saab 9-5 to show in Zurich

Hirsch Performance, Saab’s official tuning house, have fitted a Saab 9-5 with some of the upgrades that will become available very soon.

The car will show at the Zurich Car Show from the 11th to the 14th November.

Hirsch Saab 9-5

The car is fitted with the following:

  • 330hp /430Nm (2.8T V6 XWD)
  • Forged 9×20” aluminium wheels
  • Stainless steel sports exhaust system
  • Brake upgrade (Saab accessory)
  • Lowering spring kit
  • Centre console upgrade
  • Aluminium pedals

I really hope I can drive one of these one day. It looks absolutely superb.

Well done, Hirsch!

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