Marko gets back to Saab

I showed you a first image of Marko’s new (to him) Saab 9-3 SportCombi yesterday and I promised that the story would follow soon.

Here it is.

I’m so happy about this, not only because it’s great feedback for me as publisher of Saabs United, but because this is what it’s all about. These are great motor cars and it’s just so much fun to see people getting into them, especially when it’s reuniting people after a time away.

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Hello Steven,

I thought I´d drop you a line about getting back to Saab again.

The idea of getting back to Saab had been growing on me for some time already. But, I have to mention that it was your blog entry I want the Saab that finally pulled the trigger for me.

As you remember, we had Subaru Outback. We drove it for 2 years and over 50000km. Nothing really wrong with that car. It’s a capable and good all-round car. But all this time I´ve been considering to buy 9-3X XWD or 9-3 XWD. But as there is no diesel version, I simply could not do it.

There were no cars available for test drive etc. so I could not judge the extra I’d have to pay for a gasoline XWD car. Especially, because I want to drive automatic and XWD + automatic -> quite thirsty considering the size, if you ask me.

We also considered a 9-3X TTiD (FWD), but there were no pre-owned cars available for the price I was ready to pay (Saab dealers do not like to have Subaru as a trade!) and I do not value the extra 20mm clearance that much.

Okay, so in the end we started thinking, what the heck, we’ve happily driven low riding FWD Aero’s (900, 9000) before, so why couldn’t we do it for some time more?

Then I read your “I want the Saab” entry. It was like click in my head. I want to drive Saab. That’s it. I started hunting for low mileage 9-3 SC TTiD Automatic (be it 9-3 X or not).

Finally, I found this pre-owned Titan Grey 9-3 SportCombi Aero TTiD with automatic transmission and 5,500km on the clock. The car had been standing at the dealers for a long time and the value had dropped. I made a trade offer, the dealer responded and now we are here.

I’m the new owner of 9-3 Aero SC. And a happy one.

I know this all sounds very stupid. How do I think I can manage if I had problems with our previous 9-3 and low ground clearance. Well, I don´t know.

But I know I want the Saab. And now I have it. And in the end, it feels very comfortable. Like coming home after a long time.

So, right now I have my target set on a next generation 9-3 (diesel + awd). Of course we´ll look for 9-5 wagon XWD, but I’m afraid I won’t be able to afford to buy it.

Also there’s a possibility that I’ll get a second car, like a cheap old Forester or the like.

But at the moment I’m just happy. So thank you Steven for clearing my thoughts!

Needless to say, Marko – you’re more than welcome. – SW

The Spirit of Saab – TTiD

I just wanted to share a story I heard this weekend, from Trollhattan. It was shared with a few journos who were there in the last few days.

I spoke to the engineers of the “119 gram” 9-3 TTiD yesterday (this will be VERY important in a few markets for the next two years).

They went to Rüsselsheim five (5) times in the beginning of 2008 and tried to make GM Europe (Opel) say “yes” to this project and bring the needed money to the table. Opel said it was impossible, so they got no money. One high ranking engineer even said that “you will never, ever get that engine below 140 g/km in a 9-3”.

So they did as they are used to at Saab: they went home and started the project anyway 🙂

From December 2009 they understood that this engine would be the lifesaver for 9-3 and kept working, even though they did not know if the company would survive. They did survive, and here the engine is.

Soon there will be a 119 gram SportCombi as well, only two more grams left to meet the 120g threshold.

That, my friends, is the Spirit of Saab. It’s why they’ll succeed where modern business thought says they must fail.

Nulla tenaci invia est via – it applies to Saab as well.

AMS.se talk with Castriota, drive the new TTiD Saab 9-3

My mate over at Auto Motor and Sport, Par Brandt, has trumped me with the Jason Castriota interview, speaking with him over dinner last night in Trollhattan. Hopefully, I’ll catch up with Jason next week and finish off our chat, then it’ll be a race to the presses *insert evil grin here*

Par’s been on the phone back to his office in Stockholm, however, and they do have some preview information ahead of their next issue.

Cue the Googletrans!

——

AMS: Hello! How are you doing in Trollhattan?

PB: Thank you, OK. Right now I’m in the new 9-3 since featuring 180 hp, and yesterday I met Jason Castriota, Saab’s new and actually very charming design director. He was extremely eloquent and probably the best PR man Saab could get. His value can not be overstated, especially when it comes to marketing Saab in the U.S. market. But Saab is aware of this and he will be used extensively in public relations context.

AMS: What did he say – he revealed some secrets?

PB: He said almost too much … He said among other things, that he currently is completing the next generation 9-3. It is in “wind-tunnel-stage”, they are therefore on the aerodynamics testing, which means that it will take about two years before it is available on the market.
Then we talked a lot about Saab’s new design language and how he sees the design. And about how his approach to the design suits Saab. The funny thing is that he is an extreme Saab geek. His parents drove a Saab when he was little, and when he had been driving his mother went out and bought a 900 for him.

AMS: What have been the plans for Saab?

PB: Yes, he’s actually almost already pushed through what he had set out – namely, to take back the rear hatch. So we can expect a hatchback and a halvkomib, but besides these he has two models for the pipline, but which ones I reveal in the story that comes in auto motor & sport for future issues.

AMS: Okay, but what do you have to say about the new 119-gram then?

PB: Well, it’s nice, it works just like a regular TTiD. Spontaneous do people find no difference, more than that it has a bit sweet time when starting the engine, but as soon as it starts rolling it is completely silent. It is therefore classified environment has a carbon dioxide emissions of 119 g / km, consumption is 4.5 litres/100 km. It is very comfortable on the highway, the 110 m/h stands at 1750 yards. It has a lot of torque to 400 Nm. On the whole it feels very relaxed.

Are there any exterior difference?

PB: No, it looks just as usual, but after the new year comes a face lift for it to survive two more years, before the next generation will come.

AMS: Why no [TTiD] for the Combi? (I think this is what it’s saying – SW)

PB: Saab’s very aware that this is a problem in our combi-loving Sweden, so they’re working really hard to get it out. Rumor I have heard that carbon emissions are now at 122 grams per kilometer, so there are 2 grams before they are ready.

AMS: What happens more today in Trollhattan?

PB: First, I’ll run some more, then I see Saab’s engineers to talk a bit more on the elaboration and the engine itself. But more on that in the test drive coming in the next issue. (No. 22 in stores on October 21.)

Press Release: New Saab 9-3 Diesels Set 119 g/km CO2 Class Benchmark

This would be, essentially, the summary press release for the 2011 Saab 9-3, if I’m not mistaken. As mentioned previously in entries about the 9-3 and the Paris Auto Show, the main deal for 2011 is mechanical, not cosmetic, and the real groundbreaker is a very clean diesel setup that’s going to make the 9-3 a very attractive proposition in the European marketplace.

Make sure you read the whole thing, which includes extension to the TX lineup, a new 163hp XWD car ….. and more. I assume more detailed releases will come at the Paris Show.

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Class-leading CO2 emissions of 119 g/km are on offer within the latest Saab 9-3 range, which benefits from an across-the-board emissions reduction of 10 percent.

For Model Year 2011, all diesel engines have more powerful two-stage turbocharging and, in the Sport Sedan, the 180 hp 1.9 TTiD unit gives CO2 emissions of just 119 g/km and exceptionally low, combined cycle fuel consumption of 4.5 l/100 km. In terms of CO2 per unit of horsepower, this combination now delivers the most efficient performance in the compact segment.

Other model year enhancements include: the continuation of the TX Edition for all bodystyles; the introduction of a 163 hp gasoline turbo engine with Saab XWD; and the addition of a ‘change-up’ indicator in the instrument cluster to encourage economical driving.

CO2 reduced to 119 g/km

Saab engineers have delivered class-leading diesel performance following an 18-month development program which focused on achieving an average 12 percent reduction in fuel consumption and CO2 emissions. For Sport Sedan models, the result is emissions below 120 g/km, a key vehicle taxation threshold in many European markets.

Read morePress Release: New Saab 9-3 Diesels Set 119 g/km CO2 Class Benchmark

Press Release: Wider Engine Choice for Saab’s All-new Flagship (Saab 9-5)

TTiD and XWD? Here it is in the 2011 Saab 9-5!

The release also announces the 1.6T base petrol version and the arrival of adaptive cruise control.

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Just two months after its launch, the appeal of the new Saab 9-5 sedan is significantly broadened by the introduction of three new engines, doubling the size of the powertrain menu.

For Model Year 2011, a 190 hp/140 kW, 2.0-liter turbo diesel makes Saab XWD, the widely-acclaimed all-wheel-drive system, available for the first time with compression ignition. Using two-stage turbocharging, this new engine combines strong performance with impressive frugality and joins the current 160 hp/118 kW, single turbo version.

The gasoline line-up is extended by the addition of a highly efficient, 180 hp/132 kW, 1.6-liter turbo, reinforcing Saab’s engine rightsizing strategy and establishing a lower price entry point for the range. A 220 hp/162 kW, 2.0-liter BioPower engine – able to run on gasoline and/or E85 fuel (85% bioethanol, 15% gasoline) in any blends – is also introduced.

Read morePress Release: Wider Engine Choice for Saab’s All-new Flagship (Saab 9-5)

Saab 9-5 TTiD XWD preliminary pricing

Some of you may (or may not) have seen a little teaser of a comment a few days ago, by a guy know on site as TTAero.
He’d been to a customer presentation of the new Saab 9-5 in Sweden during the week and dropped a hint in comments about the fact that they mentioned TTiD/XWD pricing there.
The TTiD and XWD combination is one that many have been asking for since the TTiD first became available in the 2008 model year for the Saab 9-3. It wasn’t possible to get that combination in the 9-3 however, a fact that left many people disappointed.
So when the 9-5 came along, we all hoped that the holy grail of grip and frugality would be available and the good news seems to be that whilst it won’t be available overnight – it will happen. Call it the Pantene model.
So what of pricing, then?
TTAero has provided the following information, as gathered at the customer viewing in Sweden through the week….

  • 9-5 TTiD: 329.500 SEK
  • Add for a Vector: 22.000 SEK
  • Add for XWD: 24.000 SEK

Now all we need is an official date for the release of this model. Hopefully that will come soon.

The Financial Review – Saab 9-3

Yes, amidst all the business drama surrounding Saab and the Koenigsegg Group, there’s actually been a road test of sorts published about the Saab 9-3.
This one’s an interesting one, too, especially for those like me who don’t live in a country that taxes vehicles according to emissions. The review is published on a site called Business Green and as the name might suggest, they have a focus on emissions and taxation when it comes to car reviews.
The Saab 9-3 fares rather well, too.
Saab have delberately aimed the 2010 Saab 9-3 at the emissions-conscious with the TTiD now coming into a lower tax band, below 140 g/kg of CO2. This hasn’t been lost on the Business Green people, either.

Generating up to 180bhp and 400Nm (295lbft) of torque, the EcoPower engine offers enough poke to make the 9-3 feel very quick indeed, but it does so with a combined-cycle CO2 output of 139g/km. This equates to 53.3mpg, and puts the 1.9TTiD into VED band E, where an annual tax disc costs just £120.
For comparison, the outgoing petrol-powered 2.0t Saab 9-3 emits 216g/km and sits in band K, costing £215 to tax, while developing 175bhp and a much lower 265Nm (195lbft) of torque. And it’s largely torque, or the lack of it, that makes a car feel quick or slow to accelerate.

As you can see, you get the change, the effect and the cost (saving) for the car.
They don’t just confine themselves to numbers, however, with the review covering all the things you’d normally expect to see in a road review. Perhaps not in the same depth as a pure car magazine, but enough to give the average business customer a good indicator as to the quality of the car.
The Saab 9-3 rates well, too. I don’t know how popular this site is, but I hope a good number of potential Saab people get to see it.

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